Sportress of Blogitude

Lonzo Ball on Lakers’ 2-4 start: ‘I like to take the blame when we lose’

Lonzo Ball insists the onus is on him to accept the blame for the Los Angeles Lakers’ 2-4 start this season, despite the fact the rookie point guard is off to a relatively encouraging, albeit uneven, start.

“That is how I was brought up,” Ball said Monday after practice, via ESPN. “I am not going to change. … It is a team game; we all play for each other, obviously we win and lose as a team. But I like to take the blame when we lose.”

Ball was among the five Lakers started whom head coach Luke Walton benched on two occasions late during last Friday’s 101-92 loss to the Toronto Raptors, a game in which Ball struggled mightily. The rookie guard scored five points with six assists, seven rebounds and four turnovers.

The Lakers on Saturday then lost 96-81 to the Utah Jazz. Ball had nine points, five turnovers, four assists and two rebounds in the game, again taking the blame for the loss, in particular for a critical turnover in the fourth quarter.

Walton, however, insists Ball shouldn’t feel obligated to shoulder all the blame for either of the losses.

“It’s not his fault we lost,” Walton said. “Those are plays — there’s a lot of possessions throughout a game that you can look at that have those type of effects. I just pointed those out to him and to the team because I felt like they were great teaching moments.

“I love that he wants to take responsibility for it. That’s what leaders do — they put it on their back, but it’s not on him that we lost that game. He did a lot of things very well that night, too.”

Ball is perhaps facing more pressure than any other lottery pick in recent memory, with much of the blame owed to father LaVar Ball’s outspoken and often outrageous advocacy for his son. That said, Ball’s willingness to accept blame for Lakers losses arguably demonstrates a capacity for leadership that belies his age and experience, something the Lakers ought to view as an encouraging sign.