DimeMag

Could Lonzo Ball’s Rehabilitated Jump Shot Signal A Breakout Season?

The inevitable tell-all book about LeBron’s first season with the Lakers is destined to become a canonical text for future generations of fans and media alike. The entire campaign doubled as a year-long audition, of sorts, to find out who was capable of playing and thriving alongside LeBron for the foreseeable future, which was a tremendous amount of pressure for a group of young and largely unproven players. It’s little surprise it ended in shambles.

The on-court struggles were bad enough. There was LeBron, visibly frustrated at various points, his body language unable to conceal his growing contempt with the whole situation, as the sum of the team’s parts were never quite able to add up to anything substantial. That was compounded by a plague of injuries, the disastrous trade negotiations with New Orleans, and the ensuing internal strife among Lakers brass that eventually led to Magic Johnson’s stunning departure.

Freighted with the knowledge that they were all dangled as trade bait, the Lakers’ young core wilted in the second half of the season and was mercifully eliminated from playoff contention before any further harm could be inflicted. But with some much-needed airspace between the offseason and the trade deadline debacle — and new leadership on both sides — the organizations were finally able to execute the Anthony Davis trade and usher in a new era for their respective franchises, not to mention a fresh start for a slew of young players left hanging in the balance.

Perhaps more than anybody, Lonzo Ball was badly in need of a change of scenery. The Los Angeles media had been unrelenting in its scrutiny of Ball’s every move through his first two NBA seasons, thanks to a pompous and domineering family patriarch, a comically and, it turns out, fraudulently mismanaged shoe and apparel company, and a universally-maligned jump shot whose aesthetic qualities only a mother could appreciate.

The latter, it appears from recent videos, has undergone a full-scale deconstruction and reassembly this summer.

Until now, there had been two schools of thought on the matter. Camp 1 argued that he didn’t need to change his technique, he just needed to be more consistent, while Camp 2 believed that it was fundamentally flawed and needed to be rebuilt from the ground up.

Ball has long been reluctant to alter his form, despite only nominal progress in accuracy and efficiency through his first two seasons. He shot 40 percent from the field and 32.9 percent from downtown last year, each just a couple of ticks higher than his rookie season, and neither befitting the elite point guard status to which he aspires.

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