Golden State Warriors stars Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant offered Los Angeles Lakers rookie point guard Lonzo Ball some encouragement.
Ball has averaged 8.7 points, 7.3 rebounds and 7.1 assists so far this season, shooting 31 per cent from the field and 24.5 per cent from three-point range.
Curry did not really struggle his rookie season, at least not for long. Selected number seven overall in the 2009 draft, he averaged 17.5 points and 5.9 assists per game, while shooting 44 per cent from three-point range.
Ball has been criticised and questioned for some of his performances, but Curry said the 20-year-old just needed time.
"He's a rookie," Curry said of Ball on Tuesday, via ESPN. "He's going through ups and downs like every rookie has. Whether you're highly touted or not, it's all a learning experience and you're trying to find your way and be comfortable.
"I've always said he's a great talent, I think he loves to play basketball, so he'll be able to fight through all that and have a great career. I hope you didn't judge me off my first 20 games in the league."
Durant chalked Ball's rough start up to rookie errors and age.
"Lonzo is just playing like a rookie, as far as learning the game, finding the ins and outs of the game," Durant said. "It's slowing down for him. Picking and choosing his spots. He's still figuring it out.
"He's 19? That's what any 19-year-old would go through in the pros. It's just a matter of him being in LA, where the eyes and scrutiny are on him. He's playing like he should play as far as learning the game and adjusting on the fly."
The two teams square off on Wednesday with Curry (hand contusion) and Durant (ankle sprain) questionable to play.