On Lonzo Ball, the Prospect Who Should Defy the Noise Around Him

Darius Soriano —  June 6, 2017

From even before the time the Lakers secured the #2 pick in the upcoming NBA draft, the Lonzo to the Lakers train was steamrolling down the tracks. Whether it was Lonzo’s father, Lavar, trying to “speak it into existence” or Lonzo himself stating outright his desire to play for the Lakers (and be mentored by Magic Johnson) while staying close to home in Los Angeles, the UCLA star becoming a Lakers’ one seemed like destiny.

Now that the Lakers actually have the pick, this all seems even more preordained. Even reports about Lonzo not being a lock are at least partially prefaced with him still being the favorite to land with the Lakers. Yes, other prospects are worth selecting #2 and the Lakers will do their due diligence. They reportedly really like Josh Jackson and De’Aaron Fox and will work both out in the coming weeks. But Lonzo is the name we keep coming back to; he is the default name.

There is good reason for this. Lost in some of the bluster about his father or other “distractions” we should always remebmer that Lonzo Ball is an excellent basketball player and, in my opinion, one of the more intriguing prospects to come into the league in some time. Note, I’m not saying he is the best one — after all, he’s not even the top player in this class. But his profile is a unique blend of basketball IQ, size, skill, and a strict adherence to playing to his strengths that doesn’t often come in any prospect, much less one who can play point guard and/or initiate your offense.

When you add it all up, it combines to make Ball the prospect who seems to almost perfectly align with how the Lakers want to play under Luke Walton and one who should not be defined by any of the noise that surrounds him or his game.

The first thing you notice about Ball when watching him play is his general feel for the game and how he prefers to operate as a lead guard prospect. Namely, Ball wants to play fast.

He thrives in transition, equally adept at throwing the ball ahead to a streaking teammate as pushing the ball himself to threaten defenses. He understands how defenses can be bent and tormented in the open court, recognizing how defenders instinctively retreat to certain areas of the court from years of repetitive training. Ball exploits those instincts, looking for shooters running predetermined lanes and big men streaking to the front of the rim to create open shots. When in the open court, Ball will also threaten defenses himself, willing to drive into the paint to either get his own shot or to collapse the defense further. He’s also very willing to pull up for open jumpers from range, capitalizing on defenders who have sunk too low or who are too set on playing him to pass.

Related to all this is how fast Ball thinks the game. Playing the style he does in the open court often means he’s thinking one or two sequences ahead, setting up defenses in ways that translate to open shots two or more passes after his initial read. Often times you’ll see Ball not only throw ahead, but throw a cross court pass ahead, tilting the defense to one side of the floor, only for that pass to lead to a quick ball reversal. With the defense then in scramble mode, the offense can either take a shot, swing the ball again, drive to score, or drive to dish to an open player in the “dunking” position around the rim. This pinball’ing action may not end with Ball getting a basket or an assist, but it was his initial read(s) which set the entire thing off.

This proclivity for seeing the game a step ahead translates to the half court as well. Ball’s not just a wonderful passer, but an expert ball mover in set plays. When delivering the ball to shooters off screens, the ball is on time and into his teammate’s shooting pocket. He’s great at throwing lob passes of all sorts, tossing perfectly timed parabolas over fronting defenders or more direct line pitches to his bigs or slashing wings for alley-oops. And then, of course, it’s all the simple swing passes and deliveries he makes as a secondary passer — the types of quick touch passes from corner to wing, wing to corner, or direct post entries that are the hallmark of good NBA offenses.

As a half-court scorer, Ball is more limited (more on this in a minute), but his strengths here are also meaningful. As a ball-handler, he can create for himself off the dribble by using straight-line drives to his right hand to finish at the rim.  He’s also able to create his own looks as a jumpshooter, though those plays are almost exclusively going to his left while using an exaggerated step-back move.

