Philadelphia 76ers Draft Prospect: Lonzo Ball of UCLA
The Philadelphia 76ers will be evaluating potential draft picks again this year prior to the 2017 NBA Draft. Point Guard Lonzo Ball is a possible pick.
The Philadelphia 76ers have not been too shabby considering they only won 10 total games last season. Last year’s benchmark has already been passed, and they still have nearly a half season left. So, not to sound like i have no faith in our Sixers, but this win streak as of late will ultimately balance out at some point. The Sixers are playing very well with a friendly schedule that front loaded home games. With the possibility of the Lakers pick and the right to switch for Sacramento’s pick, they will still be in the running for a top ten lottery pick this summer.
Lonzo Ball, playing his freshman year of basketball for the UCLA Bruins is a nice Point Guard that the Sixers should give a look at. Ball has been ranked all over the mock draft charts ranging anywhere in the top 10, depending on who you ask.
SB Nation’s Chad Ford, in a mock draft conducted in early January, has Lonzo Ball projected to go to the Celtics (via Nets pick) at number 2 overall. In a Hoops Hype mock draft, Ball was also projected to go to the Sixers at number 2 overall. I guess it really comes down to where the Sixers finish in the standing at the seasons end and how the balls bounce in the NBA Draft Lottery.
So let’s assume that Lonzo Ball is still on the board when the Sixers make their pick, whatever number it might be. What are we in store for with Lonzo Ball on the floor alongside Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid? Well, to start, they may have two of the most gifted young passers in the NBA in Ball and Simmons. But what else does Ball add to the mix?
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Lonzo Ball is 6-6, with very solid height and length at the point guard position. Ball, as i said earlier, is an excellent passer with outstanding vision. In 35 minutes of play he is currently averaging 8.2 assists per game at UCLA. He is also only averaging 2.3 turnovers per game, a decent assist to turnover ratio.
So even as a young player, he is showing that he can take care of the ball, though at times, he can be turnover prone as he will throw flashy passes trying to make home-run plays.
Ball is also more of a combo guard than a true point guard. So, with Ball and Simmons on the floor together, there shouldn’t be an issue with who does more of the ball handling. Most likely, their minutes will be staggered, so there will always be a primary ball handler on the floor without relying too much on their guard reserves.
At his size, Ball will rebound very well for a guard. Currently he averages 6.3 rebounds per 40 minutes pace adjusted. He likes to throw outlet passes too, just like Ben Simmons. With the combination of these two players on the floor, we should see a lot of fast breaks and transition scoring in the 76ers future.
Ball has an unusual looking shot but it gets tons of rotation and is mostly accurate. He is a good perimeter shooter, best when shooting in rhythm and even has 3-point range. He is currently averaging 14.9 points per game and shoots 43 percent from 3-point land in the PAC12.
On the defensive end, Ball has excellent instincts. He may be thin, but his size, length, and quickness will give opposing guards trouble. Ball has a knack for playing the passing lanes and forcing turnovers. At UCLA he has been averaging 3.6 steals and 2.5 blocks per 40 minutes.
Overall, Ball could fit nicely in the Sixers back-court. He’ll provide some much needed versatility, as he’s a multi-skilled Swiss Army knife. With work, Ball could be an excellent lead guard for years to come in the NBA.