The Los Angeles Lakers and New Orleans Pelicans kicked off the NBA offseason with a bang. Anthony Davis now finds himself alongside LeBron James in Los Angeles. Meanwhile, Lonzo Ball is headed to New Orleans with the second chance he needed.
Lonzo Ball: New Orleans Pelicans offer a second chance
Despite his ability to stay relatively healthy and in peak form, Father Time will always be undefeated. This was true last season when LeBron James suffered a significant injury that cost him 18 games sitting on the sideline. There was no more time to wait, the Lakers and James were effectively in “win now” mode.
This meant doing anything and everything to make the Los Angeles Lakers immediate contenders, and top priority was to get a second superstar to pair with the aging LeBron James. Anthony Davis became target number one, and no matter the cost, Davis had to find himself in Southern California sooner than later. The cost ended up being the bulk of the Lakers’ young core and three first-round draft picks of Los Angeles’ future. Among the core includes the former number two overall pick Lonzo Ball.
Arguments will be made on whether which team won the trade, but what can be said is that Ball has been given the second chance he needed. If he can stay healthy his skill set will benefit tremendously from the foundation being built in New Orleans.
Maximizing his strengths
If Lonzo Ball wants to extend his playing career in the NBA he needs to become a reliable shooter. Ball currently shoots 33 percent on threes, 42 percent on free throws, and 32 percent on shots outside of three feet. That simply won’t cut it, and he needs to improve this facet of his game. But in New Orleans, he has an opportunity to do so without compromising the strengths of his game.
Lonzo Ball is a strong defender, rebounds and passes well. In Los Angeles, LeBron James needs shooters surrounding him. On the tail end of his career, James effectively needed Ball to be a reliable shooter, something he couldn’t do. In New Orleans, he’ll need to develop this part of his game but with fewer expectations on the larger team, he can do so at his own pace.
Right now, all that is expected of Ball is to bring his strengths to the table and maximize them. Defend well, rebound the ball, and facilitate for his teammates around him. Better yet, form a potentially great young core alongside future top pick Zion Williamson.
Alongside Jrue Holiday, Lonzo Ball has the opportunity to complete one of the top defensive backcourts in the league. The Western Conference has a plethora of scoring backcourts on playoff teams. Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson with the Golden State Warriors. James Harden and Chris Paul with the Houston Rockets. Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum with the Portland Trail Blazers.
Alongside Holiday, a fellow UCLA college basketball product, Ball can change the narrative. To contend in the Wild Western Conference, you have the beat the best. What better way to do than to create an antidote to combat your opponent’s strengths? In time, Holiday and Ball can be a lockdown defensive duo to be reckoned with.
Main image credit:
Embed from Getty Images