Averaging 9.0 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 6.9 assists in the first 15 games of his NBA career, Lonzo Ball has been the most talked about rookie this season. As the #2 overall pick in the draft, the expectations for Lonzo are higher than any rookie in recent memory. When you think about it, the most recent rookie that came into the NBA with such expectations was Lebron James. So now, with the hype of his father, many are predicting that Lonzo will help lead the Lakers back to their glory days. Well before we get ahead of ourselves, we need to accurately predict the type of player Lonzo Ball will turn out to be.
What we know so far
Though it’s been just 15 games, we all have been able to get a sense of what he can and cannot do. Let’s start with the positive. With the ability to push the ball up and down the court, he has the skill set to be one of the best floor generals in the game. And currently at 6’6, he is also able to get an above average amount of rebounds as well. He’s unselfish, and easily a point guard a lot of scorers would want to play with. Now let’s take a look at the negative. He can’t shoot or play defense, and his free throw shooting leaves much to be desired. Additionally, his body language has been criticized as too laid back, lacking a sense of urgency.
So far, he has been a disappointment based on the expectations set for him and based on how well other rookies in his draft class are playing, including teammate Kyle Kuzma. However, it’s still early. Look at Brandon Ingram. He was terrible in his rookie year. Now he’s looking pretty decent.
What is likely to happen
The longer he is in the NBA, the more he will develop. With that said, he will put on more muscle, which will positively impact his defense and ability to guard his man. His stamina will increase, which will allow him to play offense and defense more efficiently, thus impacting his field goal percentage and ability to run the floor. However, will this be enough to meet the expectations many have for him?
Lonzo Ball is currently being compared to the likes of Magic Johnson and Jason Kidd. You know, arguably the top 2 point guards of all time. The idea of Lonzo being as good as these two is not only is that an unfair expectation, but very likely an unrealistic one. There have been many great floor generals in the NBA, from John Stockton to Gary Payton to Jerry West – each having their having respective unique abilities that made them stand out from the average point guard.
While many have chosen to compare Lonzo Ball to Magic Johnson and Jason Kidd, here is the guy I am comparing him to…
During, his time with the Boston Celtics, Rajon Rondo was one of the best point guards in the league as a 4x NBA All-Star, 2x NBA All-Defensive First Team, 3x NBA Assist Leader, and NBA All-Rookie Second Team while winning an NBA Championship with the Boston Celtics in 2008 as well as almost carrying his three future hall of fame teammates (Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Ray Allen) to a second championship but falling in game 7 to Kobe Bryant’s Los Angeles Lakers.
Though he couldn’t shoot well, Rondo was mainly known for his playmaking ability, rebounding, and basketball IQ. Now a member of New Orleans Pelicans, Rondo is a shell of himself but still has an elite playmaker with a high basketball IQ – such qualities that Lonzo Ball currently possesses. The one difference between the two is that Rondo is a fiercer competitor (just ask Kris Humphries). But as players continue to punish Lonzo on a nightly basis, that fire within him is likely to come out. The NBA is a sink or swim league. Sooner or later, Lonzo Ball will have to show everyone why he is worthy of all the hype.
Let me know what you think. Is this a fair comparison? Or is there someone else you think compares more to Lonzo Ball.
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