With a lot of the focus this week on Josh Rosen and football, this Monday Basketball Update will focus on the other first round lock at UCLA, freshman point guard Lonzo Ball. Like Rosen, Ball is supposed to be the superstar; Ball as point guard is even the quarterback of the Basketball offense. Draft Express breaks down Lonzo's game in a series of videos. I guess in honor of Joe's postgame football post, I will do my own Good (strengths), Bad (weakness) and Ugly (see below) on Lonzo Ball's game.
Here is the Lonzo Ball weakness video from Yahoo! Sports.
Can he score efficiently in the half court?
Unorthodox Shooting Mechanics. Super Streaky 29.3% 3p%
Average Slasher/Athlete in the half court
Ball is not going to be a good three shooter. Steve Alford has shown an ability to improve shooters and on a team with Bryce Alford, Isaac Hamilton and even Aaron Holiday I am not too worried about this with one caveat. Alford has to make sure Lonzo is fourth or fifth in three point attempts on the team. This team does not need him to hit the three and he is not good at it.
The last point is the big one. As it says later in the video: "Lacks the polish and elite burst to get to the rim in isolation so he jacks jumpers." This is my worry. He needs to be able to drive and dish on this team. Holiday, while having the tools, has not developed the ability to dish off well on the drive. Ironically the best at the drive and dish right now is Hamilton but he has a shaky handle. Ball could really help UCLA in the halfcourt if he could do this.
The video also points out his many defensive flaws and basically calls him out for being too "casual." Really he looks soft on defense. This to me is the biggest area of concern. Players as gifted as Lonzo can be decent defenders with effort. In Australia, Lonzo didn't even make the effort to get into a defensive stance. And as I have been saying all along this is a big worry as the video says:
"Little emphasis on tough man-man D at Chino Hills-Used Zone Press."
Major worries here but again I would rather have a guy with Lonzo's ability and potential to coach up, than a guy who played all-out all the time but did not have the ability.
Which brings us to the strengths video.
It makes the point that TexasBruin has been making that Ball is an elite rebounder. Along with good leaping ability he has excellent instincts. He gives Steve Alford the first true small forward of his time at UCLA on Defense. Lastly as harsh as I am on Ball's defense, he is good at the defensive stats. He can anticipate passes well and will likely lead UCLA in steals this season.
Of course the beauty of Ball is his passing. The video goes in depth on how this is more than just transition basketball. Ball use his height, is good with both hands, the lob, you name it. With his unselfish attitude (except for jacking up threes) he is the kind of teammate players dream about playing with.
I will close with with Lonzo, unlike Josh, is no threat to send social media crazy with a tweet. However, as an old man, I have to say I prefer Ron Howard's latest flick on the Beatles to Lonzo's...uhh....singing.
Lonzo has the tools to make UCLA really good again. Hoping Steve Alford can develop and use them properly or else it is going to be a bad season and an ugly end to Steve Alford at UCLA.