Lonzo Ball definitely had a rollercoaster of a rookie year. From clutch performances against the San Antonio Spurs, to struggling to score 10 points, to injuries, Ball went through the ringer with the Los Angeles Lakers.
The biggest criticism of Ball’s game was his weak and sometimes nonexistent jump shot. For the season, Ball shot 36 percent from the field, 30.5 from deep, and 45.1 at the free throw line. These percentages are low, but there was some improvement as the season wore on.
This gives some, such as former Lakers head coach Byron Scott, reason to hope moving forward. In an interview “Afternoons with Marcellus and Travis,” Scott explained he believes Ball can improve his shooting, even if there are limitations on his trajectory:
“I don’t know if he can become a great shooter. I think he can be a much more consistent shooter, and that is something he’s going to continue to work on. I don’t think you can change his shot at this point. I think his release is still okay. The biggest problem with Lonzo right now, at 6’6, when he releases the ball, he’s like 6’2. I don’t know if you can change that because he needs space to get his shot off, but at 6’6 he’s going to be able to get it off. Being a great shooter, I don’t know if he’ll ever get to that point. But he can be a consistent shooter if he continues to work on it. I would like to see him get stronger. I would like to see him develop a post game, because at 6’6 when you have some of these guards that are guarding him, he’s got to be able to punish them and take advantage of his length and athleticism. It’s something I don’t think is going to change with him as far as where he releases the ball. He’s been doing that all his life. But I think he can definitely get better at it and be more consistent from the field, because guys are going to go under a screen and roll with him all the time They’re going to force him to shoot jump shots, so he’s going to have to start making those.”
This is something that has been repeatedly said about Ball. His jumper, while wildly unconventional, does go in, but many believe that Ball doesn’t need to be a 40 percent three-point shooter.
The biggest issue with Ball’s shot in his rookie year is that most defenders didn’t take it seriously, which meant his passing game was largely cut off because nobody cared if he shot the ball.
If Ball can find a way to become a consistent shooter, then he would be able to keep defenders honest. It’s an area of emphasis Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson highlighted for his understudy heading into the offseason.
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