By Jett Hatton
Lonzo Ball was arguably the most hyped up player coming into the NBA since the likes of his own teammate, LeBron James. Although last year he performed below expectations, I think it is time to hop aboard the Lonzo Ball hype train once again.
The Los Angeles Lakers guard showed flashes of greatness last year in his rookie season, nearly posting a 30-point triple-double in only his second game. However, he was truly inconsistent and showed a lack of aggressiveness throughout the year. Ball was also a streaky shooter. Some games he could not buy a bucket, while in others he was red hot. Using his performance against the San Antonio Spurs as an example, he sunk six threes, with two being game deciding moments in the final minutes.
This season, Lonzo Ball has remained an inconsistent player on the offensive side of the court. However, that has not been the case as a defender. He turned in an impressive performance in Saturday night’s clash against the Charlotte Hornets, posting a 16-point triple-double. But what caught my eye was his defensive play. Ball had the highest +/- in the game at 36 to go along with four steals, He held one of this seasons most elite scorers in Kemba Walker to four points and 2-13 from the field.
In his last two games before Charlotte, Ball locked down two All-Star point guards, holding Chris Paul to 3-10 shooting against the Rockets before yet again having the highest +/- on the court against the Heat while keeping Goran Dragic to seven-points and 3-9 from the field.
As a 6-6 point-guard, Ball has an extreme height advantage at his position, allowing him to guard three-positions. Combined with his incredible mind for the game, Ball has serious potential to become an All-NBA defender.
If he can find his consistency and maybe smooth up his jump shot, Ball will cause issues and can become the player we all hoped for. He is already a proven passer in the game, finishing top-eight in assists in his rookie season. Being able to develop alongside the likes of LeBron James and veteran leadership like Tyson Chandler, expect the son of the notorious Lavar Ball to be a valuable player for many years.
Magic Johnson did compare Ball to himself for a reason. Although it is extremely unlikely, anywhere close to Magic is a Hall Of Fame player. That’s not saying Ball will become a member of the Hall, but he has the tools to reach it.