Late in the fourth quarter of the Phoenix Suns' victory against the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday night, Tyler Ulis and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope got into a little scuffle. After a timeout was called, the two players were in each other's way, and neither would yield any ground. A few shoves were exchanged, but other players and referees got into the mix to break things up before it escalated.
Lonzo Ball, however, was not one of those players. The Lakers' rookie simply walked away from the scrum, and said after the game that he did so to avoid getting a technical foul in a meaningless scuffle.
Band of Brothers, watch it sometime Lonzo pic.twitter.com/Onq2kMzQAv— Rob Perez (@World_Wide_Wob) November 18, 2017
Everyone in the basketball world had a take on Ball's decision. Some said he was smart to not get involved, while others thought it was a bad look to not stick up for his teammates.
Ball's teammates on the Lakers had thoughts as well, of course, and head coach Luke Walton said that one of Ball's teammates took him aside to talk about his response to the incident. He also added that he doesn't really care what people outside of the locker room think about how Ball handled himself, saying that the players "love Zo." Via ESPN:
"Someone on our team talked with him," Walton said after the Lakers' practice on Saturday. "It's all part of the learning process."
Walton said he could "absolutely" see how some would consider what Ball did as being very smart.
"I don't really care about how that looks because our guys love Zo," Walton said. "He's one of the few rookies I've ever seen that everybody is just kind of drawn toward him. Everyone really wants him to succeed. They all love playing with his group, whether it's practice or the game.
"I think they all know what that looked like isn't what Zo is about and isn't symbolizing what his feelings are on that type of situation," Walton continued. "I know the general public and the internet world likes to do what they do."
While everyone has their take on the situation, the only opinions that really matter are inside the locker room. As long as what Ball did doesn't cause other players to turn against him, then it wasn't a big deal at all.