Lonzo Ball (PG, UCLA)

 

Measurables: 6’6”, 6’9” wingspan, 190 lbs, 19.6 years old

Strengths

  • Processes information faster than almost any prospect in years
  • Phenomenal efficiency from 2-point and 3-point (73% 2-point, 41% 3-point)
  • Almost singlehandedly transformed UCLA offense
  • Explosive leaper + height allows him to get up
  • Has a pretty easy time getting to rim in straight line, 79% finisher at rim
  • Size allows him to see over top of defenses
  • Length+height allow him to recover on D even with average lateral quickness/effort level
  • Underrated as a rebounder – able to get up and grab balls
  • Value stats put him as one of the top players in the NCAA
  • Exceptional outlet passer
  • Gets it done in all facets of transition – remarkable passer, great finisher
  • Creates great looks by breaking defenses down early in transition
  • Just takes offenses to another gear through passing
  • Makes passes that few other players even see
  • Off the charts IQ – instinctual cutter, jumps passing lanes, makes passes 2 plays ahead
  • Extremely deep range on jumper
  • Step back jumper is a refined weapon from all ranges
  • Forces defense to stay on him well past 3 point line
  • Offers off-ball potential thanks to catch and shoot ability
  • 94th percentile when contested on jumper

Weaknesses

  • Rarely gets to free throw line, and struggles there (67%)
  • Deeper stats less bullish on his passing (31.4 AST%, 18.6 TOV%)
  • Does not really fight through screens all that well
  • Struggles to score in half court
  • Zero midrange game (8 out of 238 of his half court shots)
  • Doesn’t have great ability to get to rim in half court
  • Opts for crazy finishes instead of getting to rim
  • Unable to take advantage of switches because of his less-than-elite ability to turn corner
  • Low release on shot means bigger defenders can easily contest
  • Inability to get past guys means he ends up pulling up from very deep
  • Not good in PnR yet. Only 10% of his offense and he turns it over ⅓ of PnR ballhandler possessions
  • Very little nuance in his scoring game
  • Needs to play in system tailored to his strengths
  • Struggled with contact near rim
  • 29% 3 point shooter prior to UCLA – red flag along with FT%
  • Overly relies on jumper, will be tough to score when it isn’t falling
  • Really struggled to score vs NBA competition (Kadeem Allen 2x, Derrick White, De’Aaron Fox)
  • Unorthodox jumper form is a real question – poor footwork and obviously poor release
  • Doesn’t seem to play hard at times – turnover issues, content to jack deep threes
  • Lazy overall on defense — plays for blocks/steals
  • Low degree of physicality in on-ball D and finishing on O
  • Opens up to drivers then relies on length to recover – dangerous against PGs with NBA speed (see: Fox putting 39 on him)
  • Understanding of PnR/help defense needs to improve

Overall

  • Ball’s rare vision, instincts, and ridiculous transition ability have the potential to transform an NBA offense right away. He’s also got tools to be effective as a defender and rebounder when he wants. Efficient as a finisher, he needs to improve his ability to get to the rim in the half court and get into contact more. He faces real questions about his ability to translate his offense into the NBA, where his questionable jumper, inexperience in PnR, and absence of midrange game could bite him. The jumper is especially concerning given pre-collegiate inconsistency and low FT%, along with the obvious issues in his form. Still, Ball’s transformative court vision and elite positional size, along with his heightened sense of what’s going on on the court, make him a top prospect in this draft as he continues to improve his half-court ability.

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