Archive for December, 2018

Why Lonzo Ball is the Most Underrated Player in the NBA (@nba @Lakersnation @Lakers)

December 19, 2018

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Ever since Lonzo Ball has entered the league he’s been under a microscope. His high draft position, praise from Magic and his outspoken father has all become cause for Lonzo’s high expectations. Lonzo Ball’s first year, plagued with injuries, was met with very polarizing viewpoints on his play. His second season continues to be much of the same as some fans see him as right on schedule, whereas other fans consider him trade bait. He’s either a future all-star or a bust.

So let’s talk Lonzo Ball. Is he going to be a bust, an okay player or a superstar? If you look at purely his offensive performance, it’s easy to peg him as a very average player. Lonzo shot around 30% all across the board last season and at times couldn’t hit a shot to save his life. His free throw shooting was Shaq-esque. Although he has raised his shooting percentage this season (up to 40%), his offensive production is still nothing to write home about. With NBA fans and media focused on the flashy high scorers, there is justification for Zo to be considered nothing more than an average player at best.

However, we know that the NBA is not a one-dimensional game. Lonzo Ball is a game-changer when he is on the court. Lonzo Ball’s career average is currently at 1.5 steals a game to go with 6 assists and 6 rebounds. What flew under the radar last season was Lonzo’s on ball defense, ability to poke the ball away, get steals and start the break. Even as Lonzo struggled to score, he still affected the game both offensively through ball movement and defensively by hounding the opposing teams players. This season he has begun to be even more effective defensively. LeBron James has mentioned how he affects the game when he is on the court. Lonzo’s defensive ability can put him in the category of a Tony Allen, Patrick Beverly type. The latter became an offensive threat later in their career, but did not possess the passing IQ that Zo possesses.

Lonzo Ball’s quickness and height at the point guard position allows him to get to the basket with ease. He has begun to take notes from LeBron James in terms of attacking the basket on the break and finishing at the rim. He has shown the ability to draw fouls as well. Much like Julius Randle when he first started, Zo has to learn how to finish better. His jump-shot has been a work in progress as well although he has improved that aspect of his game. Lonzo has a developing repertoire of shots although he is still working to develop consistency from there.  As Lonzo has become more aggressive, he will continue to raise his shooting percentage and become more of a threat. This will open up passing lanes even more.

Lonzo Ball with all his offensive shortcomings is right on schedule. Many players come into the league lacking the ability to defend and rebound. Lonzo Ball has become a defensive pest. His passing is already top-notch, averaging just under 5 assists per game. This was and still is Lonzo’s specialty. The only reason Lonzo does not lead in assists this season is because of LeBron James. He is a big guard who averages about 5 boards a game. Evidence already supports that he is going to start to hit those shots with more regularity, as well as finish at the rim much more effectively.

This may not be the most persuasive pitch for Zo; however, at least one writer sees the what Lonzo Ball does on the court and how he would be sorely missed if injured or worse traded. Fans, don’t be so hard on the Ball kid. He’s on pace to be something special. Bare in mind that Lonzo Ball is also under the tutelage of LeBron James (notice the similar dunk in the Charlotte game). Take a look at his complete game before considering him a bust or trade-able. He is exceptional as a passer and heading towards exceptional defensively. Lastly, his ability to attack the basket and his God-given height as a point guard are worth noting. A player with this skill-set does not come a dime a dozen. Lonzo Ball is already proving himself to be an indispensable component in the Lakers bid for championship glory.

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