Confidence Proving Invaluable As Lonzo Ball Improves Shooting Percentages
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball seems to have returned to the court a newer, more confident version of himself. Ball has been sure of himself since overcoming an MCL sprain, and his shooting percentages have demonstrated as much.

Within the last three months he’s shot 43 percent from the field and 38 percent from the 3-point line. After not playing for a six-game stretch and then a 15-game stretch due to shoulder and knee injuries, respectively, he’s come back with a renewed sense of skill.

When Ball first jumped onto the scene as a freshman at UCLA, there was plenty of commentary and analysis on the way he shot the basketball because his form is unorthodox. At one point, his coaches at UCLA discussed experimenting with changing Ball’s form.

He shot 55 percent from the floor and 41 percent from deep at UCLA, there were questions whether Ball’s jump shot would successfully translate to the NBA level.

The No. 2 overall pick struggled to historic proportions out of the gate. He shot just 28.6 percent from 3-point territory in October, then 24.3 percent from behind the arc and 30.4 percent overall in November.

Whispers of Ball needing to refine his shooting form again began to surface, but he and the Lakers dispelled the idea or possibility. For the time being, at least.

As Ball struggled to find the mark, there were instances he seemed reluctant to take some shots.
Who could blame him? But that same hesitation was killing his rhythm. However, the tide seems to have turned.

In four games since returning from injury, Ball has shot a blistering 63.6 percent from 3-point land. Expanded to a larger sample size of the last 15 games (13 starts), he’s still shooting a respectable 44.4 percent from deep.

Ball seven set a career high with six 3-pointers to help keep the Lakers to a comeback win against the San Antonio Spurs. Additionally, he became the first player in Lakers franchise history with that many 3-point makes to go along with 11 assists.

He’s become more comfortable and it’s shown in his enthusiastic performances. Ball is back to playing on instinct now and demonstrating the skill set that had the Lakers front office giddy when they drafted him.

Ball only needed to drown out the criticism. He needed to continue to build a rapport with his teammates to be able to successfully win more games.

And, perhaps he doesn’t need to learn the ‘proper’ shooting form.

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