By Taking Lonzo Ball, Lakers Missed an Opportunity
Disappointingly, the Los Angeles Lakers selected Lonzo Ball of UCLA number 2 overall in the 2017 NBA Draft Thursday night.
While the Lakers had been widely expected to choose Ball, there were reasons to pass on this skilled passer.
We all, of course, know about his loud-mouthed father, LaVar, and his need to grab attention.
If Laker Coach Luke Walton does not play Lonzo as much next season as Lavar likes, the father will be whining and complaining loudly. It would be an unnecessary distraction for a team that is trying to rebuild.
Although many experts praise Lonzo’s talents, I believe he could be a bust. I think the Lakers would have done better if they had drafted Kansas’ Josh Jackson, Kentucky’s De’aaron Fox, or Duke’s Jayson Tatum — all better athletes than Ball.
Ball averaged a respectable 14.6 points per game in his one season at UCLA. But he also averaged 2½ turnovers a game, a bit more than desired. Also, Lonzo’s free-throw percentage was mediocre — only about 67%.
Fox’s free-throw percentage was better, at around 74%. He also scored more, an average of 16.7 points a game. His field goal percentage was 47%, lower than Ball’s 55% from the field. However, I believe Fox will grow into a top scorer because he is one of the quickest guys in the draft, he is hard-working and his shot was improving as the season progressed.
I do not believe Ball’s strange shooting motion will succeed in the NBA, and quicker players will be able to block his shot or strip him of the ball. In the end, I believe Fox will last longer in the NBA.
Jackson also would have been a better choice than Ball. He averaged 16.3 points a game and also 1.1 blocks. He is an effective scorer with a field goal percentage of 51%. Tatum, meanwhile, averaged 16.8 points per game. And his free-throw percentage was an outstanding 84%.
And again, all were better athletes who are more ready for the NBA than Lonzo.
I am still a Lakers fan. I will wish them and Ball the best and I will cheer for them in the 2017–2018 season. But I am concerned that they could have made a better choice with this important #2 pick in the first round.