The Los Angeles Lakers drafted point guard Lonzo Ball out of UCLA after being wowed by his incredible passing skills. The ball rarely rests for more than a second or two before Ball sends it zipping along, hitting open teammates with pinpoint accuracy.
It’s this court vision and skill that the Lakers hope to build their offense around, and that’s precisely why opposing teams will do what they can to try to take those passing opportunities away from him.
Given his reputation and the amount of media attention that has been focused on him and his family, Ball will have something of a target on his back whenever he takes the floor. He will have to find ways to be effective even when his passing options are limited and may need to look to take advantage of scoring opportunities that present themselves.
Lakers Reporter Mike Trudell spoke to Ball about this, and he understands that he may have to take what the defense gives him:
Ball thinks he may have more scoring opportunities in the NBA with defenders playing him to pass. Started to see some of that in Vegas.
— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) September 26, 2017
Ball is an incredibly unselfish player, perhaps almost to a fault. He is perfectly happy getting great looks for teammates rather than shooting himself, and that’s something that opponents may look to exploit by forcing him to be a scorer.
The entire Ball family is renowned for their ability to shoot from well beyond the three-point line, but his ability to create offense for himself is still something of a question mark, especially in the half court.
We already saw this strategy play out a little in Summer League, and there Ball did just fine attacking when the opportunities presented themselves. He scored off lightning-quick drives to the basket as well as on jumpers coming around screens, but those looks may not be there when NBA-level defenders are on him.
There will certainly be growing pains, but the hope is that Ball’s offensive game will grow to the point where he can punish teams for trying to take away his passing options.