Lakers Lead

Lonzo’s Newfound Three-Point Shooting Can Propel Lakers

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From what the first five games of the regular season have shown, the Lakers are still in dire need of more three-point shooters. The team has shot just 31 percent from beyond the arc thus far, which ranks 27th in the league. This is a significant problem if LA wants to compete with the likes of Golden State and Houston, teams that have proven that they can shoot the lights out from downtown.

However, this season, the Lakers are receiving help from long range from where many would least expect. Lonzo Ball, long criticized for his inability to knock down jumpshots and for sticking with an awkward shooting motion, has emerged as one of the Lakers’ best three-point shooters this season.

The sophomore point guard is knocking down 40.7 percent of his shots from distance, second on the team behind Josh Hart (who is continuing to exceed expectations with his sensational play) among players who attempt at least three triples per game.

Thus far, it looks like the work that Ball put in this offseason to improve his shot has worked out well.

Ball’s three-point percentage has gone up over 10 percent from last season, but more impressive is that he has become a more efficient scorer given fewer minutes. Recovering from a knee injury, Ball was on a minutes restriction for the first two games of the season. In just 26.8 minutes played per game so far this season as compared to 34.2 last year, he is putting up 11.8 points, 5.8 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game on a 61.4 effective field goal percentage. Last season, the numbers were 10.2 points, 6.9 rebounds and 7.2 assists per game on a 44.0 effective field goal percentage.

If Ball can continue to shoot well, Los Angeles becomes much more multi-faceted in its offense set when he is on the floor. Teams will have to begin respecting his shot and guard him out on the perimeter. That leads to options that were not there last season, as teams would have to pick their poison between Ball shooting versus him making a play for a teammate.

Especially since the Lakers play at such a fast pace, Ball developing his shot will be crucial for maximizing the team’s success in transition. Just behind the Atlanta Hawks, Los Angeles plays with the second-highest pace in the NBA with 107.5 possessions per 48 minutes. If Ball can remain consistent from outside, the floor becomes much wider for the Lakers on the fastbreak since he, LeBron James and Lance Stephenson can hit each other for open shots coming down the floor.

For the Lakers, Ball shooting well from three-point range is something that can really create options on the offensive end. However, it has only been a week into the season, and Ball needs to remain consistent for the Lakers to take a big step towards catching the teams at the top of the West.

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