– I do not disagree with one thing you said about the father of Lonzo Ball. He is, to use your word, he’s become toxic. He has become addicted to the drug of fame. I get all that.
But I’m going to tell both of you one more time, the son is just too gifted to give up on and trade any time soon. He is going to be transcendent. He may not be the lightning rod draw that Magic is, or was, but trust me, kids everywhere love Lonzo, more than you– am I right about this? I think you’re underestimating–
– Kids love LaVar, too.
– Unfortunately, they do. They love the whole family idea.
– But Skip, here’s the thing. I’m saying he can’t shoot like Steph, he don’t have handles like–
– OK, time out. I’m going– you opened the door. I’m going to run through this door you have been crushing him all year on this show, saying he can’t shoot a lick. Over his last 11 games, he has shot 41% from the three-point line. And I told you last year, he made 40% at UCLA– and I know the line’s not quite out to the NBA line.
But Kenny Smith last night, on “Inside the NBA,” was sitting there at halftime and I was applauding in my living room because Kenny Smith’s saying, I live in LA, and my kid played against Lonzo coming up. And when he was at Chino Hills, my kid was at Mater Dei. And Kenny was saying– I’m paraphrasing his line to Charles, but he can shoot. He could always shoot. He could shoot at UCLA, and he’ll be able to shoot in pro basketball.
And I’m telling you, this is special stuff. This is gifted. Because in his last three games, he’s gone for 10 rebounds, 11 rebounds, and 10 rebounds.
– Against who?
– You know what? It doesn’t matter.
– It does matter.
– They’re much bigger. He’s 20 years old with a kid body still. You know what? Who was the greatest below-the-rim rebounder we ever saw in this league? Dennis Rodman. Lonzo is Rodmanesque on his rebounding. I can already see it, where you have the gift, the knack, the feel for, is that missed shot going to bounce long or short? You watched Dennis Rodman.
– You covered him in Detroit.
– He just had the nose for the ball. You can’t teach it, you can’t coach it. And we haven’t even seen– we’re tip of the iceberg in his passing because he doesn’t have a great rapport with his teammates, and it could be because some of them are starting to distance themselves in the locker room. I don’t disagree with that, and I’m not defending Lonzo on that point.
But you put two established stars– whether it’s LeBron or Paul George, I don’t know who– but you put two in there with him next year, he’s going to average a triple-double for a season. Pretty soon, he’s going to because he’s going to be able to score 10-plus points. He got 18 last night.
– Here’s the thing, though, Skip. You said over his last 10 games. They played 41 games.
– OK, his last 11 games. They’ve played 41. But last night was only the third time he shot 50% in the ballgame. Out of 41 games.
SKIP BAYLESS: But I’ve said, the father painted the biggest target on this kid’s back of any rookie in any sport ever. And has he crumbled under the spotlight? Yeah. Early on, he was playing–
– That’s not what his dad said. His dad said, I’ve been talking all his life. You think Lonzo going to say, I’m at the NBA now, I’m not going to be good? That’s what his dad said. I’m just going by what his dad said.
SKIP BAYLESS: That was AAU basketball. This is the NBA.