Los Angeles Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball has shown some positive signs to begin his first year in the NBA. Ball is averaging 6.8 assists per game, good for the eighth-best average in the league while contributing to a Lakers’ defense that’s ranked fifth in the NBA in defensive efficiency.
Ball has struggled badly in one area, however: shooting the basketball.
The rookie’s shot has been wayward to start his career, as Ball ranks last on the Lakers in shooting percentage (29.5 percent) and is only canning 23.1 percent of his 3-pointers.
The decline of Ball’s shot has been a surprising development after he shot 55.1 percent overall and 41.2 percent on threes during his freshman season at UCLA. With no obvious reason to explain the difference in accuracy since Ball entered the NBA, theories are ranging from the increase in speed between the NBA and college to the way Ball’s feet come forward on his jumper.
After the Lakers lost to the Boston Celtics Wednesday night, Ball himself offered a simpler theory to Jeff Goodman of ESPN:
“It’s in my head to be honest. I know I can shoot the ball,” Ball said.
Ball did shoot the ball incredibly well during his lone season at UCLA, including at times from NBA 3-point range, so some type of mental block could explain why his stroke has struggled so mightily to begin his NBA career.
But while Ball might be shooting badly, a player doing so in their first year is hardly unheard of. Lakers fans need look no further than Brandon Ingram for evidence of the leap a player’s shooting can make from their first year to their second.
The Lakers seem to be practicing patience with Ball so far, and given that he’s made his shot work at every other level of basketball he’s played so far, it seems like a safe bet he’ll eventually figure out NBA range as well.
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