PG UCLA Lonzo Ball 6’6” 190 6’7” wingspan
Player Comparison: Jason Kidd/Doc Rivers/Jason Williams
Why here: Isn’t it obvious? (Talent wise, sliding D’Angelo to the two will space the floor better and eliminate Russell’s sticky ISO play. Unsurprisingly D’Angelo doesn’t seem to like the idea.) — This was written before he got traded. Lakers need potential superstardom in the house in order to attract big boys in FA- Ball gives them this. Lavar willed it to happen. Lakers young core of Randle, Ingram, Nance, and Clarkson each have their strengths but have yet to make a bang. Ball will assist in the expedited development of these players- more open shots for Russell/Ingram, more oops for Nance/Randle, as well as a craftsman to assist off pick and roll and other teammate based offense. The new pairing of Lonzo and stretch five Brook Lopez should be mutually beneficial as well.
Strengths: Highest IQ player the NBA draft has seen in a very long time. A premier unique athlete. Has an abnormal knack for general play. Best passer since Kidd. Shows passion for making teammates better. Passes not only have elite accuracy but are threaded like a missile. His lobs are perfectly timed and untouchable for defenders. Everything has flare.
His leadership qualities shine through- clearly an individual teammates can look up to and coaches can trust. Shoots at a high rate from beyond NBA range despite freaky form. Creative and able finisher at the rim. Athleticism shines with his off ball movement, back door cuts, and ability to fill lanes quickly. Size and IQ paired with athleticism make for a promising defender.
Weaknesses: His shot mechanics immediately eliminate several shots from his repertoire. He will never have a successful jumper moving or fading to the right. Cannot come over screen going right and have enough time to create shot. Defenders have capability to gain lots of space with time used in shot preparation. Sometimes struggles to create own shot. His offense is very Moreyball. Despite promise on the defensive end because of his elite size at the position and clear ability to switch 1-3 with ease, Ball still has yet to prove himself as a consistent defender.
Outlook: Baring an unusual change in circumstance, the Paul George Laker days are nearly upon us. After dumping the Mozgov contract this is even closer to fruition. Ball is the perfect young stud to fill out this roster and bring the team back to playoff contention. George plays well off ball and will mesh easily with the peculiarity of Ball’s style. Clarkson will take biggest hit with the addition of Ball, but that is a price LA is willing to pay. We can only hope Lavar doesn’t trap Lonzo into some Kardashian-esque reality show. Finding a Lonzo player comparison was nearly impossible. I hunted back through PGs who finished top 20 in assists from the last 30 years, eliminating any players under 6’4”. After watching highlights of the 15 or so players that fit the criteria, none of them looked remotely like Ball on the court. Other than Doc the closest guy was Vern Fleming. If your reaction was who?, then we’re on the same boat.
Random Prediction: 1 NBA Championship (2029). 3 assist titles (2021, 2024-2025). Gets posterized by De’Aaron Fox the first time they play.