Lonzo Ball was the talk of the 2017 NBA Draft, with many differing opinions on whether the Los Angeles Lakers should take him with the No. 2 overall pick. When everything was said and done, Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka decided to go ahead and take the UCLA star with the second pick.
His rookie season was a roller coaster, seeing the young point guard go through major slumps and also having some big games to show some of his potential. LaVar Ball, his father, certainly didn’t make things easy for his son. All season long, LaVar talked about his son, even saying that Lonzo would leave the Lakers if they didn’t bring both of his brothers on board in the future.
Throughout the course of the 2017-18 NBA season, Ball ended up averaging 10.2 points per game to go along with 7.2 assists and 6.9 rebound. While the scoring numbers weren’t where the Lakers were hoping they would be, Ball flashed his ability to make plays with his passing. Despite the lack of scoring, Ball impacted many games in a positive way.
Los Angeles finished the season with a 35-47 record. It was a better year than some were expecting, and the future is bright for the Lakers with plenty of money to be major players in free agency this coming offseason.
All of that being said, Ball’s rookie season was a success for the Lakers. He showed his ability to be a true point guard and is a major cornerstone for the franchise moving forward.
Strengths And Weaknesses
First and foremost, let’s take a look at Ball’s biggest strengths and weaknesses throughout his rookie year.
As far as strengths go, his ability to get his teammates open looks is the first thing that comes to mind. Whether it be his full-court lead passes, getting to the rim and kicking out to shooters, or simply running the offense under control, Ball made an impact as the floor general. He also rebounded the ball exceptionally well for a point guard.
At 6-foot-6, Ball is capable of creating a mismatch against most opposing point guards. He possesses great athleticism and showed that he can get to the rim and finish well.
On the other hand, his major weakness was his shooting. After being hyped up as a deadly three-point shooter in college, Ball shot just 30.5 percent from the three-point line in 2017-18. If he wants to become a star in the NBA, he will have to figure out his shot.
Ball had quite a few games that deserve to be mentioned in this section. He had quite a few games where he showed off his all-around potential and gave a glimpse at what the Lakers can expect moving into the future.
The first game that comes to mind is his performance against the Phoenix Suns in the second game of the regular season. He scored a season-high 29 points to go along with 11 rebounds and nine assists. Ball shot 12-for-27 from the floor in that game, which wasn’t amazing but did knock down 4-for-9 from beyond the arc.
Another performance worth noting was on November 11 against the Milwaukee Bucks. Ball put up his first career triple-double, scoring 19 points, grabbing 12 rebounds, and dishing out 13 assists. L.A. lost the game 98-90, but Ball showed off all of the tools that many believe will make him a future star in the NBA.
Ball also threw down a massive alley-oop dunk that left LaVar going crazy against the New York Knicks.
Outside of those three highlights, there were plenty of other big games throughout the course of the season. Those three were simply three of the biggest highlights for Ball as a rookie in L.A.
Final Grade For Lonzo Ball
Grading Lonzo’s rookie season isn’t an easy task, especially due to all of the hype that surrounded him coming into the year. He didn’t live up to the hype, but he did show flashes of future stardom.
Los Angeles knows that they have a bit of a project to work on with Ball, but they are excited to undertake the work that is ahead. Luke Walton worked well with Ball all season long and is a perfect coach to help the young point guard unlock his full potential.
Assuming Ball does not allow the pressure to get to him, the future is extremely bright. He showed flashes of being a triple-double machine and is the kind of true point guard that the Lakers needed.
Lonzo Ball’s 2017-18 NBA Season Grade: B