Lonzo Ball got his wish and has been selected by his hometown Los Angeles Lakers with the second pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. The UCLA guard has been largely overshadowed by his loquacious father, LaVar Ball, throughout the draft process. The younger Ball dominated college basketball from the point guard position as a freshman and solidified himself as a top pick with his play on the court.
What follows is a full scouting report for him.
Lonzo Ball Profile
Weight: 195 pounds
In case you’ve been living under a rock, you probably know that Ball is one of the best passers basketball has seen in decades. He zips the ball around the court, finding gaps in defenses that other guys simply can’t. He has elite court vision, to the level of an all-time great, and that helped him lead the nation in assists as a freshman (7.7 per game). He is also completely unselfish and will regularly give up his own shots to get better looks for teammates. He makes everyone around him better.
Ball also has the size and wingspan (6’10”) to defend both the point and off-guard spots, and at times can lock down opponents (though those moments are few and far between (see: weaknesses). Ball is an incredible ball-handler, is a very good athlete who can finish at the rim, and has deep range on his admittedly awkward jumper (see below).
This kid was bred to be a basketball player and to lead a team. He’s the classic old-school point guard, but with excellent size and athleticism.
The first thing that jumps out is Ball’s jumper, which has an awkward set up and release. Questions abound concerning whether or not he’ll be able to get it off against bigger, better defenders. He shot 41.2 percent from 3-point range during his one college season, but it feels like there need to be some tweaks to his shot.
Ball also only showed a passing interest in defense at UCLA. To be fair, his team was scoring 90 points per game, so defense wasn’t exactly at the top of the agenda. Still, his focus and intensity on that end must be addressed.
Then, of course there is the concern about his personality. Ball is a low-key kid and has seemed to let his father run over him publicly and grab the attention for himself. A recent Foot Locker ad seemed to quell some doubts about him and showed he could be his own man while poking fun at himself and his father. We need to see more of that and less of LaVar.
Ball has often been referred to as “Jason Kidd with a jumper” and that may not be far off. He’s an outstanding point guard who flat-out makes everyone around him better. His polish at the position and potential for growth make him an intriguing prospect while also providing a solid floor to build from. He could be the next superstar in Los Angeles.