The New Orleans Pelicans have some big decisions to make in the offseason but none looms larger than the future of Lonzo Ball.
Lonzo Ball has had an up and down season, looking every bit the part of the complementary piece to Zion Williamson at times, and at others looking like a guy who is probably not worth the $20 million per season contract he seeks.
Lonzo is still very young and has not yet reached his ceiling, but the question is whether that is going to happen in New Orleans or somewhere else.
He will enter restricted free agency this offseason and there are a number of teams who appear to be interested, so the Pels could have competition for his services.
When they are considering what offer to make, one thing that will hurt Lonzo Ball’s case is how he has disappeared at the end of the last two seasons.
New Orleans Pelicans: Lonzo Ball’s late-season woes
Last season, Lonzo Ball had a very public meltdown in the Orlando bubble, playing some of his worst basketball of the season and taking a lot of flack for it from the fans.
People expected the Pelicans to emerge from the bubble with a playoff spot. They didn’t and a lot of the blame was put on Lonzo.
Just like last season, Lonzo Ball got red hot in this one, putting together his best stretch of basketball as a professional and looking like the perfect type of player to put next to Zion Williamson.
But also like last season, Lonzo has fallen apart down the stretch, this time being derailed by an injury and not looking like the same guy since he has returned.
Lonzo has only played in six of the last ten games and is shooting just 37 percent in them, including just 32 percent from the 3-point line.
This has brought his overall 3-point average down to 37 percent and is only that high due to a red-hot streak he had where he was shooting over 50 percent.
Whether it is through injury, poor play or just plain bad luck, Lonzo Ball has not been good down the stretch the last two seasons, which has to be a concern for the Pelicans.
Can he play a whole season? Is Lonzo Ball too injury prone to commit to a long-term contract?
These are questions the New Orleans Pelicans will have to answer this offseason, which will be a crucial one for the growth of the franchise.