(Erica Martin/Lakers.com)

2018 Player Capsule: Lonzo Ball

by Joey Ramirez
Digital Reporter

Season Summary
Lonzo Ball’s first season in the NBA saw him immediately become a fundamental piece of the Lakers’ team identity.

His fast-paced, versatile game was indicative of how the Lakers want to play moving forward.

Ball instantly established himself as one of the most gifted passers in the league, flinging 80-foot outlets, cross-court dimes and more. If he had played six more games, he would have qualified for the NBA assists leaderboard and ranked eighth with 7.2 per game.

Ball also constantly worked on the boards, averaging 6.9 rebounds, which would have ranked third among guards if qualified. His presence on the glass was essential to his ability to get the transition offense running, as the Lakers’ 17.5 fast-break points per game were second-most in the league.

In fact, Ball had the third-fastest individual pace of any player in the NBA.

He was also an excellent defender, particularly off the ball. Lonzo constantly hunted in passing lanes and would have placed ninth in steals (1.69) if qualified.

He was particularly sneaky after the All-Star Break, as he averaged the NBA’s second-most steals during that last leg of the season (2.06).

Of course, most of the attention around Ball this season was centered around his shooting struggles. The 20-year-old hit just 36.0 percent from the field, 30.5 on 3-pointers and 45.1 at the free throw line.

Ball — who averaged 10.2 points — was told by the front office to “perfect” his unorthodox shooting stroke rather than abandon it.

The 6-foot-6 point guard did have his streaks of hot shooting and was about league average on spot-up attempts, but will need to hit more consistently moving forward.

By the Numbers
13:
Games needed to record the youngest triple-double in NBA history*. The 20-year-old had 19 points, 13 assists and 12 rebounds against Milwaukee.

29: Points scored against Phoenix in the second game of his career. Also had 11 rebounds and nine assists.

58.6: Percentage shot on step-back jumpers. Ball was especially accurate on step-back 3-pointers (12-of-18).

*Later broken by Markelle Fultz.

What’s Next
President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson made his expectations clear to Ball, saying that this offseason will be “pretty much the biggest summer of my life.”

Ball is embracing this challenge, and has a list of skills that he intends to work on.

One mandate from the front office is to pack some more muscle onto his frame, as that added strength will allow him to both play more physically and stay on the court after missing 20 games to injury.

Ball has also been tasked with improving his individual offense, as defenses were more worried about his ability to set up teammates than him getting his own buckets.

He said that his “main focus is scoring from all levels, especially from the pick-and-roll,” which means adding more pull-up jumpers and floaters to his arsenal.

Shot Chart

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