The day has finally arrived. Anthony Davis is no longer a part of the New Orleans Pelicans. Now we look forward to an overwhelmingly bright future. Let’s look at one player in the trade package, in particular, Lonzo Ball.
Quick disclaimer: The Pelicans are currently looking for a suitor for the 4th overall selection, this article would be rather awkward if Zo was a part of any trade made. Here’s hoping that isn’t the case, but the NBA can be really wild at times, so who knows. If he isn’t, the New Orleans Pelicans have their point guard of the future.
Lonzo Ball has struggled offensively thus far in the NBA, you can’t refute that. He’s a little too passive at times, doesn’t utilize his athleticism and size enough on the offensive end, and settles for three-point looks frequently. However, he’s 21-years-old, he just concluded his sophomore season, his career is just starting.
Before going down with an injury against the Rockets in Houston, Zo was arguably playing the best basketball of his young career. His impact that game was instrumental to the Lakers obtaining a double-digit lead. He had 11 assists, one block, one steal, 8 points and was +15 in the nearly 22 minutes of action he saw. When he went down in the third, the Lakers were up 15, they ended up losing that game in overtime.
I understand that’s just one game, and the sample size may favor my argument, but he was looking much more aggressive before his “BBB” shoes failed him. His final six games before the injury he averaged 13.8 points, 7.6 assists, 7.0 rebounds, and 1.8 steals on 40 percent from the field.
At worst, he’s an elite defender and an amazing player out in transition. The tandem of him and Jrue Holiday will terrorize opposing backcourts, then you throw in Zion playing centerfield, that’s a dynamic looking defense.
Lonzo throwing lobs out in transition after Holiday pokes the ball loose? Yeah, I’m okay with that. He isn’t a polished product as I mentioned, the shot does need work, but he’s not the first player to enter the NBA with a “broken jumper”.
Names like Jimmy Butler, Jason Kidd, and Kawhi Leonard all had below average shooting abilities in the early stages of their career but worked on their mechanics and progressed as time went along. Brook Lopez didn’t make a three until his 9th season in the NBA, he finished 17th last year in three-point makes. The point being: shooting can be taught, defensive intensity and basketball I.Q can’t.
Lonzo has both of those aforementioned attributes. And with the addition of the former second overall pick, it allows Jrue Holiday to play his preferred position, which is at the 2. Alvin Gentry has already voiced his excitement for a potential backcourt of Lonzo Ball and Jrue Holiday as well.
He’s still in the maturation process but has a better opportunity to do so organically without the pressure of having LeBron James as his teammate. In Los Angeles, the expectations were sky high. But in New Orleans, he gets to play alongside youthful talent without the pressure of contending for a title.
The Anthony Davis era was rough, Dell Demps and the powers at be wanted to rush things and contend immediately. It was never constructed for sustained success, the same could be said about how Griffin was forced to orchestrate a roster in Cleveland with James’ return back home. Now both the Pelicans and Griffin have a chance to build something organically, and it’s awesome.