UCLA guard Lonzo Ball was expected to be among the first players selected in the 2017 NBA draft on Thursday night, and he went No. 2 overall to the Los Angeles Lakers as many predicted.
Ball played just one season for the Bruins and averaged 7.7 assists per game while also recording 14.6 points per game. The freshman led UCLA to the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA tournament before the Bruins fell to Kentucky.
Ball has made headlines for the outspoken nature of his father LaVar, who has been very vocal about his desire for Lonzo to play for the Lakers.
Lonzo Ball scouting report
Stats: 14.6 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 7.6 APG, 55.1% FG, 41.2% 3FG
Bio: Ball (and his father) have been the talk of the pre-draft process, and there’s a major stir about Lonzo staying home and going to the Lakers at No. 2. Thanks to his unique playmaking ability and a consensus All-American season at UCLA, he won’t fall past the first few picks. Ball has as much upside as anyone in the class, given how much better he makes his teammates and his consistency as a three-point shooter, but he’s not without his flaws as a prospect. Whether he’s a superstar or just a very solid rotation player, he’s as good a bet as anyone to have a long, substantial NBA career.
Strengths: It’s impossible to deny the effect Ball’s simple presence had on the Bruins’ offense last season: he’s extremely unselfish with outstanding vision, and it rubbed off on his teammates. He has the potential to essentially be an enabler for a fast-paced, modern NBA offense, and that’s extremely enticing. Even if he doesn’t evolve into a go-to scorer, Ball’s good enough in transition and as a set shooter that he’ll remain a threat. He likes to gamble for steals in the passing lanes, and has the size to defend both guard positions.
Weaknesses: Can you be a great point guard in the NBA if you can’t consistently create your own shot? That’s the biggest question surrounding Ball, who’s crafty but not especially quick or explosive. He also has unorthodox shot mechanics that make it difficult for him to pull up while attacking off the dribble. Ball’s shot is repeatable and should be fine when he’s unguarded, but creating space for it against athletic defenders in the halfcourt will pose a challenge. He may be well-suited as a team’s second-best player, paired with a go-to scorer who can shoulder the offensive burden.
- Jeremy Woo
The Real Balls of Los Angeles is, well, real. The Lakers looked at Josh Jackson and De’Aaron Fox and came back to Ball. Pound for pound as prospects, the three aren’t far apart, but when it comes to philosophical fit, Ball was the clear choice. He’ll benefit from Magic Johnson’s tutelage and Luke Walton’s uptempo offense and have a great opportunity to be a difference-maker. As L.A. angles to land established stars, Ball’s development will be critical. He should be up for the task. LaVar, too. - Jeremy Woo
Fast facts about Lonzo Ball
Birthday: October 27, 1997
Position: Point guard
Hometown: Chino Hills, CA
High School: Chino Hills