Despite being in his rookie year, Lonzo Ball is already looking to become a leader for the Los Angeles Lakers and showed this by shouldering the responsibility for their recent loss against the Utah Jazz.
Ball was critical of his own performance and stated after the 96-81 loss that they would've won if he'd played better.
He was held to nine points, four assists, two rebounds, two steals and five turnovers and blamed the defeat on "two dumb plays by me" after Utah rookie Donovan Mitchell put up five straight points with a putback dunk and a three-pointer.
"Put this loss on me," Ball said. "We were coming back. Two dumb plays by me, and they got up."
The point guard failed to box out on Mitchell for his dunk and he then turned the ball over on the ensuing play which led to the three that turned a six-point game into an 11-point Jazz lead heading into the fourth quarter.
Ahead of the Lakers' next game at home against the Detroit Pistons, the 19-year-old explained to reporters why he took the blame for the defeat to Utah.
"That is how I was brought up," Ball said. "I am not going to change. … It is a team game; we all play for each other, obviously we win and lose as a team. But I like to take the blame when we lose.
"It's just what my dad taught me. When I started at 6, he has been coaching me the same way my whole life."
Lonzo also said it's a trait he picked up from his favourite NBA player.
"My favorite player growing up is LeBron," Ball said. "He still plays the same way to the day. He always takes [the blame]."
Head coach Luke Walton, however, doesn't agree that Ball was the reason for the loss and hopes that his lapses in concentration will be a learning curve for him.
"It's not his fault we lost," Walton said. "Those are plays — there's a lot of possessions throughout a game that you can look at that have those type of effects.
"I just pointed those out to him and to the team because I felt like they were great teaching moments. I love that he wants to take responsibility for it.
"That's what leaders do — they put it on their back, but it's not on him that we lost that game. He did a lot of things very well that night, too."
The Purple and Gold return to Staples Center tonight to take on a Pistons team who have already beaten the Clippers and Golden State Warriors on their west coast trip and are coming into the game full of confidence.