A new report offered an explanation for New Orleans Pelicans guard Lonzo Ball’s subpar play during the NBA’s season restart while also suggesting that the organization might make some big changes during the 2020 offseason.
As quoted by NBC Sports, the report came from David Aldridge of subscriber-only publication The Athletic, who wrote that Ball appeared to be playing indifferently during the recently concluded seeding stage.
“People down in Orlando tell me Lonzo Ball looked like he’d checked out the whole time the Pels were there, and that they expect some significant roster adjustments in New Orleans before next season.”
While Ball’s numbers do indeed show that he was not his usual self in the Orlando bubble — he shot only 28 percent from two-point range, 33 percent from beyond the arc, and 56 percent from the free-throw line — NBC Sports pointed out that those statistics only represent a “small” sample of seven games. The outlet added that there isn’t necessarily a “bigger meaning” whenever a below-average shooter like Ball has a particularly cold stretch at a crucial time.
In addition, the publication wrote that there’s a chance Aldridge’s sources might have been trying to justify Ball’s statistical decline “without actually knowing the [full] story.”
With New Orleans bowing out of the playoff race last week and finishing the 2019-20 campaign with a 30-42 record, Ball’s third NBA season — his first with the Pelicans — ended with averages of 11.8 points, 6.1 rebounds, and seven assists, and shooting clips of 40.3 percent from the field, 37.5 percent from three-point range, and 56.6 percent on free throws, per Basketball-Reference. The former No. 2 overall draft selection will be eligible for a contract extension in the 2020 offseason, and as NBC Sports pointed out, he will still have one more year on his contract before he can enter restricted free agency in the summer of 2021.
Further commenting on the rumors of his supposedly listless attitude in the NBA’s bubble site, the outlet’s Dan Feldman added that Ball still has the potential to be a long-term complement to last year’s No. 1 overall pick, forward Zion Williamson. However, he cautioned that the 22-year-old might be involved in one of the many roster changes the Pelicans might be making later this year.
Rumors regarding these changes have been scant when it comes to the players that could be involved. However, The Inquisitr recently reported that the Pelicans are expected to part ways with longtime head coach Alvin Gentry, with assistant coaches Tyronn Lue (Los Angeles Clippers) and Jason Kidd (Los Angeles Lakers) among the likely candidates to replace him.