This is going to be a hard pill to swallow for Lonzo stans, but LaMelo is already better.
The Charlotte Hornets struck gold when they selected LaMelo Ball with the third pick in last year’s NBA draft. The rookie guard has exploded onto the NBA scene, averaging 12.2 PPG to go along with 5.9 rebounds and 6.1 assists off the bench for Charlotte up to this point in the season.
LaMelo was just recently promoted to a starting role after serving as a bench player to begin the year. He has showcased an array of flashy passes, athletic dunks, and precision three-point shots early on in his rookie campaign. He also messed around and became the youngest player in NBA history to record a triple-double back in January.
There were many concerns about whether LaMelo’s game would transition from the ABL to the NBA before the draft. With that being said, Michael Jordan has to feel like he nailed this pick by taking Ball.
The kid can play, and fans of his older brother, Lonzo, have been put on notice. Debates about whether LaMelo is already better than Lonzo have been heating up as the youngest Ball brother continues his rise to NBA stardom.
Let’s break this down.
Lonzo Ball, while being uniquely talented as a facilitator and playmaker, sort of reminds me of Hermey from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. He shows great passion for his craft, but wherever he goes, he just never seems to fit in. I mean, think about it, LeBron was marking the days on his calendar until he could get Lonzo shipped out of L.A., and after getting dumped off to the Pelicans, a no-name franchise, even they now have publicized their desire to send the former second overall pick packing.
The saddest reality of it all? Lonzo deserves it. He has significantly underperformed during his stints with both the Lakers and Pelicans. His inconsistent shooting from the perimeter has barely improved, and his raw athleticism is just not making up for the fact that he can not get his own shot in the NBA (like LaMelo can). Lonzo is averaging just 12.6 points per game this year, and his career-lows in both rebounds and assists have his NBA stock trending downward.
Look, LaMelo is going through rookie shooting struggles just like Lonzo did early on in his career. However, the main distinction any basketball fan can make between the two is that LaMelo is already better at creating his own shot off the dribble. Lonzo has made few improvements to his isolation game since entering the league back in 2017.
Watch LaMelo create space and get into his bag, with his own big bro guarding him.
I am yet to believe that Lonzo can create the same type of offense for his team, and this is probably because he never does it. LaMelo does. He possesses the offensive confidence that Lonzo has yet to add to his repertoire. This is the main reason why LaMelo is able to create instant offense, while Lonzo is not.
LaMelo has also had several games this season in which he has showcased his ability to be a lethal three-point shooter in the modern NBA. The same can not be said for Lonzo, who never showed flashes of being a shooter during his rookie year. Instead, Lonzo seems to still be going through his rookie shooting struggles almost halfway through his fourth NBA season.
LaMelo is already better at playmaking than Lonzo is as well. His ability to find both the shot he likes and open teammates in iso situations is something Lonzo has been lacking throughout his career. Lonzo is a pass-first point guard who can not score on his own.
Final Verdict: LaMelo > Lonzo
Both the statistics and the eye test prove that LaMelo Ball is already a better NBA player than Lonzo Ball is. But will the Lonzo stans ever accept that as the truth? Doubtful.
I will admit that I still want Lonzo traded to the Knicks, despite my criticism. Watching the Elfrid Payton experiment play out has been making me lose sleep at night.
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