Off ball, he was an excellent spot up shooter, able to set up well beyond the NBA three point line as an outlet option off quick swing passes or in drive and kick situations. He also showed an ability to operate off pin-down screens for his jumper and demonstrated a remarkable sense of timing and feel as a cutter. He’s a threat to finish lobs off backdoor cuts and showed wonderful relocation skills to set up his jumper, possessing an uncanny ability to dart into open space when his defender got caught up watching the ball.

When making a list of things you want from a perimeter player in Walton’s offense, Ball checks nearly every box. Incredibly smart, a passer/ball mover, shooter, cutter, and someone who can initiate the offense both when the game slows down or when playing in the open court.

So, nothing to worry about right? Well, if only things were that easy.

We’ve read ad-nauseum about Ball’s funky shooting mechanics and it’d be silly to simply ignore those. The fact that he brings the ball across the left side of his body as part of his motion makes shooting going right nearly impossible in closely guarded situations. Also, his handle is good, but not great and he offers little in the ways of “moves” that are often the hallmark of lead guards who have to create in isolation.

Regardless if Ball’s shot translates to the NBA level (and I think it will), the worry, then, is that at the NBA level defenses will get Ball’s tendencies down pretty quickly and respond accordingly. They will play him to drive going right, will play him to step-back for jumpers going left, and will always be aware of his preference to pass first. And because Ball doesn’t necessarily have the shake or an explosive first step, these types of tendencies aren’t something that can be masked or overcome just because we want them to.

Further these concerns bleed over into the P&R too. While some of his struggles here can be oversold, it remains a fact that Ball rarely turned the corner coming off ball screens looking to score. Again, some of this is context and scheme related, but we can only go off what we saw at UCLA and then try to project that out. At the NBA level, Ball will need to develop an effective floater, will need to up his driving rate (both in and outside of P&R actions), and will need to show more variance in how he attacks defenses overall. In order to keep defenses honest at the pro level, it’s important to unlock a certain amount versatility. We’ve seen this type of growth with D’Angelo Russell (started to drive more/get off more paint shots in the 2nd half of this past year and instantly saw his scoring punch go up) and, based on where he is now, we will need to see the same with Ball as a rookie (and, likely, beyond).

Defensively, I think Ball’s struggles are a bit oversold, but that does not mean criticism is unfounded. Due to his height and general upright style of play, quick guards who have a shifty handle give him problems. His size also makes him a bigger target for screeners and he’ll need to learn to navigate those better at the pro level, in both the P&R and when chasing shooters off the ball. These aren’t small things, either. Really good perimeter players who do not benefit from using screens to aid their offense don’t exist at this level. If Ball is going to guard them effectively, he needs to improve here.

The good thing is that Ball’s IQ does seem to translate to defense in several areas. He showed good instincts in the passing lanes and as a rotator from the weakside. He understands angles and has shown he can execute the game plan while showing good instincts for how players want to attack. Further, we cannot discount Ball’s combination of size and good enough length + athleticism and how that can translate to the NBA. He can be someone who switches onto bigger players, can challenge shots well, and, as he gets stronger, will be able to absorb contact from some of smaller players he’ll defend and still stay in position to bother shots in the paint.

When it’s all said and done, then, I simply see too many positives with Ball to not be excited should he be the pick at #2. People might harp on his low usage rate at UCLA or his lack of offensive creating as red flags for a point guard prospect in today’s NBA, but in the short term I actually see that as aiding in his transition to this specific Lakers’ team. In Russell, Julius Randle, and Brandon Ingram, the Lakers already have three players who project to have fairly high usage rates (to say nothing of Clarkson). Slotting Ball next to them allows those players (especially Russell) to continue as a shot creator in the P&R and in isolation, while utilizing Ball’s skills as a spot up shooter, cutter, and someone who can also operate as a secondary passer and shot creator against a tilted defense.

Further, Ball can be a primary initiator of the team’s sets, allowing Walton to further leverage Russell and Ingram’s off-ball instincts as scorers and cutters. Walton can also use Ball’s open court smarts to unlock strengths of Randle, Nance, and Clarkson which have not been utilized as much over the last couple of seasons.

