Los Angeles Lakers guard Lonzo Ball grades his rookie season
NBA.com staff reports
Between being the No. 2 overall pick, playing for a storied franchise in a large market and receiving constant praise from his father, Lonzo Ball entered his rookie season highly advertised.
With that came scrutiny at times, mostly stemming from his failure to shoot anywhere near the same clip he did in college. Ball shot 55 percent from the field and 41 percent from 3-point range during his lone season at UCLA — those numbers dropped to 36 percent and 30.5 percent, respectively, in year one with the Lakers. His free throw shooting was a poor 45 percent as well.
There were plenty of bright spots for the 20-year-old, however. His on-court vision carried over to the pros, as well as his ability to work the glass as a 6-foot-6 point guard. He and Ben Simmons became the first rookies to average at least six rebounds and seven assists since Magic Johnson in 1979-80. His defense and impact in the passing lanes was a positive, grabbing 1.7 steals a game, tied for best among rookies. Ball also finished as one of just five players in the league to average 10.2 points, 7.2 assists and 6.9 rebounds, his season numbers in 52 games.
So how would the rookie grade his first campaign?
“I give myself a B,” Ball said in an interview with ESPN. “I mean, obviously, you want to do the best you can and focus on making the playoffs, but I think this year was more just about learning. It’s my first year in the NBA. I don’t think I did tremendously well, but I don’t think I did bad.
“We won more games than we won last year, that’s a plus. And guys are growing – myself, Kuz [Kyle Kuzma] is growing, BI [Brandon Ingram] is growing a lot, and Julius [Randle] really evolved this year as well. I think we’re all coming into our own and it’s something special for the future.”
Work is in progress as the offseason started a month ago for Ball, who says this will be the “biggest summer of my life.”