Skepticism about Lonzo Ball’s shotAP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

Skepticism about Lonzo Ball’s shot

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Lonzo Ball was a really great shooter last year, but there are still some skepticism about the shot heading into the NBA. The whole gather leading up to the shot is slower then it is for more traditional shooters. The actual release is quick, but the process as a whole is slow. He takes a while at times to gather and shoot, especially on the right side of the court. This slows down the process of getting the shot off the dribble.

When players go under screens, he is able to get enough time to successfully complete the form with little worry. When Lonzo does get played straight up by a defender, he needs to step back in order to gather and get the shot off in time. The problem with the shot lies in the lack of fluctuation in his creation situations, this is because he isn’t going to stop on a dime and pull up often. That allows for a defender to know what to expect. It’ll either be a step back three point shot or a dribble drive. That limits his scoring in terms of spots on the floor. Forcing him to go right is another adjustment defenses can make as it will cause Lonzo problems, as it is more difficult for him to hop into a shot from that side. Being predictable with a shot can be troublesome for non-athletically elite guards since they don’t have the dynamic ability to change direction.

This does limit him somewhat on pick and rolls as it is tough for him to create good attempts for himself apart from the step back three point shot. When defenders do sag off of him some to give him the mid-range shot, Lonzo takes a while to gather and pull up. This makes it tough for him to get his shot off since big men are constantly improving on closing out on guards on the perimeter. A lot of the mid-range shots that Lonzo made were on more slower big men. These types of big men aren’t as athletic as the ones Lonzo will see in the NBA.

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His release can be rushed with certain closeouts and that alters the shot somewhat. The shot can get bothered rush his mechanics due to the presence of a defender. The way he finished the shot made it appear as if it was rushed. His shot isn’t traditional for better or worse and here is the downside of a form that requires consistency and time to have its maximum effectiveness:

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Apart from Lonzo having issues controlling his handle and performing an advanced move like splitting a pick and roll, his handle doesn’t really allow for him to create much separation from his defender. He does not have much ability to give enough shake to get some serious space. He was also shooting from the right side and that made it take longer to gather and shoot. Ideally, he is going to need to create more space and his handle is going to be the key since he doesn’t have elite burst:

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It was tough to find a pull-up mid range attempt. The mid-range shot is not as valuable as the 3 point shot, yet it is still important to add some kind of diversity and unpredictability. Here, Lonzo couldn’t really separate enough to get a good attempt. He took a while to gather as well. Frankly, it was a lot of work for a tough pull up shot. The gather is going to require him to stray from these kind of shots. Again, this isn’t going to kill his NBA future, but it will limit his ceiling as far as creating for himself:

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This shot is going to be one that is going to be given in the NBA. These are the easy shots that players create and Lonzo really struggled to stop his dribble, gather, and shoot a pull-up quick enough to not get bothered by the closeout. Players will be more athletic than a big like Tyler Davis and that means better closeouts. Getting this kind of shot off effectively is going to be more difficult in the NBA:

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Closeouts that come from the right side are more effective on ball as it is noted here. The shot goes from left to right so a closeout from the right allows for Ball to feel more uncomfortable. This could possibly even mess with some of his mechanics. The results of a proper closeout are seen here:

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Shooting the three off the dribble from the right side is a process that takes longer than from the left side. He needs to kill his forward momentum, gather the ball, line up his feet, and then release the ball. All of these moving parts result in the shot taking a longer time to get off. This allows for closeouts to be more effective bothering the release of the ball. Since minor alterations can cause the shot to miss left or right, the stop and pop from the right side might not be all that ideal:

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