Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

Lonzo Ball might be a better three-point shooter than your favorite NBA player

Lonzo Ball is now a threat from three-point range.
Lonzo Ball is now a threat from three-point range.
Image: Getty Images

Remember when we all made fun of Lonzo Ball’s shot?

If we’re being honest, from the form, to the audacity, to the results, it earned all the jokes. But now, Ball’s gained the ability to laugh at everyone else. In a graphic created by StatMuse, it was revealed that Ball has not only developed as a three-point shooter, but he’s currently better than many fan-favorite snipers around the NBA.

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“Wait, Ball is a better shooter than Devin Booker? Trae Young? Bradley Beal?! That doesn’t even sound right?” It doesn’t sound right when you say it aloud to yourself, but it is so. More importantly, Ball is no longer bending his elbow sideways and flailing his arm from across his face to seemingly blind him from eyeing the rim.

This season, Ball is having a career-year from three, draining 38.7 percent from deep on 7.8 attempts per contest. In fact, 62.6 percent of his field-goal attempts have come from beyond the arc, which is a new personal best tally but also highlights his new level of comfortability. As a rookie, even with a broken form, Ball shot 295 threes to 269 twos, but he only hit 30.5-percent from deep. The transformation of Ball’s form and production from downtown accelerated last season in his first go-round with the New Orleans Pelicans, where his elbow no longer led to a self-face crossover, and he drilled home 37.5-percent. (He also attempted 395 threes to 292 twos.)

Now, he’s tightened his form even further, quickening his release and becoming a terrific shooter from three. In 33 appearances this season, Ball has made at least three three-pointers in 19 games, which includes five games of five or more and a recent 7-for-13 display against the Milwaukee Bucks.

On his own team, which includes JJ Redick and Brandon Ingram, Ball is shooting a club-high percentage (unless you count Sindarius Thornwell and his 50 percent on six attempts). Even though 38.7 percent is generally a solid tally, it places Ball in a tie for 73rd (with Carmelo Anthony and Kawhi Leonard), but it still ranks him in the top 15th percentile of players (if you include two-ways) in the NBA. And outside of the crew StatMuse outlined — Booker, Young, Beal, Luka Doncic, LeBron James, and Jayson Tatum — Ball’s also ahead of other notable names. An expanded list would include Damian Lillard, Fred VanVleet, Donovan Mitchell, Kemba Walker, and his brother, LaMelo Ball.

But at 99 made threes, Lonzo ranks 14th in the league. And perhaps most importantly for him, he’s demonstrated himself to be a lethal threat in a facet of the game that previously challenged him just in time for (restricted) free agency, which he’s headed for this summer. Though it’s not expected to be a loaded-class, the 23-year-old Ball could still find himself a healthy contract extension, perhaps in the four-year, $80 million range, for example.

I mean, after all, have you seen some of these other NBA contracts?