Lonzo Ball’s 15 assists vs. Celtics prove his status as a plus-point guard

Impressing through the halfway point of the 2019-2020 NBA season, Lonzo Ball is turning into one of the more impressive young point guards in the league.

I asked the question last week somewhat rhetorically if Lonzo Ball is actually good… we may need to consider this seriously now.

Lonzo Ball dropped a career-high 15 assists in a home victory over the Boston Celtics while also securing 6 rebounds and scoring 9 points to finish a +13 on the night.

Having watched his overall game closely live and later in review it only feels right to break down all of his assists from the win over Boston.

Assist 1

Lonzo Ball kicks the ball quickly to the wing for an open Jrue Holiday while the Celtics transition defense moves slowly. It creates a good three-point shot.

Assist 2

Lonzo gets the rock with Ingram, Williamson, and Redick forming a set where Redick spaces to the corner and Zion rolls to the rim. Nobody at the rim and an easy lob pass for Zion to complete.

Assist 3

This is what Pels fans can get used to. Lonzo Ball with the perfect inbound lob with Zion coming from the right elbow to finish the jam. Beautiful above the rim play.

Assist 4

Lonzo drives from the right wing after Derrick Favors sets the pick. He curls it into the corner for Ingram to take a high percentage, barely contested three-point shot. Good things happen when Ball gets into the paint.

Assist 5

Ball collects the rebound but this time moves slower up the floor while he surveys the Celtics defense. A simple pick from Favors gets E’Twaun Moore open on the right wing for another uncontested three-pointer.

Assist 6

The call comes early to Favors with the defense retreating. Ball drives to the rim at the top of the key which entices Daniel Theis to momentarily shift his focus towards him. Theis is then too slow to take the charge, Favors is rolling towards the bucket and gets the three-point play.

A high percentage, traditional point guard play which can be easily replicated.

Assist 7

A quick lob inside for Jrue Holiday with no protection at the rim. Super easy bucket to extend the lead to 22 points.

Assist 8

The fourth quarter begins and Lonzo shines once the Celtics get in striking distance. A simple screen from Zion and Redick has enough space for the mid-range jumper. Great execution.

Assist 9

The Pels had just blown two lay-ups and given up a three-point chance on the other end which gives New Orleans just a six-point cushion. Off the missed free throw Lonzo looks to move quickly in transition. He dribbles under the basket and waits for his teammates to get into position at the three-point line. More importantly, he is looking for JJ Redick, who sinks it at a vital time. The right play for the right shooter at a pivotal moment.

Assist 10

Brandon Ingram is driving to the basket and loses possession on the baseline. Lonzo comes from his spot in the corner, jumps out of bounds to save it and eyes off Zion Williamson while in mid-air who he finds at the top of the key for an easy lay-up to save the possession. Expert awareness and knowledge of his personnel.

Assist 11

Jrue Holiday begins the inbound series. Lonzo is stationed on the right wing with Josh Hart in the corner. A lack of urgency in the Celtics defense, a quick touch pass to the corner and Hart nails the three.

Assist 12

This was one of my personal favorites. Driving to the rim after the screen from Favors, Ball drops his left shoulder into Kemba Walker and curls it past Theis three feet from the rim and its an easy dunk for the big man. This is the aggression Lonzo has lacked in the past to drive into the paint consistently. If he continues this progression the floor will open up for his teammates.

Assist 13

The rebound falls into Lonzo’s lap and straight away he is pushing the ball quickly. Derrick Favors is wide open and its another perfect lob for the alley-oop. Sportscenter top 10 worthy play but again it’s the decisiveness of the play which makes it all the more pleasing.

Assist 14

The quick bucket for Zion was cut off so Lonzo re-possesses it. He posts up to Kemba Walker and looks left to Holiday who sets up behind the Ingram screen for a three-pointer which puts the lead back to 14 points. Nice patience on this play. The first option was cut off and Lonzo does a nice job to take his time and find another high percentage look.

Assist 15

Lonzo gets the ball on the fast break and spots the size mismatch in the key with Zion Williamson against Marcus Smart. Aggressive, simple and another high-quality shot for the rookie phenom and the game is over.

The best part about Lonzo’s play against Boston was it didn’t feel like it was low percentage play that can only be replicated if the team is feeling frisky. A lot of these baskets and sets are easily repeatable on a night-to-night basis. The next evolution of Ball’s game will be the much talked about jump shot and its consistency. He has shown with his new shot he has the ability to be at worst a league-average perimeter shooter. In recent weeks he has also developed a floater in the lane.

If he keeps developing his confidence with his shot-making to go with his improved overall play (averaging 9.1 assists per game in his last 10 starts) he will go a long way to become the player New Orleans wanted in the Anthony Davis trade.