The Orlando Magic are on pace towards another year of a top five lottery pick. Over the next few weeks, we will analyze prospects the team could potentially draft. Next up, Lonzo Ball.
Name: Lonzo Ball
Team: UCLA Bruins
Current Position: Point Guard
Expected NBA Position: Combo Guard
Age: 19 years old
Stat Line: 15.4 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 7.6 apg, 1.9 spg, 0.8 bpg, 55.5 FG %, 43.3 3PT %, 67.9FT%
Pro Comparison: Jason Kidd
Lonzo Ball entered the college preseason in the mix for the number one prospect title. Ball is one of the safest picks in the upcoming draft.
Ball is one of the best overall guards available this upcoming draft. If you listen to his father tell the story, he is so far ahead that he is already a better player than Golden State Warriors, Steph Curry.
“I have the utmost confidence in what my boy is doing. He’s better than Steph Curry to me. Put Steph Curry on UCLA’s team right now and put my boy on Golden State and watch what happens”. – LaVar Ball
Lonzo has remained quiet amid his father’s claims and that may very well speak about how his character really is. Ball has a high basketball IQ and it is on full display when he is on the court for the UCLA Bruins.
Ball is very capable of exceling at being a floor general of an NBA team and among the league leaders in assists on an annual basis if he falls into the right situation.
What truly separates Ball from all other point guard candidates is his size and ability to pass the ball to teammates wide open or in traffic. He can see the floor over smaller defenders.
In the early stages of his career, Ball will have to rely on his calling card to be a guard who can keep an offense flowing with ball movement. While passing will be his niche, he is more than capable of being a scorer. Currently scoring nearly 16 points a game, Ball finds most of his success scoring in transition, although he can score the three-point shot. He can use his dribble to get to the rim or to create his own shot at will but he will need to continue to work on his shot selection at the next level to be successful.
Ball could meet his Kidd comparisons if he remains active on the defensive end. At 6’6, he is a very tough defender when engaged. His 6.1 rebounds per game show that he is capable of crashing the glass and willing to do the “dirty work” down in the paint. While not as strong as the NBA will demand him to be, he can defend quite well due to his size and length.
With his all around game, Ball should be considered a triple-double type of player.
Ball will be one of the better playmaker in the upcoming draft but he will come with a few red flags.
As an expected highlight assist guy, Ball will make the flashy play occasionally but that type of play will lead to sloppy and unnecessary turnovers at times. He will need to play with a bit more discipline at the NBA level to avoid becoming a turnover machine and adjust to making the simple play.
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He also been known for his bad shot selection. While he shoots the three ball above 40 percent this year at UCLA, he can forget he is playing with a team and hoist up deep, contested threes early in the shot clock.
From a potential top three pick, you love the effort to try to take over a game but he will have to be smart about how he does it. As competition stiffens against him, he has the tendency to relax from penetrating to the rim and settling for an inconsistent, wild jump shots.
In terms of his shooting ability, Ball has a glaring issue, his release is to the left of his body and not at its high point as he tends to release below his head. NBA defenders will be able to contest his shot fairly easily if he does not correct his mechanics with a higher release point.
Like other top five prospects, Fultz and Jackson, Ball really struggles from the free throw line. Shooting just 68 percent, teams will not hesitate to foul him and make him earn his way at the charity stripe. This will be a major area of concern when it comes down to late game play. He simply must improve in this area.
Ball will be in the mix to go as the number one overall selection based on his UCLA game play this year. He has made it known he will enter the NBA draft this year. While not being the most athletic player, he does bring an all around game that simply can not be passed up by teams looking for a playmaker and potential star.
*Some videos used are the property of Mike Schultz for Draft Express.