In the long term, I expect Ball will be able to shore up some of his weaknesses. He’s smart enough to learn how teams will play him (on both ends) and, by all accounts, will work to then adapt and evolve. But, even if he doesn’t turn the corner entirely in some of these areas, the skills he brings to the table now are truly important ones to being a quality NBA rotation player. When you combine his smarts with his shooting and passing ability, he can have a long career as a plus starter.

Of course, the Lakers will want more than that from a 2nd overall pick and, honestly, I think they’ll get it should he be the choice.

Ball, within the context of this specific team at this specific time, just fits. People often refer to him as a “culture changer” and while I think that can be overblown a bit, the alignment between what Ball is naturally as a player — a hard worker who’s unselfish while playing a fun style — and what Walton wants out of his team is nearly identical. I think Ball can be the type of player who serves as a springboard and a jumping off point for what Walton wants. When combined with his talent level, I’d be happy to have him. We’ll see if the Lakers front office agrees.

Darius Soriano

Posts Twitter Facebook

to On Lonzo Ball, the Prospect Who Should Defy the Noise Around Him

  1. Ball will probably be a good player but he is not the second player in this year draft. And in my opinion should take the best player available . The NBA has changed. The elite PG are Wall , Westbrook, Irving, Curry, Thomas, Lowry , Walker. All of them can pass but most and foremost can SCORE. All of them score at least 20pts per Game. Ball is not that type of Guy . I will rather take someone who can compete them like Fox or Dennis Smith Jr.


    • That’s too sensationalistic for my taste (ignoring the fact that Lowry, Thomas, and Walker aren’t elite).

      The game has changed but it has not. It’s always about accumulating the most TALENT and being able to put the ball in the basket (regardless what poaition). Passing, IQ, awareness are all important.


    • One thing that hasn’t change in today’s game….
      Getting and Keeping your Teammates Involved…and Making them Better…
      Those are the Major ingredients in being a Successful team…..and even a Championship one….
      Lonzo has that quality….
      San Antonio is the perfect Example…


    • Lonzo is the Best Fit for this Laker team..Hands Down!


    • Lonzo can score from 3, and driving to the basket only if the floor is stretched by either a big that can shoot from outside or a big coming out to set a pic.


  2. We’ll thought out and written. Ball would be a real asset to the Lakers team and I hope he is selected in the draft. He has a lot to learn, but who doesn’t at his age.

    A couple of months ago, we were anticipating a #28 pick, nothing more. Now, we have a pick and a bright future. Hopefully we will field a team largely based on what we see today, Moz & Deng will play instead of sitting out of the lineup, the young players will have another year of experience.

    What might we expect? I think everyone will be playing for a spot on the following year’s team. That year, Magic stated they will pursue free agents. Those free agents and the current players who have risen to the top, might just make the playoffs.

    Should be fun to watch. Thanks again for a well written article.


  3. Ball is the only real, and best, option at #2. His strengths are elite and unteachable. His weaknesses are fixable or can at least be mitigated a bit.

    He also happens to check the box of “best fit” with DAR and Ingram.


  4. Ball will allow the Lakers to run the offense Luke keeps talking about. He would replace the weakest passer among the starters (Clarkson) which should result in much better ball movement. He is like Luke in his approach to getting other players engaged only with a better body and 3 point shot. After listening to the last podcast, I was impressed with how cerebral and disciplined Ball is. He spent his season at UCLA focusing on his strengths and playing within his considerable abilities. It looks like he will be very coachable.


  5. Unless there is a trade, I also think Ball is the overwhelming choice for #2.

    While I do expect a discussion of the other #2 possible choices, it is #28 that I love talking about. After looking things over I have a list of players the Lakers should draft at #28, in order – i.e. if the top player is taken earlier, the Lakers should draft the next down in the list. I have left out lottery picks because I think they will all be gone by #28, but the top of the list does include players that should be drafted before #28.
    1 – John Collins
    2 – Justin Patton
    3 – Justin Jackson
    4 – Edrice (Bam) Adebayo
    5 – Ivan Rabb
    6 – Terrance Ferguson
    7 – Ike Anigbogu
    8 – Caleb Swanigan
    9 – Jordan Bell
    10 – Johnathan Motley
    11 – Rodions Kurucs
    12 – Semi Ojeleye
    13 – Anzejs Pasecnicks
    14 – P.J. Dozier
    15 – D.J. Wilson
    16 – Wesley Iwunda

    This is my list, in order of preference. How about differences, or additions? Or is this going to be another thread in the next few days?


