Well folks, now to the unexciting part. Especially now that certain trades (Sorry D’Angelo Russell) have been made, the top two became as predictable as everyone else said for me now. I realize this is anticlimactic but I think that’s funny as hell and makes a bit of sense- logically the top pick(s) should have more consensus to them, right? Anyway…
With the #2 Pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, the Los Angeles Lakers Select…
Considering the Lakers just punted on their 2015 #2 pick in Russell, I think the case for Ball at this years #2 is pretty much closed.
Lonzo Ball: 14.6/7.6/1.8/.8, 55.1% FG and 41.7% from 3 on 5 per game
Those numbers paint a very complete picture of Lonzo Ball, one of a well-rounded floor general who manages games with efficiency. Ball sees the court better than most of the people in the league already, and will immediately make every player on his team better once he steps on the court, leading the NCAA in assists and setting the UCLA Record for assists in a season. Because of this fact he impacts winning more than any other top pick in this draft, with 6.8 win shares last season to lead the PAC-12 (10th in NCAA), and a 12.2 Box Plus/minus, good enough for 10th in the NCAA, again better than any other top pick in this draft. He has good length (6’6″, 6’9″ wingspan) which pairs well with his great vision, making him what some say the point guard of the future. He manages offense extremely well from both the half and full courts, and can run with absolutely anybody, which should help the already quick, 6th in pace Lakers (estimated 98.5 possessions per 48 min). Another upgrade that Lonzo brings over Russell is defense up front. While people could show you tapes or tell you stories of Lonzo getting lit up by De’Aaron Fox in the tournament, that doesn’t tell the whole story. He was fifth in the PAC-12 in defensive win shares at 2, his 1.8 steals per game put him at 5 in the PAC-12, and 3rd in the conference in steal percentage at 2.8. While, yes, he will get burned by opposing guards, he will be an improvement just based on size from Russell.
Now the biggest issue with Lonzo is the obvious one, his shot. He has one of the goofiest, non-traditional strokes in recent memory. He releases really low, almost below his shoulders, and while he has some touch his unorthodox approach and release can sometimes undercut that. Aside from his shot stroke issues, which are well documented, he can be somewhat passive sometimes, specifically, and while he has the tools to be a solid backcourt defender, but the trick is getting there through a wider defensive stance and quicker feet.
Well folks, that’s my Lonzo Ball assessment, this kid has the tools to be something really special in this league if he can piece everything together, and I think Magic is the perfect person for this Lonzo Ball kid to play under in order for that to happen.
Thanks everybody, tomorrow is the big day and I hope you’re as excited as I am, but remember a lot could happen between now and then, so a friendly reminder to #staywoke.