Lonzo ball has had an up and down start to his career, to say the least, but that doesn’t mean he’s a bad player.
Some may not agree that Lonzo Ball’s season has been up and down, and they may just call it a down year all around so far. However, those people are likely focusing on Ball’s shooting struggles.
To be clear, Ball has been horrendous from the field shooting just 32 percent and 24 percent from three-point land.
But Ball has shown the promise in games here and there that he can shoot, and his shots will eventually fall. He had a 29-point game early in the season against the Phoenix Suns (yes it was just the Suns but the shots still went in), and he’s had several double-doubles.
Ball had an impressive 11-point-11-assist game against the Sacramento Kings followed by a 15-point-10-assist game against the Golden State Warriors just a week later. Not to mention Lonzo has already notched two triple-doubles in his young career and has had several near triple-doubles being off by just one or two rebounds and assists.
🎥 Lonzo Ball finishes with 10 points, 8 rebounds, 8 assist, 4 blocks and 3 steals in the Lakers win in Philadelphia pic.twitter.com/rAfuuTva3i
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) December 8, 2017
But what makes Ball’s struggles a side note instead of the story, is not his ability to score from time to time, and it’s not even the reason L.A. drafted him in his passing ability. What makes Lonzo good despite his inconsistent scoring is his natural ability to rebound the ball as a guard and, believe it or not, his defense.
For a player that was drafted with poor defense as the one major knock against him, Ball has largely held his own all season and has racked up more blocks and steals than anyone expected from the rookie. Ball has 24 blocks and 34 steals on the season proving he’s not only active on defense but also underrated as a defender.
Ball plays the right way and naturally does the things that players usually have to get coached on. He’s active on the boards and puts in effort on defense, and he’s a gifted passer who’s only going to get better with time. Lonzo’s inconsistent shooting can be worked on in the offseason but for now he’s playing just fine.
Ball is averaging 8.6 points, 7.1 rebounds and 6.8 rebounds his rookie season and we haven’t even hit the All-Star break yet.
Kobe Bryant recently said that Lonzo “Needs to get better now,” and he’s right. Ball should focus on getting better every day. But what he shouldn’t do, or what we shouldn’t do, is panic about his shooting. That can be the focus of his offseason work ahead of his second year.
Especially because it’s likely a matter of being aggressive while letting the game come to him, which he’ll learn with time and comfortability much like Brandon Ingram has.
Lonzo will be fine. He’s great at what he does well naturally and he’s already better than he gets credit for on defense.