Los Angeles Lakers: The curious case of Lonzo Ball being aggressive


Why taking more shots isn’t the cure for Los Angeles Lakers Lonzo Ball’s struggles.

After the Los Angeles Lakers’ November 2nd game against the Portland Trailblazers, head coach Luke Walton stated that Lonzo Ball should be more aggressive. Luke wasn’t alone. Laker fans and analysts alike were up in arms over Lonzo’s failure to shoot more than two times.

In response, Lonzo took a combined 27 shots over the next two games, making only 6 of them, only one of which was a three-pointer.

In both of those games, most of Lonzo’s misses came on forced shots. No offense to Lonzo, but we’d all prefer the Lakers’ stagnant possessions to fall to Brandon Ingram. The cool thing is, Lonzo would likely prefer that too, as Ingram is blossoming before our eyes.

Lonzo’s aggression shouldn’t be measured through shot attempts, it should emerge through a stronger demand for the ball as the Laker lead guard. His talent does not exude through shot taking or even driving to the basket for scores or assists, it radiates through his ability to see the game three steps ahead of the next guy and to put himself and his teammates in position for easy scores.

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Too often, Lonzo is comfortable taking possessions off. He allows Jordan Clarkson and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope to run the offense, which limits his effectiveness. Lonzo has to demand the ball from the rebounder and inbounder as fast as possible so that his decision making can shine through.

He is one of the top playmakers and game managers in the NBA and he does us no good playing off the ball, especially when his three-point shot isn’t falling.

Even when Lonzo took only two shots, he had a game-high +10 leading both the Lakers and the Blazers in plus/minus ratio.

Lavar Ball said Lonzo’s shooting woes would improve with more minutes. While minutes aren’t necessarily the answer, more minutes creates rhythm, which is what Lavar was really getting at. For Lonzo, a better rhythm can come from simply being on the ball more often.

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To tell Lonzo to shoot more hurts his game. The gift of good point guard play is the ability to feel the game and get guys involved, so they too can get in a rhythm. Lonzo’s aggression should center around remaining on the ball and making the right basketball play.