Lonzo Ball: Point Guard – UCLA, Turns 20 in October
Measurables: 6-6, 190 lbs., 6-7 wingspan
Strengths: Basketball IQ, Feel, Versatility, Shooting Range, Size, Passing
Weaknesses: Shooting Mechanics, Inside Scoring, Isolation Offense, Free-Throw Percentage
Conclusion: Lonzo is one of the most unique draft prospects to enter the league in recent years. The range of possible outcomes for his career is arguably wider than anyone being selected on June 22nd. Lonzo’s basketball IQ is off the charts and his distribution of the ball is infectious. He makes his teammates better in ways that may not show up in the stat sheet but do reflect in wins and losses. UCLA did not have lofty expectations entering this season, but Lonzo was a floor general fulcrum of a high-octane offense. Ball raised the draft stocks of his teammates (T.J. Leaf and Ike Anigbogu) into first round territory. Lonzo also has the size and length to develop into a strong two-way versatile 3-and-D point guard.
Ball is no perfect player though, as his flaws sharply contrast his strengths. In isolation, he doesn’t have the ability to break down his defender off the dribble, often settling for step-back 3’s. In college he was a reluctant shooter but proved that given space, even with excruciating shooting mechanics, his shot will go in. In transition he looked fantastic. In the half-court, aside from moving the ball and solid decision making, he couldn’t contribute consistently as a scorer. Ball lacks the shooting touch inside the arc, doesn’t aggressively attack the rim, use a floater effectively, or get into good spots in the midrange game. He has much more explosiveness than a similarly one-dimensional offensive point guard, Ricky Rubio, so if Lonzo continues to improve on his weaknesses he should become an effective starting 1 in the NBA. His free throw issues are concerning and confounding. Distractions from his helicopter parent aside, Lonzo has shown himself to be a level-headed, hardworking, and humble prospect in practice. Ball obviously wants to play for his beloved Lakers and he has the talent to sway Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka with the second pick, even if there are potentially major fit concerns in the backcourt with D’Angelo Russell.