This edition of Five Questions comes from Drew Garrison of Silver Screen and Roll. Drew was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule to share some of his thoughts on the state of the Lakers and their upcoming match-up with Memphis.
- One of Lonzo Ball’s biggest concerns coming into the NBA has been his unconventional shooting form. His father LaVar has been adamant that as long as his shot is falling, it doesn’t need to be changed. Well so far his shot hasn’t been falling, especially from three-point range. Is his form something that will have to be addressed, or will he eventually start hitting his shots?
It’s far too early to start deconstructing Ball’s shooting form at this point. The Philadelphia 76ers tried doing something similar with Markelle Fultz and only caused what most would consider further damage, so that’s not something the Lakers should invest their time and resources into.
Will he eventually start hitting shots? I imagine so. He’s nine games into his career, and perimeter shooting is often the hardest thing to adjust to going from a college athlete to the pros. Ball has to improve his scoring ability over time, no doubt, but it’s not time to dive into those murky waters just yet.
2. Jordan Clarkson seems to have finally found his role after a few seasons of bouncing around the lineup. Has he finally turned the corner and can he turn his play into a bid for Sixth Man of the Year?
Clarkson definitely looks like he’s turned a corner. No longer is he the secondary, secondary scoring guard with Lou Williams completely out of the picture this season. The role of backup guard is his and his alone, with Tyler Ennis hardly being a relevant body on the Lakers’ roster to start the season.
It’s not just that he’s providing a much-needed scoring punch for a Lakers team with an offense that can come to a screeching halt. He’s playmaking in a way we haven’t seen from him in quite some time. If he can continue balancing his natural scoring ability with his newfound love of dishing, and if the Lakers make a big leap in the wins department, Clarkson’s name will definitely float in the conversation.
3. This Lakers team is chock full of young talent. Between players like Ball, Ingram, Kuzma and others, is there one player who is most important to the future of this team?
This is a tough one to call. Kyle Kuzma has been a revelation and there’s a (very easy) argument to make that he’s actually been the best rookie on the Lakers. The franchise is very-much all-in on Brandon Ingram, and if he reaches his ceiling, he could have the largest two-way impact on the team.
But the nod has to go to Ball, who has a world of expectations on his shoulder for a plethora of reasons. The most important one to Lakers fans is the way he plays the game is an offense unto itself. He makes the right read so often it’s like he’s playing a game of NBA 2K with an overhead view. Players like Kuzma and Ingram are like the steering wheel and tires on the car, but Ball remains the engine.
4. What is the key matchup for the Lakers in this game?
The frontcourt dealing with Marc Gasol is probably the key. The Lakers are down Larry Nance Jr., which is going to put a ton of pressure on Julius Randle to play big minutes against one of the NBA’s best true big men. If it isn’t the key, it’s at least an important test for Julius, who’s starting to play consistent minutes as a small-ball five.
5. Give me your official game prediction.
The Grizzlies don’t fall into the trap of playing an uptempo game against the Lakers, limit their own turnovers, and keep the purple and gold’s offense out of rhythm and away from easy transition baskets. It’ll be a good showing from the Lakers, but their lack of a viable halfcourt offense in these scenarios proves to be too much to overcome Sunday night.