When the Los Angeles Lakers selected Lonzo Ball in the 2017 NBA Draft, they hoped that they would be getting the kind of playmaker that comes along once in a generation. Ball was a dynamo in college, helping to revamp the UCLA offense and push the team to new heights.
For a Lakers team desperately wishing to improve the quality of their product while also making it more visually appealing, the Chino Hills, Calif., native seemed to be a perfect fit. With Magic Johnson at the helm, it seemed only fitting that a point guard who was tailor made to run a Showtime-style offense would appear.
Ball has had his ups and downs during his rookie campaign, but Lakers legend James Worthy told Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN that he believes people are going to appreciate him, especially once some changes are made to the team:
“As soon as players get used to the way he passes and they get some really good shooters around him, I think people will really appreciate him. And they already have appreciated what he brings to the table, a very unselfish player.”
Worthy brings up a valid point. While Ball has certainly displayed impressive passing skills, averaging 7.1 assists per game, which has him tied for seventh in the league.
However, at UCLA, Ball was largely surrounded by shooters, which gave him plenty of spacing and passing options on the court. The Lakers, on the other hand, are currently the worst 3-point (and free throw) shooting team in the league.
That begs the question, how much better would Ball look if he had a team full of NBA-quality shooters around him?
As Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka plan for the upcoming trade deadline and next summer’s free agency, that thought, as well as the indignity of being dead last in a skill that is as important as putting the ball in the basket, should steer them towards quality marksmen.
There is work to be done, and Ball is currently only scratching the surface of his passing potential.
WANT TO PARTICIPATE IN THE DISCUSSION? CHECK OUT THE NEW LAKERSNATION FORUM CLUB