There are certain players in league history that could succeed in any system. Players like Lebron James and Tim Duncan are examples, but there are many other players who are like puzzles and needed a change of scenery to unlock their true potential. These players were labeled as busts or were just simply not living up to their true potential until they found the team best suited for them.
Lonzo Ball is a perfect example player stated above. As a standout point guard at UCLA Lonzo had an outstanding year as a one and done. The hype surrounding Lonzo was almost unprecedented mostly due to the boisterous claims of his father, Lavar. In a collegiate season to remember Lonzo averaged 14.6 points 6 rebounds and 7.6 assists per game. He was a consensus All-American and was named Pac-12 Rookie of the Year. Due to his stellar play and his fathers urging, Lonzo was taken as the 2nd overall pick of the 2017 NBA Draft by the Los Angeles Lakers.
His rookie year started out rough and didn’t get too much better as the year chugged on. His first game was against one of the league’s premier defenders, Patrick Beverley who was determined to shutdown the hype. Ball recorded 3 points, 4 assists, and 9 rebounds on 16.7 percent field goal percentage. The rest of the year he would go on to average 10.2 points 7.2 assists and 6.9 rebounds per game. Injuries were a concern for him early as he played in only 52 games.
In his sophomore season, the arrival of Lebron James forced Lonzo to adjust to a new role. His numbers fell to 9.9 points per game, 5.4 assists and 5.3 rebounds with a 48.8 percent efficient field goal percentage. The injury bug yet again bit Lonzo, but this year it spared no one on the Lakers. Lonzo was held to 47 games, Lebron played in only 55 games and rising star Brandon Ingram played in only 52 games. This resulted in Lebron James missing the playoffs for the first time in his career since his sophomore season, this sparked trade rumors mostly centered around Pelicans star big man Anthony Davis.
During the off-season, the Lakers packaged Josh Hart, Brandon Ingram, and Lonzo for AD. This led to a new start for Lonzo away from the glitz and glamour of LA. Up to this point, Lonzo has had a career season averaging 12.4 points, 7 assists, and 5 rebounds while recording a career-high 52.3 efficient field goal percentage. His jump shot has visually improved and he’s more confident then ever. He’s now almost the undisputed primary ball handler which is something that wouldn’t happen playing next to the great Lebron James. The Pelicans and Lonzo have a bright future. With Lonzo and Brandon Ingram along with rookie phenom Zion Williamson, the Pelicans will be one of the more intriguing young teams in the near future.