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Lakers’ Lonzo Ball top-rated defensive point guard by one metric

Lonzo Ball, LeBron James

Los Angeles Lakers guard Lonzo Ball has received much criticism mostly for his awkward jump shot. However, critics have failed to see that Ball’s defensive game is quickly turning into elite-level defense.

As posted by Laker Film Room, Ball currently ranks first among point guards who play 25+ minutes per game, by defensive RPM:

In the list, Ball is the only rookie, which shows his incredible potential. In the years to come, it won’t be a surprise if he ends up in one of the All-NBA Defensive Teams and maybe even be crowned Defensive Player of the Year.

Even before stepping into the NBA, Ball was regarded as a superb offensive talent. He has not found his stride in the offensive end in his first year. But his defense is certainly worth talking about.

Lakers reporter Joey Ramirez also shared that Ball leads the league in both steals (2.6) and deflections (4.3) for the month of March. Here’s a clip of his defensive highlights:

Aside from the statistics and advanced metrics, Lakers head coach Luke Walton has observed Lonzo’s defense with his own eyes. Per Josh Martin of Lonzo Wire:

“Guys want to get out and run, and we know to get out and run we have to get deflections and steals and get stops, and 3. Zo is a pretty good darn defender himself, so he anticipates great, he gets deflections, he uses his length to challenge shots,” Walton explained.

“What he brings to the team and individually as a defender has been a big bonus for us since he’s been back.”