Zion Williamson is officially a Pelican after the NBA Draft and we look at the roster after the Anthony Davis trade and there is Lonzo Ball. But how is that going to work? #Zion #Lonzo #NBA
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Yeah Zion is now a Pelican. What a surprise. Lavar Ball had a field day with Lonzo Ball being traded. He said it was the worst move the Lakers ever did, wow. But now we have a pairing of some of the most hyped up prospects ever in Zion Williamson and Lonzo Ball. The Pelicans are no doubt focusing their entire rebuilding effort around Zion Williamson and with Lonzo you get a lot of good and bad. Zion’s first year is going to be important because there’s a lot of pressure because the expectations put on his shoulders, his massive, huge, gigantic He’s a monster.
A rookie year is not everything in an NBA career, but with the hype like Zion, it’s important for his image that he doesn’t have a bad rookie year. Just so you know, Zion is 6’ 7” 285. I wanna get the obvious thing out of the way first because Duke was criticized for not having enough shooting around Zion, Lonzo is not a good shooter, but that doesn’t mean he’ll hurt spacing. Lonzo doesn’t stand in the post and defenders don’t drop down to the free throw line when he has the ball. Lonzo doesn’t command respect from 3, but you also don’t just leave him alone either. As you can see, defenses often times do a little quick help on the drive and return back onto Lonzo without completely helping.
Zion likes the ball on the low post, as a cutter from the wing, and from the top of the 3 point line. He likes to have space to accelerate to take advantage of explosive speed. He also likes to do a large hop step into the paint, similar to how Derrick Rose in his prime used to hop step into the paint at very different angles into the paint and then use his insane vertical leap to finish over and through the contact mainly with the left.
But Zion has more scoring positions than just that, he is both a great roller and a great ball handler for the pick and roll and that’s sets him apart from most small forwards/power forwards. He led all of college basketball in points per possession as the ball handlers in a pick and roll at 1.5 points per possessions. Zion also really likes fast breaks. Like a lot. He grabs the rebound and he’s out or he’s running as soon as his team gets the ball.
That being said he isn’t some amazing ball handler with moves, he’s good for his size. He hasn’t developed the Giannis or LeBron sense of running a team and because of his lack of a jump shot, he is completely relying on the fact that he’s bigger, stronger, faster, and a higher jumper than everyone else.
Now Lonzo Ball is finally away from the chaos of the Lakers. He had the world put on his shoulders, his tinier shoulders and now he’s also away from Luke Walton who played him sporadically and seemed like he didn’t show enough faith in Lonzo.
For one, the transition offense with Zion and Lonzo would be scary. Like I said in my video on why the Lakers were losing without Lonzo Ball, the Lakers went from 1st in the league in fast break frequency with Lonzo Ball healthy to 27th in the league without Lonzo. They also dropped from 12th in steals to 30th. We all know Lonzo’s passing in the fast break and Zion’s finishing, so that could be special.
Lonzo is also a guy who is good with setting screens. Like I mentioned before, Zion is an adept pick and roll ball handler. Especially with Zion spending a good amount of time as the power forward, he would need a guy to be his screener that’s not a weaker Brandon Ingram or the smaller Jrue Holiday, and that can be Lonzo Ball who has shown he can do that for LeBron. If the defense decides to switch on the pick, they would be putting a smaller, much lighter player on Zion that would be an easy mismatch.
On top of that, Lonzo is great at feeding guys in the positions they want to be in, especially into the low post and cutters. He’s great at identifying when his teammate is about to cut and also where they need the ball that puts it away from the defender. Keep in mind that he did play a decent part of the season with LeBron James who, when he didn’t have the ball, was either taking the possession off or going into the post or cutting. The main thing about Lonzo’s passing is that it’s rhythm based.
Defensively, Lonzo Ball was the BEST PERIMETER DEFENDER in the NBA according the player index. That’s no joke and what that means is that Lonzo and Zion can easily switch on defensive assignments making it an easier defensive transition if Zion has difficulty guarding on-ball. Jrue Holiday will also help with this, but Lonzo being one inch shorter and able to bother players in the post and lockdown perimeter players.