Coach Treal| January 24th, 2020
Lonzo Ball seems to be at a crossroads not only with his basketball career but also within his own personal life. I have had the pleasure to have watched Lonzo’s career since his freshman year of high school throughout his short time at UCLA and so far in the league. His talent has always jumped showed to me with his excellent size for the position standing a lean 6’6. Having the ability to see over the top of defense made trapping him almost impossible. He has the eyes and mind of a pass-first point guard in the mold of Hall of Famer Jason Kidd. With his size, he has always rebounded at a high level for a guard and does an incredible job of passing the basketball ahead for easy transition scoring opportunities.
After an early-season benching then getting back into the starting lineup he has really started to play up to potential. He has recorded three triple-doubles thus far in the season. I think his confidence is as high as its been since he has entered the league and he has rewarded Coach Alvin Gentry with his play on the floor that has earned him 30+ minutes in 14 straight games, the longest such streak of his young career. He is posting 15PPG, 8APG, 7RPG along with 1SPG over this stretch. Ball’s impact isn’t just felt on the offensive end of the floor as I would like to see him back to picking up players full-court again. I feel he should be striving to become a multiple-time All-Defensive team player as he has all the physical tools to impact the game on both ends of the floor.
This season has seen Lonzo get to basically his career averages with 12PPG, 6RPG, and 6APG along with 1SPG. He has recorded over 10 plus assists in seven of the last twelve games he has played since December 29th. With the return last night of the number one pick Zion Williamson he looked like the player most thought he would with elite-level talent around him. He assisted Zion on all four of his made three-pointers and turned in another solid all-around game last night with a double-double (14 points and 12 assists) along with eight rebounds, three steals and going 3-for-6 from three-point range.
The improvement I want to continue to see from his game is having the confidence to not only take but make shots. He has to get his free throw percentage higher if he is ever going to maximize his tremendous skill level. Right now he is shooting 54% on the season and a career 46% free throw shooter is just going to make it as a starting level point guard in any league let alone the NBA. In comparison, Rajon Rondo who isn’t considered a great shooter by anyone is a career 60% free throw shooter. The jury for me isn’t still out on if Lonzo will turn into an All-Star caliber player it is now just a question of when he will break through. Consistency is the name of the game for him along with confidence. He has the perfect complement of pieces around him to reach and maximize his full potential. I will be watching closely as he tries to get this team in the playoff picture.
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