Leading up to the NBA Draft we will be analyzing scouting reports for various players who have entered their name in this year’s NBA Draft. The focus of these articles will be on prospects who we find most intriguing and feel readers need to become more familiar with. Please let us know if you want any players specifically @edupridepress. All stats and videos are via KenPom, ESPN, DraftExpress, and YouTube.
Weight: 190 lbs
Projected: 2 (CPP Big Board) 2 (CPP Mock Draft)
Background: This is my final of 11 player breakdowns that I am doing as a part of this big series and this is the one I have dreaded the most. Not that Lonzo Ball isn’t a great player but his game, life, and family have bee over dissected ever since he put a UCLA jersey on back in November. Lonzo lived up to the hype during his freshman campaign and lead the previous underperforming Bruins to the Sweet 16. Before Lonzo and TJ Leaf arrived, the UCLA fans were calling for Coach Steve Alford’s head. Lonzo was able to come in and immediately put the talented pieces together to create an unstoppable offensive team. Lonzo’s vision and ball handling was on display as he used his IQ and teammates to pick apart the defense rather than pure speed or strength. The comparisons for Ball have been extremely lofty and only time will tell whether Ball and the Big Baller Brand can live up to the hype.
Strengths: Lonzo Ball will come in and make any team better offensively. He is just that talented and a huge difference maker on that end of the floor. His 6’6 frame make it easy for him to tower over his man and see the entire court. Ball is a phenomenal passer and a true floor general. The difference between a point guard and a floor general is that floor generals put their teammates in the best situation to succeed. If you have a sweet pass to Shaq on the three point line it doesn’t help much. Ball put TJ Leaf and knockdown shooter Bryce Alford in great spots and delivered them for easy buckets. Ball is not only a great passer but he can score. He will need to develop a mid range game as he will not be able to beat some point guards on straight line drives to the rim. He can take over a game when his team needs a bucket. He has a funky motion when shooting but shot 41% from three point range and some of those were well beyond the college three point line.
Lonzo must have received all the brain cells that his father is missing because he is an extremely smart player in recognizing and reading the defense. This kid can flat out play. As many words as have been spent on Ball it is still tough to describe the value he brings to the basketball court. He averaged 15 points, 6 rebounds, and almost 8 assists per game. His stats are impressive but people forget that UCLA was not a very good team when he arrived and both him and TJ Leaf turned things around in a hurry.
Weaknesses: Ball does carry some baggage with him as he enters the NBA. His family has already alienated the major shoe companies that have a big say in the NBA and his father has done a lot of talking. Ball will have to work hard to keep his dad quiet and build relationships with his teammates. He is not playing with college kids anymore and any veterans will make him earn respect. Another question will be Ball’s defense. UCLA couldn’t stop many teams this year and part of that is a lack of team defense. Ball didn’t help the team in that category as he got toasted a number of times. Ball was matched up against fellow probable Top 10 pick De’Aaron Fox and could not stop him in their two highly touted match ups including the Sweet 16.
Comparison: Jason Kidd
As I stated above, the comparisons have been extremely lofty for Ball and this is no exception. Kidd was an incredible passer and made all of his teammates better. He was a true floor general who made the right plays and the flashy plays. Kidd was never the fastest on the court but used his IQ and vision to get the ball in the hoop. Ball will need to work and have a Hall of Fame caliber career to live up to the expectations and prove the comparisons right. Ball has the talent but must be in the right situation and quiet his father down to have fans focus on his play.
Be sure to check out our other Top 30 Breakdowns and NBA Draft Charts: