Kobe Bryant, considered one of the best shooting guards ever, has one advice for Los Angeles Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball: He needs to get better. Like, right now.
In an interview with USA Today’s Lonzo Wire, he said the same advice applies to the youngsters like Julius Randle or Kyle Kuzma who should play like contenders.
“We never thought, ‘Okay we’re gonna win four years from now,’” he said. “We really thought, ‘This is our year. We’re gonna get this done. We’re gonna push, push, push, push, push, get better now.’”
The 39-year-old said that having an impatient attitude about winning now really helped his game and the team in general.
On paper, Ball actually had better numbers than Bryant during the Black Mamba’s rookie year. The 20-year-old is averaging now 8.8 points, 6.9 rebounds and 7.0 assists, along with 1.4 steals and 1.0 blocks. During the 1996-1997 season Bryant averaged 7.6 points, 1.9 rebounds and 1.3 assists.
However, Ball is also playing 33 minutes per game compared to Bryant’s 15 minutes during his rookie year. By the second year, however, the five-time champion bumped his averages to 15.4 points, 3.1 rebounds and 2.5 assists in 26 minutes per game.
Also, Ball’s shot has not really translated to the NBA as he’s on pace to become the least efficient scoring rookie in decades.
“If you’re just patiently going about it, you’ll never get there,” he added. “For players, it’s a kind of patient impatience.”
The Lakers are 10-15 this season following their back-to-back wins against the Philadelphia 76ers and the Charlotte Hornets.
Bryant said that the team as constituted right now is “not a contending team.” In that sense, the fans should be patient. However, he added that there’s a good “amount of talent” in the Lakers, which make them very dangerous when “these young players will grow.”