Nuggets players shot 4-21 with Lonzo Ball as primary defender
In the summer of 2017, the Los Angeles Lakers drafted UCLA point guard Lonzo Ball to become their point guard of the future. It was clear from the jump that Ball wasn’t going to dominate the offense or show off his incredible athleticism. Frankly, Ball can’t do any of those things. The Lakers drafted Ball to be their floor general and their point guard of the future. So far, Ball has done just that.
This season, Ball is averaging 10.4 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 7.0 assists. His shooting percentages have been abysmal this season. Ball has shot 36 percent from the field and 32 percent from the field. Despite his offensive deficiencies, there is an important area where Ball thrives in. As it turns out, the Big Baller is an excellent defender. In fact, against the Denver Nuggets, the opposing team shot 4-21 with Ball as the primary defender.
Lonzo Ball was a menace on defense last night.
Zo also had 9 defensive rebounds, 7 deflections, 3 steals and 2 blocks. pic.twitter.com/mhBw83C5jF
— Joey Ramirez (@JoeyARamirez) March 14, 2018
This is an interesting metric. Gary Harris, Will Barton, and Jamal Murray are some of Denver’s most talented scorers. Against an efficient offensive team, Ball’s defensive performance is noteworthy, even if its a small sample size. Though Ball’s defensive prowess has been well documented. Lakers head coach Luke Walton credited his point guard for being a defensive stalwart earlier in the season, per LonzoWire’s Josh Martin.
“Just Zo being back, 1. for the way that he pushes and gets everyone involved, 2. 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.
Ball’s defense is definitely a huge bonus for the Lakers. Even if Ball’s offensive capabilities are deplorable, his defense makes him a rare commodity in the league.