    • Jordan Bell would be my guy at 28


    • Always love being a unofficial scout, the 28th pick could go many different ways, nobody expected nance jr…..

      Here’s my draft list. Based on most mock drafts
      Top 10, we all know so ima skip it
      Z. Collins pf/c, j.collins pf, ferguson sg, Justin jackson sf, patton c, kennard sg, kurucs sf/sg, hartenstein pf, mitchell sg, anunoby sf/pf, allen pf/c, giles pf/c, leaf pf, rabb (14 names, 2 international players have tell monday to withdraw, someone could slide to us)
      20- 2nd round
      Anigbogu c, adebayo pf/c, jeanne c, pasecniks c, ojeleye sf/pf, dj wilson pf, lydon pf, evans pg, bell pf/c, bradley c, white pg, simmons pg, bryant c, motley pf, frank jackson pg, swanigan pf, kuzma pf, peters pf, iwundu sg/sf, dozier pg/sg, bacon sg/sf
      (21 names for about 7 first round spots left, someone on this list will likely be drafted by the lakers, if they decide to keep the pick)


  6. I haven’t seen enough of Ball to judge but I hear he is cold and doesn’t congratulate himself after every play. This is very good if true.
    Also, I’m thinking his low usage is a plus plus – it really surprises me that people might consider it a shortcoming. Rather, it points to a very efficient style that would work anywhere, certainly on the Lakers.
    Finally, very small sample size but I have seen him jump then quickly jump again without gathering which IMO speaks to good athleticism.
    So yeah, lots to like here.
    If he can get his shot off against NBA talent, he may be an excellent get.


  7. PS – If he can deliver on the court, then of course L Ball’s local ties and desire to stay in LA are icing on the cake, baby!


  8. My only question about Ball is how self motivated he is,and how hard he`ll work when his father becomes less of an every day influence. If he wants to to be a star in the league,he`ll have work harder and devote more hours than he ever has in the past.


    • You have nothing to worry about. He’s a gym rat and has no social life. He has a calm low key cockiness to him. Everyone in Chino Hills sees him running around the trails at 4am. He shoots funny because he was knocking down NBA 3’s as a little kid.


      • EuropeanLaker June 6, 2017 at 11:46 pm

        That is what I am most interested in. There is no player in the draft and no one ever has been good enogh to be a good player in the NBA. It all comes die to their improvement over the years. Pbz06 do you have any sources that can back up you claim / articles so that I can read more about this?


  9. I am acutely wary of Lonzo’s on-ball defense, which I think is very poor.

    Especially together with D’Angelo Russell, also a poor defender. I fear this defensive backcourt guar[_] combo will inspire LakerNation wincing for years to come.

    That said, naturally Darius’ comprehensive and nuanced analysis of Ball shouldn’t be reduced to this one issue, and no draft pick pops out perfect and fully-formed. You take the best of what’s realistically out there.
    And any #2 (Ball or otherwise) represents a prime asset to grow the team forward.


    • Ucla won around 80% of their games not because they had a great defense, but because of offense efficiency. The better the offense is run the less defensive stops on the other end.

      Lonzo ball is not a terrible defender, even chris paul needs interior defense, ucla had bad interior defense, just like the lakers do right now, the bad defense will translate, but it is not because of lonzo, defense is a team thing, lonzo paired with the right players around him will make a great defense, him getting players involved on offense will create better team chemistry. If you noticed lonzo played great defense against certain teams, notably Oregon and arizona, alot of it is coaching, and teams play. Another thing to note here is d’angelo russell at sg, will be playing along with an upgrade from last year swaggy p or clarkson, both of whom lonzo is a way better defender, but it will take time.

