As has been the case since he entered the NBA as the second overall pick last year, Lonzo Ball has been under intense pressure to produce. His early play led to Los Angeles Lakers head coach Luke Walton keeping him as a starter, but the results have been mixed ever since.
In particular, Ball has struggled with his jumper after getting off to a strong start this season. His recent 2-for-10 shooting night against the Sacramento Kings marked the third time in four contests Ball shot 20 percent or worse.
LeBron James, however, isn’t worried at all about Ball’s development. James noted the overall impact the second-year guard has even if he doesn’t shoot the ball particularly well, via Spectrum SportsNet:
“At the end of the day, ‘Zo is one year into this league and 12 games. He didn’t play the whole season last year because of injuries and things of that nature. Every game is another opportunity for him to get better. He didn’t shoot the ball like he would like tonight, he had some great looks, but at the end of the day he still made an impact while he was on the floor. That’s what a really good player is, a player who never gets down when he can’t make shots. He’s still making passes, he’s still defending, he’s still rebounding and he’s still pushing the pace for our ball club.”
Ball definitely finds his ways to impact games. As James noted, he is one of the team’s best defenders, is a great rebounder for his position, an excellent playmaker, and pushes the pace the way the head coach wants.
And even with his recent struggles, Ball has improved both his overall and three-point field goal percentage this year. There are certainly improvements Lonzo needs to make, but he is still very early in his development with plenty of room to grow.
One game after James’ assertion, Ball had 8 points on 2-for-5 shooting to go along with 6 rebounds and 11 assists.