Magic Johnson: Lonzo Ball Ready for Breakout Season After Tweaking Shot

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured ColumnistSeptember 21, 2018

Los Angeles Lakers guard Lonzo Ball, right, attempts a shot ahead of Denver Nuggets forward Paul Millsap during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Los Angeles, Tuesday, March 13, 2018. (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo)
Kelvin Kuo/Associated Press

Los Angeles Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson believes second-year point guard Lonzo Ball is primed for a breakout season after he refined his shooting mechanics over the summer. 

According to ESPN.com's Ohm Youngmisuk, Johnson told reporters Thursday that Ball's new shot looks "beautiful." 

The Lakers legend said: 

"We explained that this is going to be the most important offseason, and while he could be on the court, his shot looked great. He is going to be ready to have a breakout season and build on what he did last season, because it was only a couple of things he had to do better, and that was driving to the basket, finish and get the midrange in terms of getting his shot where he is on balance."

Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka co-signed Johnson's assessment:

"I think his shot looks incredible. He was here every day. He was one of the most committed guys this offseason. ... The way he's shooting the ball looks a lot more fluid now.

One of the things about his college metrics is he was an outstanding 3-point shooter. With this team, with so many different ball handlers, I think that's a strength for him. If he pushes it ahead to someone and runs and fills a spot, and he's a catch-and-shoot player, he's going to have the ability, I think, to be a good shooter."

Ball, who shot 41.2 percent from three during his lone season at UCLA, wasn't nearly as successful at finding the bottom of the net as a rookie.

In 52 games, the 2017 No. 2 overall pick swished 36.0 percent of his total field-goal attempts, including 30.5 percent from distance. He was also a woeful 45.1 percent shooter at the free-throw line and converted just 33.7 percent of his catch-and-shoot opportunities from beyond the arc, according to NBA.com's player-tracking data

On the medical front, Pelinka disclosed Ball has been "100 percent cleared" to return to full basketball activities after he underwent offseason surgery to address a torn meniscus in his left knee, per Lakers.com's Mike Trudell

However, Pelinka cautioned the Lakers will ease Ball along through training camp since he was sidelined throughout the summer. 

"Because he hasn't played NBA five-on-five for four or five months, there is a progression to come back."

Ball and the Lakers will tip off their 2018-19 season Oct. 18 against the Portland Trail Blazers. 

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