      Lonzo ball isn’t reeves island and this is not football.


  10. I’m on board for the Lonzo express !

    Despite his flaws, of which some can be addressed, what he brings is so rare.

    So what if he never scores 20+ points. As having an amazing ability to create for your team, creates those points by proxy.

    I believe that Lonzo and D’Angelo will create a dynamic duo; and adding Ingram into that mix will be devastating, for many teams to deal with.

    It hasn’t been this hopeful in Laker land for a long time, and I for one am savoring every moment.


  11. i say roll the dice on lonzo — at worst he is an above average point guard — ricky rubio with a better shot from distance; at best he is a transformational kind of player — jason kidd with a better shot and the ability to make all his teammates better players

    having said that — I am going to give magic and pelinka the benefit of the doubt with whoever they elect assuming he is named jackson or fox or if they move the pick for example to sacto for 5 and 10


  12. A Horse With No Name June 6, 2017 at 8:37 pm

    Nice explication of Ball’s special gifts and acknowledgment of his weaknesses. He’s certainly a special talent. He is however, a player whose physical limitations will likely limit his ceiling to maybe becoming an all-star. Unfortunately if a player lacks quickness and explosiveness, there isn’t a lot of room for improvement. For this reason alone I fear a defensive pairing with Russel; it’s hard to see the team ever becoming an elite defensive team with those two on the perimeter. If there is a prospect that would be a good fit and also has a chance at stardom, it behooves the lakers to think carefully about who they select at number 2; that’s why I’m hoping they pick Jackson.

    I want to believe that there is real division on Ball within the lakers basketball talent evaluators. I suspect Magic is pro-Lonzo and is eager to be involved with his development. I suspect the young Buss brothers and Ryan West are more skeptical about his talent. Pelinka is probably neutral and wants to see everyone first and try to arrive at consensus. My hope is that the workouts of Ball, Fox, and Jackson give enough clarity to build consensus. I don’t believe the lakers have made their decision at all. It’s interesting that Ball is now willing to work out for the sixers, after his camp said that he’d only work out for the lakers. This strongly suggests that the decision hasn’t been made.

    Craig: Collins, Jackson, Patton, Ferguson, Anigbogu, will be gone by the 28th pick. Swanigan, Motley, Dozier, Iwunda will be 2nd rounders. This leaves Adebayo, Rabb, Bell, Kurucs (I think he drops to this range), Ojeleye, Pasecnicks, and Wilson. Pretty solid options for getting a rotation player.


  13. Darius, you had me at “hello.” I think the Lonzo choice has consequences that will shape the Laker future–and change the makeup of the squad–probably more likely sooner than later. These are interesting times.


  14. The plan is simple……

    1. Draft Lonzo.
    2. Get Paul George.
    3. Add a max free agent.
    3. Trade Russell and Deng for immediate help which includes a defensive minded PG.
    4. Use the cleared cap space from trade to add another elite player(s).
    5. Trade Randle before his contract is up to strengthen the bench.
    6. Build another Magic statue at Staples for bringing the Lakers back to glory.


  15. Ball seems to provide the Lakers with the greatest opportunity towards creating an Offensive Juggernaut. no other prospect seems to provide the same level of promise on the offensive end. The question then becomes will the Lakers with all expectations fulfilled on the offensive end be able to compete with the elite and will their current players be able to develop defensively. I feel that if the lakers can be superior on one end of the court they can cut the loose ends and create a contender off those strengths.


  16. Lonzo…


  17. I find it interesting that when looking at a prospect, fans have no problem acknowledging the potential of a player on offense. However, when they look at defense they consider it a final product and grade that prospect as is (lol?). He’s 19….19! As I always say, there’s no 19 or 20 year old coming into the NBA and playing shut down D. Not Fox, not Jackson. Did you guys complain the same way about Curry, Lillard, McCollum, Harden when they were in the draft? For all the complaints about DAR’s defense, he held his own for his age and going against the cream of the crop. He did better than Towns, Booker, Lavine and many others.

