When the Los Angeles Lakers selected Lonzo Ball with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2017 Draft, one of, if not the biggest question mark he faced pertained to shooting. Those concerns were validated in some sense as Ball’s early shooting percentage was amongst the worst for a rookie all-time.
But there were flashes of improvement, and one such stretch came when Ball returned from a knee sprain that unexpectedly sidelined him for six weeks. In his first six games (four starts) back, Ball shot 46.3 percent from the field and 50 percent from deep.
He knocked down at least two 3-pointers in each of those six contests. But the rookie point guard had a 1-for-8 effort against the Denver Nuggets two weeks ago, and has been in a slide since.
In Thursday’s loss to the New Orleans Pelicans, Ball made just one of 12 attempts from deep. He missed all three in the final minutes of the game, preventing the Lakers from reclaiming the lead.
Despite the poor showing, Lakers head coach Luke Walton reaffirmed he wants Ball to continue looking for his shot, via Spectrum SportsNet:
“I want him taking it. I want a point guard that’s got the courage to step up and take those, even after missing a few. None of those were forced, they were open threes in rhythm. We believe in what he’s going to do for us and our future. He’s shown at times this year what he’s going to be. We saw it at the end of the San Antonio game, he won that game by hitting three straight threes. He’s very capable of doing it. He’s not a selfish player, but I’m happy he continued to show the courage it takes to succeed in this league. … In most cases, when it’s winning time, he elevates his game.”
Ball explained he simply needs to capitalize on the open looks he’s getting, as seen on SportsNet:
“I would shoot them the same and just hope I make them. Like I’ve said, the shots I’m getting, I like them and have been hitting them my whole life. I’m a little frustrated they’re not going in, though. … I knew they were going to leave me open. I just told Luke to give me the ball and I was going to shoot it. Unfortunately, I didn’t make them.”
His 12 attempts were one shy of matching a season-high, when Ball went 4-for-13 in a win against the Orlando Magic earlier this month. Overall against the Pelicans, he was just 2-of-15 from the field.
After strong showings in the initial games after he returned from injury, Ball has now made just one 3-pointer in each of the last seven contests.