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It’s time to buy-low on Lonzo Ball in fantasy basketball

Ball has been the point of much negative chatter around the NBA, but does he deserve it?

Getty Images/Pete Rogers Illustrations

Lonzo Ball has been the point of much chatter around the NBA so far this season. With his brother LaMelo Ball becoming a sensation with the Charlotte Hornets, and Lonzo himself seemingly struggling to star the year, it has led a lot of people to talk about the future of the oldest Ball brother with the New Orleans Pelicans.

Pete and I mentioned Lonzo Ball in this week’s The Long 2 podcast, so I thought we’d take a quick look at his numbers this year.

In 21 games, Ball is averaging 13.9 points—shooting 37% from 3 on 7.4 3-point attempts—4.4 rebounds, 4.7 assists, and 1.3 steals in 30.7 minutes.

Who else is doing that in the NBA this year? Fred VanVleet, Kyle Lowry, Maestro Dame Lillard, Jayson Tatum, Zach LaVine, Paul George, and Steph Curry. So, that’s pretty good company.

This year, 27 NBA players are taking 7+ 3PA per game, and Lonzo is the fourth youngest player on that list. He’s shooting 3s better than Buddy Hield, by the way. Lonzo is also the fourth youngest player to average 4+ RPG, 4+ APG, and 1+ SPG (Tatum, Luka Doncic, and LaMelo Ball are younger than ‘Zo).

Lonzo’s true shooting percentage has improved in each year of his four-year career, which seems crucial to me for a young distributor with a suspect shot. His three point percentage was 30% his rookie year, and has also risen each season. His offensive game is getting better, slowly but surely.

Lonzo had a dreadful December shooting the ball, shooting 39% from the field and 28% from 3. But those numbers have greatly improved throughout the season so far and in the month of February, Ball is shooting 48% from the field and a staggering 51% from 3 (still attempting over 7 3s per game). Fantasy-wise, he’s been a top 80 player on ESPN basic for the season.

Whether he’s a trade target or not, Lonzo’s proved that he’s a good and IMPROVING young player, who can do things that few others can. He may not have the highlights of his younger brother, but he’s certainly a valuable NBAer. His shooting slumps color our perception of him to an unfair degree, I think. If you stand back and look at his trajectory, all signs point to up. The Pelicans shouldn’t be quick to sell him, and in fantasy, I think you should be buying him cheap where you can before the stench of his start of the year wears off.