    A defensive specialist, you can always sign a Tony Allen or a Patrick Beverly or Shane Battier or Aaron Afflalo when you are ready to win. You don’t draft them at #2 when there’s way more impact players available.

    Lonzo has the natural defensive instincts and good size. He has potential on the defensive side. DAR has also shown improvement as he got stronger. It’s Clarkson (who people forget is now 25) that’s the weakest link on the perimeter. He gets beat one on one, dies on screens, and loses his man off ball.

    The name of the game is point differential. In Lonzo’s case, it might not necessarily come from him directly since he’s not really looking to score, but he might have the best net positive effect on the offense.


  18. … and if Ball and DAR don’t mesh oh well it will be dealt with. It’s been done before with satisfactory results: See: the breakups of Magic/Nixon and Steph Curry/Monte Elliis, two that come immediately to mind.
    The loathsome Celtics will soon face the same nice to have “problem” with I Thomas and M Fultz.


    • Clay Bertrand June 7, 2017 at 6:47 pm

      Good point. Nice comparisons as well. I think that Russell/Ball has more potential to work than Magic/Nixon because both players are able to play effectively OFF the ball more so than Magic and Norm were. They each HAD to have the ball in their hands and neither was known as much of a spot up shooter. Ball’s ability to spot up and Russell’s ability to handle the ball AND play the PnR could make for decent offensive synergy in the back court. DEFENSE is obviously another story……….


  19. Ball is the clear legit #2 choice here.

    Jackson, can’t shoot and has character issues with a hit and run, and threatening to “beat a woman” who had peviously suffered violence at the hands of his teammate. He is another boogie in the making.

    Fox is a scam, he can’t shoot from range, can’t pull up, can’t shoot if covered. John comparisons are ridiculous, at best he is Travor Ariza before he figured out his shot.


  20. Lakers were 30th in defense. Get Josh Jackson who can pass and handle very well too


    • Lakers were 30th in defense.

      ….and josh jackson is gonna change that?

      You would have to gut the whole team. You want a better defensive team, trade randle, russell, ingram, and clarkson… all the youth group…. bring in veterans and lets be a defensive team…… but that’s not the way to rebuild the team….. some of the players listed above are gonna be traded though, but drafting a freshman is not gonna upgrade your defense right now.


  21. A Horse With No Name June 7, 2017 at 1:56 pm

    According to the media interview transcript (lakers.com), Ball was given no assurances that he was the pick. He volunteered that “Pops worries about that.” This gives dissenters some measure of comfort–at least me anyway!


    • Clay Bertrand June 7, 2017 at 6:53 pm

      Cmon Horse!!!! I know you’re reppin’ JJ but I know you’re gonna be down with whoever we get brother just like the rest of us Laker Addicts!!! ; )

      I can’t even pick a favorite for who I think the pick should be. All have strong points and question marks enough that the choice is not so easy.

      My guy, the guy I hope they pick—–IS THE GUY THEY END UP PICKING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ANDDDDDDD I hope all the guys they don’t pick are BUSTS.

      Sometimes, the Fan Kool-Aid is just too damn sweet.


      • A Horse With No Name June 8, 2017 at 10:13 am

        I’m a great believer in great athleticism and two way capability as a predictor of potential at the NBA level. Too many red flags for Lonzo there. If he is the pick I hope he can fill the holes in his skills (average handle, unable to shoot off the dribble, no mid-range game) and mitigate his lack of explosive athleticism with strength training to use his body to punish smaller guards the way DLO is beginning to.

        The team’s quickest path to becoming competitive is at the defensive end. Don’t see that happening with DLO and Lonzo as our backcourt. I’d love to be wrong. I can assure you this however, if Lonzo is the pick and he isn’t all that, I won’t be whining and crying here–ok maybe a little bit. Ha.


        • Rick in Seattle June 9, 2017 at 11:44 am

          Gotta agree with Horse on this point. Defense has recently been this team’s biggest concern. They already have a lot of offensive firepower.

          Lonzo is not a historically great player. He has some limitations. He is one of a group of 5 or 6 very good players. The Lakers would be improved with any one of those players. The Lakers are a young, rebuilding team. If they trade down to garner and extra player or pick, it may be to their advantage to do so.

