Thus far into his sophomore season, the Los Angeles Lakers have not needed Lonzo Ball to score much, but recent injuries to LeBron James, Rajon Rondo and Kyle Kuzma have changed that.
As Ball’s scoring has been viewed as a bonus to head coach Luke Walton, he is averaging 14.4 points (46.7 percent shooting from the field and 46.4 percent shooting from the three-point line), 5.2 rebounds and 6.6 assists in the last five games.
With Ball failing to score in double-figures (3 points) in the 107-100 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder, Walton is asking for more from the 21-year-old.
“We need more of it now, for sure,” Walton said before the team’s 119-112 loss to the New York Knicks.
“I thought he was aggressive last game. He was penetrating their defense, getting to the rim, got to the foul line a couple times. But he does so many other things that help us win. For where we’re at right now, the scoring when he has a good shooting night, that would be helpful.”
Ball responded with 17 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 block and 2 steals against the Knicks. He made five of seven attempts behind the three-point line, but also committed a game-high six turnovers.
With the Lakers relying on Ball to be the ‘head of the snake,’ this is a good opportunity for him to get comfortable and establish himself as front-line point guard in the NBA.
As Ball has only played 90 career games, his court vision and defense are his greatest strengths. However, with teams playing him for the pass and going under screens, Ball needs to learn how to finish around the rim and become a respectable three-point shooter.
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