Ball or Bust?

Los Angeles Lakers v New York KnicksLonzo Ball is a bust. At least that is what the media would have you believe. While he has not quite lived up to the hype created by his father, he has not been the bust the NBA Twitter community wants Lonzo to be.

Lonzo has often been compared to Jason Kidd. Both are known for their defense, court awareness, and passing. Both also had shooting struggles when they first came into the league. In their rookie seasons both shot poorly from distance with Lonzo shooting 30.5% and Kidd shooting 27.2%. With the exception of points per game, the stats for the two players are eerily similar to this point in their career; a good sign for Lonzo Ball fans.

Despite his struggles shooting the ball, Lonzo is able to contribute in a myriad of ways. His defense, passing, and rebounding put him among the best in the league.

In his rookie season Lonzo Ball averaged 1.6 steals and 0.8 blocks per game. Those numbers have dropped a bit in the start of his second season but his defense is still top of the line. Over his last five games players are shooting 5-for-26 (19.2%) from the field when guarded by Lonzo Ball. Moreover,Ball displays great footwork and body control on the defensive end. The way he is able to stay in front of the opposition and force them one direction is a great skill to have and allows him to play stifling defense without fouling.

Secondly, Lonzo is a fantastic passer. He is averaging three less assists per game from last year to this year but he is sharing ball handling duties with LeBron James and Rajon Rondo, two of the best passers in recent memory. Lonzo is routinely able to make passes into tight places and often before the defense realizes they have left someone open. Playing with two of the best playmakers the league has to offer will only allow Lonzo to grow this part of his game.

“Zo” rebounds very well for a point guard and averaged just under seven rebounds per game in his rookie season. He has not had quite the same impact rebounding the ball this season yet he is still third among guards(per 48, nba.com). Only Ben Simmons and James Harden are ranked higher.

Ball has not gotten off to the start many thought he would. He has struggled to find his shot but his impact in other areas allows him to affect the game without needing to score. Once Ball starts hitting his shots, look out.

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