POSITION: Point Guard
WEIGHT: 190 lbs
SCHOOL/ TEAM: UCLA
*Great size for a lead guard with good athleticism
*Puts a lot of pressure on defenses by being aggressive bringing the ball up the court on makes and misses
*Dangerous on leak outs without sacrificing end of possession defense
*Fills the lanes correctly on the break
*Good rebounder for a player looking to get into transition as often as he is
*Can finish above the rim and in traffic
*Very good vision
*Forces some passes looking for the highlight but generally makes the right decision
*Can pass with both hands
*Gives up the ball freely and moves to get it back.
*High assist rate without dominating the ball
*Good pick and pop chemistry with TJ Leaf
*Better at finding shooters out of the PNR than the roll man but that could be a personnel issue
*Good at finding his shooters cross court when the defense collapses or overrotates
*Legit NBA range Looks comfortable shooting off the catch and off the dribble
*Rarely takes jumpers inside the 3 point line. (3s and at the rim almost exclusively)
*Want to see more of the elbow jumper coming off the high PNR
*Doesn't run his man into the screen consistently
*Doesn't square his shoulders while shooting.
*Staggered right foot forward stance with a low release.
*Finds passing lanes when off ball to set up kick outs
*Has shown a shifty handle but does most of his work with his first step
*Recognizes when his defender is ball watching and goes to the rim for a lob or spreads out to spot up
*Could potentially develop a post game as he fills out.
*Has the length to hurt point guards from there and the vision to pass out of a double
*Size and athleticism allows him to guard both guard positions
*Is hit or miss with on ball coverage.
*Gives up straight line drives as he starts to wear down but also does a good job contesting off the dribble shots
*Gets caught up on screens OFTEN. -Might be due to him standing up too tall as the screen approaches
*Establishes good help position when off ball but can get caught ball watching
*When beat off the dribble, he stays on his mans hip and stays engaged
*Does a good job funneling ballhandler toward the help along the baseline
I'm not a fan of the term "Pure Point Guard" because I think the game has evolved over the years, but if there was a player in this draft who is the epitome of a pure point guard it would be UCLA's Lonzo Ball. Ball possesses great size, athleticism and more importantly, elite court vision and a pass first mentality. A lot of people make a great deal over the funny hitch in his shot, but it goes in and he shot over 40% from 3 while taking a lot of shots way beyond the college 3 point line.
Ball excels in the open floor and is most dangerous when he gets the rebound and and pushes the ball ahead with the pass or uses his speed to go coast to coast to the rim. He plays with tremendous confidence (sometimes his shot selection shows you he can be too confident in his shooting range) and has an excellent feel for the game. He literally makes everyone around him better and can change a game without scoring 10 points. I'm not big on comparing teenagers to Future NBA Hall of Famers, so I'll leave the Jason Kidd comparisons alone. However, I don't think saying Ball is Ricky Rubio with shooting range is a bad assessment.
In the half court Ball has a tendency to try to force passes into tight spaces and rarely looks to turn the corner to get in the teeth of the defense. He's not a one on one player or a guy who will break his man down at the end of the shot clock like a lot of the point guards you see in today's NBA, but he makes up for it by being good off the ball. Defenses have to respect his deep shooting range so he spreads the floor for his teammates and is an excellent back door cutter who can make plays above the rim.
The areas of concern would be how does Ball fit in a half court NBA offense and his ability to score outside of long 3's, transition layups and back door cuts? UCLA didn't run a lot of ball screens or pick & rolls which may have hid some weaknesses or did not give him a chance to possibly show a strength. Just like my brother James, I'm concerned about Lonzo's ability to score between the 3 point line and straight line drives to the rim.
As of today, I have Lonzo as the 2nd best point guard in the draft behind Markelle Fultz but De'Aaron Fox's play in the Sweet 16 matchup may make me rethink where I stand. However, I'm still really high on Lonzo Ball. I love his size, court vision and winning intangibles. I personally would love to see him in a Lakers uniform in a backcourt with D'Angelo Russell. I believe the Lakers need a pass first player who's not concerned about stats and only cares about making winning plays.
RAFAEL BARLOWE - MARCH 25, 2017
Lonzo has been in complete control of the offense.
With the ball in his hands, he’s really playing at his own pace. Facilitating for his teammates, picking his spots as a scorer and doing a great job protecting the ball. His passing is special, he can pass players open like top level QBs in football. He’s hit all his pull up jumpers, two of them 3s, and all his shots around the rim, which include an offensive rebound, him breaking the defense down off the dribble and finishing layups, and a few backdoor alley oops. Off the ball, besides those alley oop dunks, he’s gone 50% on catch and shoot possessions, hitting three 3s. He can really fill up the box score without being too ball dominant. On defense, he’s done a much better job navigating ball screens which has been one of my bigger concerns with his defense. He’s been in good help defense position and contests shots well on the ball as well as on the closeout. Has given up a few offensive rebounds by not boxing out the shooter
KHAIRI AKILI -MARCH 20, 2017
I still have concerns with Ball off the dribble though he is getting looks in the paint. I just don't see the creativity from him off the dribble. I still don't know how well or even how he's going to shoot off the dribble when the guards go over his screens.
His vision is legit and he really can pass the ball. I see more Ricky Rubio than Jason Kidd. Ball does a great job pushing the tempo and finding guys in transition.
JAMES BARLOWE - FEBRUARY 21, 2017
Lonzo ball is an interesting prospect. He averages a ridiculous amount of assists for the college game and has great size. He can shoot but his jumper won't win any beauty contests. He's got range and apparently it runs in the family- his youngest brother shot a pull up from half court off the jump ball (SMH.)
I'm not as high on Ball as others. He hasn't shown me any creativity off the bounce. He rarely looks to turn the corner. Against Kentucky, Bam Abedayo switched out on him three times and Ball settled for contested deep 3s every time. He's not the quickest guy either. It's not like with D'angelo Russell where you have a slow guy with great craftiness. I also don't know how he's going to shoot that jumper off the dribble when guards go over his screens. He's got great assist number but UCLA doesn't run very much PNR.
Ugly shot, quick release
Great size for a PG
AREAS OF CONCERN:
Can he turn the corner? (Struggled against UK)
Settles for contested pull up jumpers
Will he be able to shoot the mid range jumper in PNR?
Will need to develop a post game to make up for a lack of foot speed
Is he creative enough off the dribble?
Gaudy assist numbers but limited pick and roll action
JAMES BARLOWE - DECEMBER 29, 2016