Ball has delivered both good and bad performances since returning from a hip flexor strain in April, but one thing is certain: New Orleans is a far better team when it receives strong production from the 23-year-old.
“Lonzo is one of the most highly scrutinized players I’ve ever seen,” executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin said in March, as noted by Clark. “He has the most polarized narrative around him. He’s either the greatest player in the NBA or the worst player that’s ever played. Apparently, there is no in-between.”
Ball is holding per-game averages of 14.7 points, 5.8 assists and 4.8 rebounds on the season. He’s set to reach restricted free agency this summer.
Here are some other notes from the Southwest Division tonight:
- Spurs coach Gregg Popovich may be the last of his kind, Mike Finger of the San Antonio Express-News writes. Popovich is widely regarded as one of the greatest coaches in NBA history, spending the past 25 years as head coach of the team.
- The rant delivered by Pelicans EVP of basketball operations David Griffin about the team’s officiating concerns was meant to help Zion Williamson down the road, as Scott Kushner of NOLA.com explains. Griffin received a $50,000 fine for criticizing the officiating, noting that Williamson hasn’t received enough respect from many referees this season.
- Spurs guard Lonnie Walker IV enjoys closing out games for the team, but doesn’t seem to mind coming off the bench to start contests, Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News writes. “I could care less about starting,” Walker said. “I could care less about being on the bench. But being able to play in the final few minutes of the game and close it out, that’s my favorite time.”