Los Angeles Lakers: Luke Walton open to more aggressive Lonzo Ball

NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 12: (NEW YORK DAILIES OUT) Head coach Luke Walton of the Los Angeles Lakers talks with Lonzo Ball
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 12: (NEW YORK DAILIES OUT) Head coach Luke Walton of the Los Angeles Lakers talks with Lonzo Ball /

Los Angeles Lakers head coach Luke Walton wouldn’t mind seeing a more aggressive Lonzo Ball.

There has been a lot to talk about with the Los Angeles Lakers this season. The performance on the court has improved compared to recent seasons. The 31 wins they have this season are the most since they have had since the 2012-13 season, which was also the last time the team made the postseason.

The Lakers are unlikely to end that playoff drought, but there is no doubt that they have improved. One of the reasons they are playing better is their young core. One integral part of that young core is point guard Lonzo Ball.

Ball was under the spotlight before he even was selected by the Lakers with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. That spotlight has only gotten brighter in Hollywood.

Lonzo’s boisterous father, LaVar Ball, has put a lot of pressure on Ball. He has handled the pressure well, just as he did at UCLA. He still has his detractors, but there is no doubt that he has had a positive impact on the team.

Defensively, Ball’s size has helped him. He wasn’t regarded as a strong defender coming out of college, but he has been solid on that end of the court. Where he really makes an impact is offensive.

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Ball impacts the game offensively with his playmaking and passing ability. When he is out in the open court, it is a lot of fun to watch. He has been able to still create for his teammates despite his jump shot not falling consistently throughout the season.

His jump shot is what many people point to as the reason that he is having a poor season. That is merely one aspect of the game, so to say he is a bust based solely on that would be inaccurate. However, his reluctance to shoot the ball is something his head coach spoke about recently.

Head coach Luke Walton spoke to Spectrum SportsNet and said that he wouldn’t be opposed to seeing Ball be more aggressive offensively.

"“He’s pretty good at taking what the defense gives him on most nights. And a lot of nights that’s three-point shots, because a lot of teams go under (screens) on him. He doesn’t normally get fixated on anything and try to force it. Sometimes we’d like him to be more aggressive, even if it causes turnovers or missed shots. Just to continue to get reps at doing things. But he does a nice job of reading and taking what the defense gives him.”"

There is nothing wrong with getting teammates involved, but Ball has had a tendency to sometimes overdo it. The main job of the point guard is to facilitate and get the team in position to score. However, sometimes the point guard ends up in a position to score, and Ball has not been taking advantage.

Teams know that Ball is looking to pass the ball and seem to be daring him to score at times. He is not taking the bait and is still passing the ball. Like Walton says, not forcing things is a positive, but being more aggressive in looking for his own shot could help take his game to the next level.

We have seen Ball shoot from beyond the 3-point line when given the chance. Even though his shooting percentage isn’t great, he lets it fly when given the chance. However, when driving the paint, he does not show the same aggressiveness to score.

It is something that he will have to work on as the season goes on and throughout the offseason. There is nothing wrong with being a facilitator, but his impact on the game would be heightened even more should be become a threat to score the ball.

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While he sometimes lacks aggressiveness scoring, there is a lot to like when Ball is on the court. The Lakers are better when he is playing, and will only improve the more comfortable he gets looking for his own shot.