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Lonzo Ball on shooting woes: “It’s in my head to be honest”

at TD Garden on November 8, 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts.

at TD Garden on November 8, 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts.

Tim Bradbury

After a 4-of-15 shooting performance on a big, national stage against the Celtics’ Wednesday, it’s been time in the media for another round of “what’s wrong with Lonzo Ball’s shooting?”

Ball is shooting 29.5 percent overall and 23.1 percent from three. He’s shooting 32.8 percent as the pick-and-roll ball handler (but just 25 percent if the defender just goes under the pick) and 22.2 percent on spot ups (stats via Synergy Sports). He is shooting 14.8 percent on catch-and-shoot threes, and 32.6 percent on drives.

Ball was a better finisher and shooter in college, and while not expected to be a tremendous scorer shooting was not supposed to be an issue. Ball addressed the matter again after the game and said this is getting in his head.

The Lakers coaches think he can shoot his way out of this, with a little work.
“I want him to keep shooting. I’m glad he’s not turning them down,” Lakers’ coach Luke Walton said. “I’m glad he’s trying to put pressure on the rim. The way to break through (his rough start shooting) is to keep working, at practice coming in early and get the shots up, then keep doing it in the game. Eventually, you will figure it out, especially if you’ve been a good shooter your entire life.”

It’s far, far too early to say what Ball will or will not be in the NBA. He’s a just-turned 20-year-old who has played all of 11 NBA games.

However, he clearly has work to do.

Ball’s unusual shot release has been well documented, but watch how far forward he jumps on his threes (hat tip Lakers Film Room). Ball is trying to play fast to pick up the team’s tempo, but in the halfcourt when Ball drives he does it so fast he’s a bit out of control, and when multiple defenders collapse on him he attempts difficult shots (he’s no Kyrie Iriving around the rim).

With time the game will slow down for him, and with some tweaks he should find a comfort level with his shot. Welcome to the development part of the game, something everybody seemed to intellectually understand was needed, but the hype machine spun out of control with Lonzo (you can thank LaVar and a desperate Laker fan base for that). It was always going to take time. Part of that time now is just getting Ball out of his own head.