- Lonzo Ball scored 23 points on 9-16 shooting and 3-5 from deep against the Jazz on Monday.
- Ball has improved is shooting in every season in his NBA career.
- The Pelicans have the second worst odds to win the Southwest Division at +900 at the BetOnline App.
The NBA trade deadline is just over one month away and one of the names that has been linked to a trade is Lonzo Ball.
The former number 2 overall pick by the Los Angeles Lakers is having a pretty decent second season in New Orleans. The 23-year old is averaging 14.8 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 5.2 assists per game for the Pelicans. But Ball is in the final year of his rookie contract and New Orleans may not yet be sure whether they are ready to make a commitment to Ball.
Trading Lonzo would be an option as for sure, he will generate good offers from other teams. If the Pelicans keep him after the trade deadline, they could end up having to pay him somewhere around $80M this summer to avoid losing him without getting anything in return. But while the Pelicans ponder, Ball’s improved shooting has made him a more valuable asset.
Lonzo’s Improved Shooting
Lonzo Ball in February:
Lonzo has improved his shooting every season since he entered the league. pic.twitter.com/tPXVPjkhvN
— StatMuse (@statmuse) February 21, 2021
Ball scored 23 points, grabbed 7 rebounds, issued 8 assists, and blocked two shots during Monday’s upset win over the Utah Jazz. But while the all-around brilliance is no surprise, Ball’s shooting was something. Lonzo shot 9-16 from the field of 56.3% abd 3-5 from deep or 60% while going 2-2 from the foul line. The shooting numbers are not spectacular by Seth Curry standards but coming from a guy like Ball, those are pretty impressive.
Lonzo’s shooting was the weakest part of his game as a rookie and that was largely to his awkward shooting style. But to his credit, Lonzo has improved his shooting every season since he entered the league. After 31 games played this season, Ball’s shooting splits are 43.3/39.7/77.5 His February numbers are even better at 45.5/45.9/84.6
As of March 2nd, Ball is one of only 10 players in the league shooting at 39% from behind the three point area while attempting at least 7.5 triples per contest. Since the start of February, his 45.9% three-point clip on 8.1 attempts per game is the highest percentage in the league at that volume over the period. If we lower the number of attempts to 6.5 per game, the likes of Jamal Murray, Paul George, Zach LaVine, and Joe Harris join Lonzo on the list.
Odds to win the Southwest Division
Dallas Mavericks -135
San Antonio Spurs +230
Memphis Grizzlies +800
New Orleans Pelicans +900
Houston Rockets +5000
— BetOnline.ag (@betonline_ag) March 1, 2021
Following their win over the league-leading Jazz on Monday, the Pelicans are still on the outside looking at the playoff picture. At 15-19, New Orleans is currently just the 11th ranked team in the Western Conference. However, they are just 3.5 games off the playoff pace and are only 4.5 games behind the 5th seeded Blazers in the playoff ladder.
New Orleans has the second worst odds to win the Southwest division at +900 via the BetOnline App, with Dallas (-135), San Antonio (+230), and Memphis (+800) having better odds than them. However, the Pelicans are only four games behind the current leaders Spurs and with plenty of game left to play, anything can still happen.
ESPN’s BPI playoff odds says that New Orleans has a 47% chance of making the playoffs, the 9th best chance among Western Conference teams. With a play-in tournament this season, the Pelicans can still enter the playoffs via the backdoor. A lot will depend though on what the Pelicans do before the trade deadline and that includes whether they trade Lonzo Ball or not. Either way, Ball has made himself more valuable with his improved three-point shooting.