How Lonzo Ball shoots a jump shot is one of the most scrutinized elements of any young player’s game in NBA history, and not without good cause. His peculiar shooting form drew curious stares while he was at UCLA, but it was difficult to argue with the 41.2% that he shot from 3-point range. His rookie season with the Los Angeles Lakers was a different story, where a hot stretch during the middle of the season was bookended by historically poor outside shooting.
The focus on his unconventional form will be greater than ever this season, as the addition of LeBron James brings an increased need for spot-up shooting and even more national attention to the Lakers.
Knee surgery interrupted Lonzo’s summer, but recent footage from his trainer, Darren Moore, had basketball-starved Laker fans going over the grainy footage to identify the apparent adjustments like it was the Zapruder film.
The Lakers Digital Team then saved our eyesight — and parts of our sanity — by tweeting crisp video of his jumper from a variety of angles. Let’s take a closer look at the adjustments that he appears to have made:
Lonzo’s jumper has a lot of moving parts to it — which would explain a good deal of his streakiness last season — but he appears to have simplified his gather. That leads to a more compact stroke that features a higher set point.
Many right-handed shooters bring the ball up their left side — often a sign of left-eye dominance — but few of them did it as severely or with the motion that Lonzo did. The recent footage of him is closer to the norm.
It takes time for the changes in a player’s jumper to become a habit. Coaches refer to “game slippage,” which is when players revert back to what they’re used to doing when they’re tired, under pressure, or otherwise impacted by the difference in game situations versus a practice environment. Lonzo will undoubtedly experience that during the 2018-19 season, but the subtle changes that he’s apparently made bode well for long-term improvement.