Los Angeles Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball has received heaps of criticism for his struggles to hit a jump shot at various points this year. But the first-year floor general was at his best as the Lakers almost defeated the Detroit Pistons in the finale of their last multi-game road trip of the season.
Ball was spewing flames in the Motor City, scoring 15 points on 7-of-8 shooting that came on a combination of dunks, pull-ups and mid-range heat checks. He made his first six shots before missing late in the third quarter.
Additionally, Ball knocked down his only 3-point attempt. And it wasn’t just Ball’s shot that was working. As has been his wont this season, Ball fired quick-hitting outlet passes and found teammates in the halfcourt to rack up 11 assists while falling just short of a triple-double with eight rebounds.
The entire game showed just how effective Ball can be when he’s at his best, and why the team has staked so much on their belief in his potential.
Ball’s night is worth noting not because it’s necessarily foreshadowing that performances like this will become the norm for him, but because of just how unguardable he looks when his shot is falling at even an average rate.
Ball showcased improved decision-making skills and shot selection at times against the Pistons as well as all of his other normal passing, rebounding and defensive gifts, but his shot is the bow that ties his gifts together. Without it, he’s incapable of reaching his full potential.
With it? Ball looks to be on track to live up to, or even exceeed, his draft status in no time.
There is still a long way to go before finalizing those types of declarations one way or the other, and Ball has to put in work on his shooting this summer, but games like his effort against Detroit show that concenrn over his future is still massively premature at this point.
???? Lonzo Ball turned in another solid performance tonight with 15 points, 11 assists, and 8 boards. pic.twitter.com/rtQHZ09ec8
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) March 27, 2018