In stark contrast to the number one pick, this west coast Pac-12 ball handler hasn’t flown under the radar after a successful year in college and an offseason of fanfare, both negative and positive. Beneath all the headlines and hullabaloo sits a talented player at number two in Lonzo Ball - PG, UCLA.
The elephant in the room is Lonzo’s bloviating, argumentative father Lavar Ball who’s drawn the ire and side-eye of many, but, despite some rumors, whether the Big Baller Brand Patriarch influences an organization is still unknown.
Lonzo was the speeding heart of a UCLA offense that finished 2nd in Ken Pomeroy’s Adjusted offensive efficiency with a 124.0 rating on the season. The sure handedness and agility of Ball make him a threat to attack a defense off the dribble in transition or in the half-court. Thanks to his 6’9” wingspan, he averaged 2.1 steals and snagged 5.8 defensive rebounds per 40 minutes giving him ample opportunities to exploit transition defenses at the rim or by kicking out. With 8.7 assists per 40 minutes, Ball’s vision and feel for the game are unparalleled; there’s no question he changes the geometry of the court.
Of the 343 shots Lonzo attempted only 26 of them were two-point jumpers, Ball is built for the modern NBA game. He’s shown the skills to score at the rim on his own or by picking apart a defense with cuts and backdoor action. Ball went 97-123 on shots at the rim with 52% of them being assisted via Hoop-Math.com. Despite its potency, there’s been much talk about Lonzo’s awkward shooting form and whether it will translate to the NBA. He shot 41% on 194 three point attempts. However, Ball shot only 67% from the free throw line on the season.
Lonzo Ball has the skills and ability to change the way a team plays. Individually, he had a 129.4 offensive rating and a 31.4 assist percentage via barttorvik.com. His athleticism isn’t elite or overwhelming, but he can run and leap with the best of them despite his leaner build. Defensively he’s not a lockdown defender, but he’s vigilant in looking to parlay steals and rebounds into quick attacks. Many people view Ball as a franchise-altering player, but it remains to be seen if Ball’s immediate exit from the college ranks or his father’s divisive heavily publicized antics, ranting, raving and shoe-moguling will affect a team’s perspective on his talented son.
The 2017 Brew Hoop Draft Board
My pick for the #3 Spot on the Brew Hoop Community Draft Board is:
This poll is closed
Josh Jackson - SF, Kansas
Jayson Tatum - SF, Duke
De’Aaron Fox - PG, Kentucky
Malik Monk - SG, Kentucky
Jonathan Isaac - SF/PF, Florida State
Dennis Smith - PG, N.C. State
Trade the pick!