LaVar says Lakers ‘soft’ on Lonzo: ‘Get the W’

Updated: November 21, 2017

LaVar Ball told Bleacher Report that the Los Angeles Lakers’ staff should take a specific approach to coaching his son, Lonzo: Be tougher on him.

“They’re soft. They don’t know how to coach my son,” Ball told the website during a recent interview. “I know how to coach him. I tell him to go get the victory. Stop messing around.”

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LaVar Ball said he does not take issue with the job Lakers coach Luke Walton has done during the team’s 7-10 start to the season.

“I have a problem with losing,” he said.

Lonzo Ball has struggled with his shot through his first 17 games as a pro — averaging 8.9 points on 31 percent shooting from the field — but his contributions go beyond scoring. Earlier this season he became the youngest in NBA history to post a triple-double, passing LeBron James, and posted his second triple-double on Sunday against Denver while grabbing a career-high 16 rebounds, the most by a rookie guard since Steve Francis in 2000.

The No. 2 overall pick credited Lakers assistant Brian Shaw with urging him to focus on rebounding — something the Lakers have noticed can often spark the rest of his game. The rookie guard is averaging 7.1 rebound and 7.1 assists.

LaVar Ball often will meet with his son after games to offer advice and observations, but last week he was in China, in part, for an extended trip with son LiAngelo and two other UCLA freshmen, who were being held by authorities for shoplifting while UCLA played a game against Georgia Tech.

“Go get the W. Do whatever it takes. That’s why I’m down here saying, ‘Rebound,'” LaVar Ball told Bleacher Report. “He’s been away from me too long. I see tendencies in his game — they’re trying to baby him a little bit.”

People close to LaVar Ball said he was not trying to criticize the Lakers coaching staff, but rather just saying that the coaches can be harder with his son.

Lakers coach Luke Walton praised LaVar Ball for how he raised his son to be such a selfless player, but said that the team isn’t concerned about what parents may say about the team’s coaching.

“I will say this: I think that he has done a phenomenal job as a father with Lonzo because Lonzo is a special young man, he’s selfless, he’s unselfish, his teammates love him and he cares about them and plays the game the right way,” Walton said. “So he has done a great job with that. But we are not concerned with what parents think of how we are coaching the team. We are contented with the team and what is best for the team and how we can continue to get better.”

ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk contributed to this report.

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