New York Knicks: Series vs. Hawks proves need for Lonzo Ball

Lonzo Ball, Knicks. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports
Lonzo Ball, Knicks. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports /
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New York Knicks,
NY Knicks, Bradley Beal, Jalen Suggs, Lonzo Ball, Buddy Hield (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

New York Knicks: Lonzo Ball brings playmaking

The oldest Ball Brother has also played better than his numbers would imply when it comes to his shooting and playmaking. He shot slightly above league average from beyond the arc at 37.8%. The two positives in this? He did so on 8 attempts per game, which paints his percentage as great rather good. Then, it is important to consider Ball accomplished this while using a new jumper this year and shooting a percentage that is much better than his previous season numbers.

Lonzo shot 37.5% last season on 6 attempts, which sounds just as impressive, however when looking at his monthly shooting splits you can see he was very inconsistent. His final percentage was the benefit of a couple of scorching stretches but also hurt by cold ones. In 2020-21, he shot poorly for the first week of the season during just 5 December games and 10 games in January. He shot 29% and 34% respectively. Again, he was using a new jumper.

He quickly turned his shooting around by shooting 46% in February, and 36%, 34%, and 40% each month after. Not entirely great, but much more consistent and at the least respectable in comparison to his struggles of the past. Outside of 15 games, Ball’s jumpshot has finally looked promising.

The Knicks struggled to hit threes in the playoffs and weren’t a high-volume shooting team from deep all year. Having a guy in Ball who’s started to prove he can hit his three’s and at a large rate can be invaluable. Finally, Ball is one of the most incredibly gifted playmakers in the league. I likely don’t need to tell you that even if you’re a casual NBA fan. However, if you see Ball’s 5.7 assists per game average this year and you’re not impressed, let me make the following points.

The Knicks were lost in the playoffs without Randle playing at his best. Aside from Derrick Rose carrying the offense often in isolation, the team was unable to find a flow offensively with Randle unable to effectively play-make off the dribble. Adding Ball now gives New York an elite ball-handler to pair with Randle, who himself can be an elite passer most nights. Suddenly, opposing teams will have to struggle with controlling both players, especially if they can pair for a deadly pick-and-roll duo. Randle’s great three-point shooting can be further utilized with another guy who can be trusted to orchestrate.

Ball gets assists (and even triple-doubles sometimes, by the way) with ease. But, he plays with several ball-dominant players in NOLA. Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram, and Bledsoe all need the ball in the hands to be at their best, and they are also players that can be described as good to very good playmakers as well.

If Ball is given the keys to the Knicks offense, he can certainly average 7 APG at the least. He may not be top 25 in APG, but he’s undeniably top 5 in creativity, skill, and execution when it comes to distributing dimes.

The New York Knicks have eyed a starting point guard for a long time now. One of the players that has been brought up more and more to fill that role is Lonzo Ball. And after experiencing what went wrong against Atlanta in the playoffs, it should be clearer than ever that Ball would be a near-perfect plug-in option for the New York Knicks’ biggest holes all over the court.

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