The shooting success of Los Angeles Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball has faced no shortage of scrutiny during his first season in the NBA. Ball entered the league facing questions, and his historically bad start fueled perception that he was an awful shooter.
Ball has been quite a bit better of late, however, shooting 35.2 percent on 3-pointers during his last 10 games. That type of success isn’t going to blow anyone away, but it’s fine, and good enough that defenses will have to at least respect Ball’s long-distance prowess if it continues at this rate.
Moreover, Ball has regressed in the past three games. Whether or not Ball can continue to shoot an acceptable percentage doesn’t matter as much as people might think, however, at least according to Luke Walton.
The Lakers head coach told reporters that Ball does enough elsewhere to still make an impact even when he’s struggling to connect, particularly from deep, via Spectrum SportsNet:
“He does those things. As he continues to grow as a player, he’ll develop other parts. I think right now he depends a lot on his three, but a lot of that is because teams go under (screens) on him, and that’s an open shot for him. He’ll get more to his game as far as being able to score effectively midrange, around the rim, as he continues to grow as a player. As far assists, rebounds and all the steals, that’s when we went on the run in the first half. He was the one rotating over and getting all deflections. So he does all those little things to help us win throughout the game. The offensive stuff will come.”
Ball’s value has always been predicated on everything he does, not just his shooting, and that probably isn’t going to change anytime soon.
Still, if he can continue to do all of the little things Walton is lauding and his shooting comes around on a consistent basis, Ball has a chance to be one of the best players in the league.
It’s why the Lakers drafted him so high, and why his biggest believers are so staunch in their convictions about his value.