We look at an area where Lonzo Ball‘s unique motion could be a benefit
Lonzo Ball is the most talked about prospect in the draft this year because of his size, length, ability to see the floor, shoot deep threes and of course, his father. The one area many people seem unsure about is his ability to score in the NBA, considering in college he averages 14.6 points per game on really good efficiencies. Can he be a go-to guy for a franchise contributing more than 20 points per game on a consistent basis?
He doesn’t have any blow by ability nor the creativity in his dribble moves to get past defenders consistently and finish at the hole, or force players out of position to draw fouls in the act of shooting. He doesn’t have the constant ability to create his own shot either from three or the mid range, probably a negative caused by his shooting form.
However, the positive attributes that Lonzo offers are his length and size, which is going to be a massive factor to assist him to score in the NBA. He will be able to exploit matchups against smaller point guards and be capable of shooting over them while finishing at the rim better than the average point guard, shooting 78.9% at the rim in his collegiate career (according to hoop-math.com).
Lonzo has an extremely unusual shooting form as most people are aware. His position of the ball goes over his left shoulder and in front of his left side of his face, which is unusual for a right-handed player. However, Lonzo’s point of release on his shot is reasonably high but doesn’t have the quickest shot release. Shot release quickness is something that can change slightly over time. In Lonzo’s shot, the ball has to cover a reasonable amount of distance until the shot is released and as a result, he may struggle to get shots off in the mid range with players within a close proximity.
His length, height, questionable and unique shooting form could help him develop some dominant post moves and a good in-general post game. With his unusual shooting form, he could benefit with the use of post fadeaways and the Dirk Nowitzki’s face-up/side fade away because of where the ball is positioned during his shot release. The main objective in this theoretical post game is to get his left shoulder as far away from the defender and basket. In the back to the basket post fade away he will use his right foot as his pivot foot and fade to the baseline on the left side of the court and fade to the inside on the right side of the court. With the Dirk face-up fade away, he will use his left foot as the pivot and his body will be almost parallel with the trajectory of the projected shot, with his left shoulder furthest away from the basket and defender. Then he will lift his right knee to create space between the defender as the ball is released over his left shoulder.
Also, another positive of shooting over his left shoulder is his elbow being further away and higher up from the body than a normal shooting form, which allows a lot of arm exposure and real estate for defenders to slap his arm, resulting in fouls.
If he develops these moves and becomes more efficient with them this will add a major strength to his game opening up other avenues of his post game. Players will be more likely to fall for fakes if he has a dominant go-to move, opening up closer to the basket opportunities, where his length will become an important factor. Developing a jump hook will be important to be able to shoot over players close to the basket. His 78.9% shooting at the rim (according to hoop-math.com) has shown that his length helps him finish at the rim. He needs to understand how to utilize shot fakes and jabs in the post and how defenses will react.
Based on Lonzo’s shooting form and his current limitations in scoring the basketball, this is a possible way he can add some versatility to his game and score at a higher rate, with his current skill set and physical attributes. If a team that drafts Lonzo doesn’t invest into his development of his post game it will never exist.