          Unfortunately, we don’t really know what the Lakers FO is thinking. So, its near impossible to determine their direction. But the hiring of Magic & Pelinka, give the impression that ownership prefers a less gradual rebuild. And adding one or more free agents (PG and/or LBJ) in 2018 would clearly support that theory.

          If they are not entirely locked in on Lonzo, it opens up a wide number of very interesting possibilities–to trade up, trade down, or even trade out. Example: Two weeks age, there was an unsubstantiated rumor that the Lakers were considering trading down for Sacramento’s Picks #5 & #10. Since that time there has been almost no mention of that possibility. In truth, both teams are probably examining multiple options.

          Although I’d truly like to see Lonzo play for a few months with DAR to see how well they mesh before selecting him, that is not a possibility. This front office is going to have to make a tough decision, on whether they go with Lonzo, or one of the other prospects like Josh Jackson, who are frequently mentioned.

          Any potential arrival of George & James is pure speculation at this point, but the possibility of a faster rebuild appears to be growing.

          Therefore, with that increased potential arrival of two all-star free agents, would the front office want to place control of the team entirely in the hands of a rookie PG? At the very least, one would think the team would be prudent enough to begin looking for a quality veteran backup.

          Lot’s of issues for Magic & Pelinka to focus on this off-season…


  22. I wasn’t as sold on Lonzo previously, but I think he can be a good offensive fit next to Russell (now the defensive end is another story). I agree with some commenters that they would pair together nicely because they can both be off ball threats. Both Russell and Ball are very good cutters and move well without the ball. Defensively, I’m a little nervous, but because Lonzo and D’Angelo are both fairly long and have high basketball IQ, I’m hopeful that that will shore up some of their defensive deficiencies.


  23. If lonzo’s game translates, and he comes out running in his rookie season, he’s gonna help julius randle make alot of money.

    You who else is gonna make alot of money if this happens, spectrum (time warner cable)


  24. The media treated lonzo ball like a star at his pre draft workout.

    I watched a old clip of d’angelo’s pre-draft workout interview and it was like 6 reporters

    Lonzo’s interview had at least 50 reporters.

    I know he’s a hometown kid, and his dad is a circus show/tmz type, but the media is not stupid they know this is a pivotal player for the team.

    He turned ucla into showtime lakers overnight, fact is that his numbers are so close to jason kidd, it’s got star potential written all over it.


  25. A short time ago, the team had one draft pick in the upcoming draft, #28. Now we have two, including the#2 pick. It’s supposed to be a deep draft, but almost every draft pick needs to work on a jump shot and defense. Hopefully the NBA will create a policy on one & done players because they are simply not ready for prime time.

    Having said that, draft Ball and hope that a team that can move the ball around to shooters will be a better team than last year’s team that one 26 games.

    Get rid of Most & Deng contracts and get ready for 2018 free agents.


  26. As someone who avidly followed UCLA basketball this past year, I’ve seen a lot of Lonzo and I’m totally onboard the Lonzo train. His work ethic and disposition towards keeping everything 100% about basketball and team wins are some of his best qualities. His interviews are sometimes on the verge of boring because he is used to being around his dad’s nonsense and in effect has developed a very business-like attitude towards basketball which will be great in the NBA. On the other hand, I worry about Josh Jackson and his off the court concerns.

    I wouldn’t let Lonzo’s usage rates be of any concern. His unselfish nature is his biggest positive. Someone who doesn’t take a single shot in the McDonald’s All American game and ends up with 13 assists is truly special. In today’s day and age, you never see that, especially in a game where most kids are trying to show off.

    The way he turned around UCLA’s program this year was amazing. I’ve never heard Pauley Pavilion as loud as it was after Lonzo turned it on during the Oregon game. The culture change that came with him was extremely exciting and I’m confident he’d bring the same excitement and team first mentality to the Lakers. I know it’s cliche, but I do think his unique abilities can bring us back towards “Showtime Lakers” type of play.