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Rookie Lonzo Ball in thick of first NBA shooting slump

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The transition from college to the NBA game is never an easy one, both on and off the court, for rookies. Many a first-year player has found himself in a shooting skid in his first season and for Los Angeles Lakers rookie guard Lonzo Ball, his time for such woes is now. Throw in the fact that Ball’s jump shot and shooting form has been a target of many critics and he’s got plenty to deal with.

Ball is shooting a frigid 29.9 percent overall and 23.4 percent on 3-pointers so far this season, but that’s just the tip of the cold-shooting iceberg. Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times has more on Ball’s recent woes:

“I’ve been shooting it far my whole life,” Ball said. “I think it’s just in my head. Gotta keep working.”

Ball is shooting 29.9% from the field, which ranks last among rookies who average at least two shots per game and at least 20 minutes per game. His three-point shooting is worse at 23.4%, the worst among rookies who fit that criteria.

He has vowed to keep shooting through the struggles, but Ball took only two shots against the Portland Trail Blazers last week. The next two games, though, were more typical of Ball’s first month in the NBA. He made three of 15 against the Brooklyn Nets and three of 13 against the Memphis Grizzlies.

“Hopefully soon; hopefully in Boston it will turn around,” Walton said. “But I know that he’s out here working. I know that he’s been a good shooter his whole life. I’ve seen him make 10 straight spot shooting. He’s got the skill and the ability. It will only be a matter of time when that percentage starts to go up.”

If his college career was any indication, things should get better. Ball made 55% of his shots in college and 41% of his three-pointers. He has an unorthodox shooting motion in which the ball is released from his right hand near his left ear, but it’s a motion his college coaches never changed, knowing he wouldn’t have time in his one season to truly adjust to a new way of shooting the ball.

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