It’s no secret: Lonzo Ball is struggling to shoot the ball to start his NBA career. The rookie out of UCLA is shooting 29.5 percent overall and 23.1 percent from three, hitting just 32.8 percent as the pick-and-roll ball handler but just 25 percent if the defender just goes under the pick, as is becoming more common), and 32.6 percent on drives.
Ball’s defenders point out that future Hall of Fame point guard Jason Kidd started out in the NBA struggling with his shot, too.
Jason Kidd was on ESPN’s First Take and called the comparison a stretch.
“And so far it’s still early in his career, and as someone said earlier, it’s a stretch. He has to understand what it means to play hard and what it means to win, and how to win at the highest level. And it takes time.
“In three years, hopefully there’s a better comparison, but right now it’s a stretch and he has a way to go.”
Two thoughts here. First, while Kidd was not a great shooter to start his career, he was a good defender early on and an All-Defensive Team player by the third season. Ball should improve on defense, but he’s not that guy, he does not bring everything Kidd did to the table out of Cal.
Second, and I’ve been writing this a lot lately, Lonzo Ball was always going to take a little time to develop into the NBA player the Lakers drafted him to be. He entered the league with the court vision, the passing, and the “it” factor that gives him the potential to be special, but he’s still a 20-year-old rookie just playing his 12th NBA game Thursday night. The shooting, the level of conditioning, learning to finish around the rim when defended, playing under a little more control — that was all going to take some time. Now he’s pressing. Everyone needs to tune out his father, be patient, and give Lonzo a chance to find out who he is going to be in the NBA. It can’t be rushed.