Luke Walton On Why He Benched Lonzo Ball: "His Dad Was Talking Sh*t"

Ryan Phillips

Luke Walton still has his sense of humor. After the Los Angeles Lakers stopped a nine game losing streak with a win over the Atlanta Hawks Sunday night, the team’s coach was in a joking move.

Walton removed rookie point guard Lonzo Ball from the game earlier than usual in the first and third quarters Sunday night and was asked why by a reporter. His answer was amazing (and NSFW).

Check it out:

If you couldn’t hear that, Walton said, “His dad was talking sh*t so I took him out early.”

Walton held it for a minute before saying, “I’m just kidding.”

As I’m sure you’ve heard by now, LaVar Ball told ESPN that Walton had lost the team and the Lakers players didn’t want to play for him. Lonzo and others refuted that claim almost as soon as LaVar made it.

Walton is a young coach in charge of a young team. The Lakers are clearly better than they were a year ago, even if their record doesn’t tell that story. The main issue for Los Angeles has been finishing games. They’ve played a ton of tight contests in which they’ve come up short.

At some point the team needs to mature to a point where they can finish and close opponents out. Some of that is definitely on Walton, but mostly it’s just a symptom of having a young team. Basketball players at the NBA level don’t know how to finish games until they’ve done it a few times.

It should come eventually for the Lakers, but it’s a process.