The number one question regarding Lonzo Ball (beyond his health) and his fit alongside LeBron James with the Los Angeles Lakers is his ability to shoot the ball. His shooting style has been a lightning rod for criticism given how unorthodox it is, but Steve Nash — only one of the greatest shooters in the history of basketball — thinks Ball can figure it out.
Nash appeared on Bill Simmons’ podcast recently and had a ton of nice things to say about Lonzo, with whom he’s worked out before, starting with that jumper.
“I guess the questions that I had about him were, are the mechanics on his shot going to hinder him? I think he’s made enough shots that he can be a good stand-still shooter, a catch and shoot guy, which is super important. I wouldn’t be surprised if he develops.”
“I also worried a little bit about his motor, and I think more of that is because he is a bit of a team guy. You give and you take. I’ve also seen plenty of games where his defensive energy is outstanding.”
Simmons then dropped quite the prediction.
“I think he has a chance to be a first team all defense point guard.”
Nash quickly agreed.
“Why not, he’s long, he’s got that fight.”
There really isn’t much to question regarding Lonzo’s defense. He played about as well on that end as you can hope for as a rookie and (health permitting) is as promising as any young player we’ve seen in recent years at that position on that side of the court.
Nash’s points about Ball’s shot are what interest me here. Specifically, how he alludes to repetition.
Shooting is an imperfect science. Would the likelihood of Lonzo developing an elite shot improve if his mechanics resembled those of Klay Thompson? Sure. But that doesn’t mean he has no hope at improving no matter how hard he tries. To become a consistent shooter, you have to develop a repetitive jumper. So long as Lonzo remains consistent from the ground up and his shot has consistent arc with his slightly reworked form, he has a chance.
Really, that’s all the Lakers need. As Simmons and Nash agree, Lonzo has the potential to be truly special on the defensive end. If he can become league average offensively, he quickly becomes a net-positive player, which is the entire point.
More important than anything, though, is Lonzo’s health. Please get and stay healthy.