Since he entered the league as the No. 2 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, one thing has consistently dogged Lonzo Ball: his shooting. Well, the 24-year-old Chicago Bulls point guard can officially shrug off the "can't shoot" label, as he's somehow rapidly developed into one of the NBA's best sharpshooters from deep.
Yes, Lonzo Ball, the kid with the funky shot who hit 30.5 percent of his 3-pointers and only 45.1 percent of his free throws as a rookie, is now a knockdown shooter. So far in 2021, Ball is hitting 44.7 percent from 3-point range on 6.9 attempts per game. That's not a small sample size. He's also improved to shoot 83.3 percent from the free throw line, which is a career-high.
So how did one of the league's worst shooters turn into a dangerous cover beyond the arc? It's simple, he just improved his mechanics. Gone is the exaggerated motion where he brought the ball from the left side of his body across his face to release it. That led sideways motion led to the ball going side-to-side and never straight on.
You can see the motion from his college days at UCLA:
He's simplified things and cut down on his movement pre-release. The ball stays centered as he rises up and follows through straight ahead. This development began last year in New Orleans when he improved to hit 37.8 percent of his 3-point shots.
Here's a look at his new form from the preseason this year:
The motion is night and day and the results speak for themselves.
It is interesting that as Ball's shooting has improved he's actually contributing less to the Bulls on the court. So far this season, Ball is averaging 12.6 points, 5.5 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 1.6 steals per game. He's fourth on the Bulls in scoring and is posting the lowest assist numbers of his career. But his newfound ability to space the floor has opened things up offensively for DeMar DeRozan, Zach LaVine and Nikola Vucevic.
Ball becoming a true threat from deep has been huge for the Bulls, who currently sit at 8-3 and are in first place in the Central Division. There's almost no way Chicago knew it was getting this level of 3-point accuracy when it signed Ball over the summer. His development from beyond the arc has been staggering.