The REAL Reason Why The Lakers Keep LOSING Without Lonzo Ball (Ft. LeBron, NBA Defense, Good Shots)
Lonzo Ball went down with an injury that was disregarded. And the Lakers weren’t too hot. So I think it’s time we talked about the Lonzo Ball impact. #NBA #Lonzo #Lakers Instagram- @MJ2K_ALLDAY
The Lakers are on a 5 game losing streak and have just been a disappointment. Just don’t get me started. Since Lonzo has gotten injured, the Lakers are 6-14 and even with LeBron returning in the lineup, without Lonzo, the Lakers have been 4-10 versus the 25-22 with Lonzo Ball.
Alright cheap shots aside, the Lakers have really missed Lonzo Ball offensively and defensively. Yes I said offensively which I will get into. LeBron called him “a huge piece.” The Lakers went from 7th in defensive rating in the 47 games Lonzo played to 30th or the worst defensive team in the NBA in the 19 games he’s missed. Can the man get some credit? And LeBron has not helped. Just some defense man, please. Basketball Index Grades Lonzo as the best perimeter defender out of all guards in the league. Let that soak in, best perimeter defender. Best. PERIMETER Defender. It’s not just some tough defense. If you think Lonzo’s impact only went as far as guarding his man, think again because he was everywhere on the court. The best defense you can play is if you don’t let the offensive player get comfortable and if you can keep the ball in play while doing so. You can see that on most of these possessions, Lonzo’s defense leads to a fast break that he can initiate. The Lakers were 1st in the league in fast break frequency when Lonzo was playing, but now are 27th.
Even the Lakers rebounding has struggled, going from 13th in the league at 50.6% rebounding percentage to 27th in the league 48.4%. Yeah, that slight difference in percentage of 2.2% is also the difference between 1st and 15th in rebounding and Lonzo’s rebounding for a guard was always important to the Lakers to initiate the offense.
So what about offense? Well, Lonzo has actually been really effective when he’s gotten more minutes. You would expect his numbers to go up because he’s out there longer, but what stands out is that his efficiency actually goes up. When Lonzo plays 30-39 minutes which is over 20 games, he shoots 46% from the field and 42.9% from 3 with a net rating of 5.9. Yeah, he’s actually a solid 3 point shooter. 26% from the free throw line though. Wow. In fact, in the games without LeBron, Lonzo averaged 12.5 points per game, 7.2 assists, and 5.9 rebounds while shooting 42% from the field and 37% from 3. There were games like the game in Sacramento
.0 in which he almost had a triple double with 20, 12, and 9 or the game against OKC in which he had 18, 10, and 6. Lonzo’s inconsistent minutes, from playing 22 minutes some nights to 37 minutes other nights really is not conducive for a guy to get into an offensive rhythm and that falls on the coaching a.k.a Luke Walton. LaVar Ball was right. And that is what’s sort of held Lonzo back from reaching higher. You could really see in his last 4 games including the game he got injured early in the third quarter against the Rockets, Lonzo was becoming more and more like UCLA Lonzo, averaging 14.5 points and 9 assists. On top of that, Lonzo had 8 points and 11 assists in that Rockets game while the Lakers were up 15. He got injured and the Lakers lost by 4. Ingram said that it all went downhill when Lonzo got injured. For being a non-scoring LeBron teammate and without good shooting around them, what he’s doing is pretty good. Lonzo would be super effective with a bunch of shooters around him, similar to LeBron. LeBron has went out of his way to praise Lonzo Ball, dubbing him the “Young King”. Both of them have such a high basketball IQ and so that was the main reason I made a video detailing Why Lonzo Ball is playing better and LeBron had a lot to do with that because he was actually instilling confidence in Lonzo. LeBron has gotten further removed from the team with all the trade talks and his style of leadership, but Lonzo’s confidence has dropped down since UCLA, whether it’s been all the media talk or the lack of belief in him, or just not being ready to take all the pressure his dad put on him. It seemed like he was getting it back again right when he got injured.
But either way Lonzo’s impact on the team is undeniable and the Lakers are at their best with LeBron and Lonzo playing together. They actually looked like a playoff team with both of them on the court. The Lakers best lineup was with Lonzo, LeBron, Kuz, Hart, and McGee with a net rating of 15 in 15 games played. Now that we won’t get to see Lonzo for the rest of the season, it was important to revisit Lonzo’s impact, offensively and defensively. But what do you think? Will Lonzo Ball take the next step next season? Will he get traded?