There’s no former Lakers’ player who is more polarizing or misunderstood than Lonzo Ball, who was drafted #2 overall by Los Angeles back in 2017 where he played his first two seasons before being traded to New Orleans.
Over hyped by Magic Johnson and the LA media and hounded by his father LaVar Ball’s antics, Lonzo Ball spent a good portion of his two seasons with the Lakers fighting injuries and trying to live up to inflated expectations. But being exiled to New Orleans via the Anthony Davis trade allowed Lonzo the time and opportunity to work on honing his game, especially his 3-point and free throw shooting and overall decision making as a point guard.
Now that it appears the Pelicans are committed to pursuing Kyle Lowry as their starting point guard going forward, here are ten reasons why Lonzo Ball is the perfect point guard for LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers:
1. EXCEPTIONAL BASKETBALL IQ
One of intangible LeBron and the Lakers value is basketball IQ. Lonzo’s greatest talent is his vision and anticipation at both ends of the court. Like Caruso, Lonzo does the little things that don’t show in the box score.
2. ELITE VOLUME 3-POINT SHOOTER
The Lakers need volume 3-point shooters. After shooting just 31.5% on 5.3 attempts per game his two years with the Lakers, Lonzo shot an impressive 37.6% from deep on 7.2 attempts per game in two years with the Pelicans.
3. SAVVY AND VERSATILE DEFENDER
At 6′ 6″ with a 6′ 7″ wingspan, Lonzo has all the instincts and tools to be an elite defender who can guard ones, twos, and threes and provide defensive savvy and versatility that few NBA point guards are capable of doing.
4. GIFTED PASSER AND PLAYMAKER
From high school to UCLA to the Lakers and then the Pelicans, Lonzo has always been a ready made playmaking highlight reel. While he still needs to improve his P&R passing, Lonzo is an elite outlet and lob playmaker.
5. BALL NEVER STOPS OR STICKS
With LeBron James and Anthony Davis in the lineup, the Lakers don’t really want a ball dominant point guard. Lonzo is a great fit because the ball doesn’t stop when it gets to him. Lonzo’s elite at moving the basketball.
6. EXPERIENCE PLAYING WITH LEBRON
While Lonzo struggled at times during his 2-year stint in LA, he had a great relationship with LeBron James, who always respected his game and knew and understood the pressures Lonzo faced with all of the media hype.
7. FAMILIAR WITH BRIGHT LIGHTS OF LA
You hear Lakers fans and media always talking about how players struggle to play or shoot as well in LA as other cities because of the bright lights. Lonzo has been here before and that will help him adjust to playing in LA.
8. GREAT UPSIDE AT 22-YEARS OLD
Just 22-years old with 4 years of NBA experience, Lonzo has already shown he is nowhere near the player he has the potential to become. He needs to learn to run pick-and-rolls and to attack the basket with drives and floaters.
9. REASONABLE SALARY AND BIRD RIGHTS
With Kyle Lowry, Dennis Schroder, and Spencer Dinwiddie now demanding much of the attention and $30 million per year, the Lakers may have an opportunity to sign-and-trade Lonzo for $20 to $22 million per year.
10. MEMBER OF KLUTCH SPORTS’ FAMILY
Don’t disregard how important being a Klutch Sports client could be to Lonzo Ball ending up on the Lakers. Rich Paul and Rob Pelinka already have an impressive track record at directing Klutch talent to the Lakers.
This is going to be one of the most dynamic offseasons in NBA history. The Play-In Tournament has suddenly transformed a leauge that used to be split fairly evenly between sellers and buyers. Now it’s like everybody’s a buyer.
The Lakers want to reduce the workload on 36-year old LeBron by acquiring a ‘difference-making playmaker’ so James can move to the four and Davis to the five. Lonzo’s 7 assists and 7 attempted threes per game are a pefect fit. The Lakers don’t need a ball-dominant point guard like CP3 or Russ. They need a point guard who can quickly get the ball in the right player’s hands, take and make a high volume of threes to create spacing, and play defense.
Lonzo Ball may not be the old school ball-dominant point guard but he has the potential to become the prototype future modern NBA point guard and is the perfect point guard for LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers.
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