LaVar Ball’s Idea To Move Lonzo To The Phoenix Suns Is A Good One

The Lakers are including Lonzo Ball in trade talks with the New Orleans Pelicans, as part of an effort to bring Anthony Davis to Los Angeles. The Pelicans want more in the trade than the Lakers have so far offered, and possibly more than the Lakers are able to offer. Meanwhile Lonzo would prefer to go someplace other than New Orleans, and his loudmouth dad would like to see him in a Suns jersey.

This is a good idea, even if it comes out of the howling noise-hole of LaVar Ball himself! Davis wants to go to Los Angeles; Lonzo could use a fresh start someplace where the team can play a little bit more to his strengths; and the Suns desperately, urgently need players who can make positive contributions at both ends of the floor.

The Suns, as currently constructed, are insanely, hilariously terrible. They are the only team in the NBA currently in the bottom three in both offensive and defensive efficiency. Last season they finished dead last in both categories. Just once in Devin Booker’s career have the Suns placed outside of the NBA’s bottom five in offensive efficiency (22nd, in 2017); just once over that stretch have they finished outside of the bottom five in defensive efficiency (24th, in 2016). If it will make you feel better about Booker being paid like a bonafide superstar to heap blame for this run of absolute putrescence entirely on his teammates, certainly that is your right as a free person.

What cannot be denied is that the Suns need players who can contribute to winning basketball. They’ve got maybe, maybe two of them on their current roster. Lonzo has some serious warts as a player, and his second season has been pretty underwhelming, but it’s worth recalling that the Lakers spent the back half of his rookie season playing excellent, telegenic basketball, mostly oriented around his playmaking, and kicked far more than their fair share of butt. He’s already a way, way better defensive player than any current Suns player—that’s an extraordinarily low hurdle, I’m afraid—and point-of-attack and perimeter help defense are of growing importance as old-fashioned rim protection is somewhat deemphasized in a league where smaller, more switchable players and lineups are increasingly prominent. Just having a guard on the court who can do a respectable job guarding one position, let alone several, would be a monumental organizational shift for this shit-ass franchise.

Offense is where Lonzo has struggled this season, but in some important ways Lonzo is trending in the right direction. His three-point volume and accuracy have improved; his handles look tighter and more dangerous; his finishing in the restricted area has jumped by more than 10 percent over last season, to a respectable 58 percent. His free-throw shooting is incredibly, historically bad, and both his free-throw rate and usage are alarmingly low for a lead guard. But those are areas that have also been weaknesses of Rajon Rondo and Ricky Rubio, neither of whom has ever been as willing an outside shooter as Lonzo now is, and neither of whom can credibly guard NBA forwards. Rondo has had just two seasons in his 13-year career where his usage crept above average, and not a single one where his scoring efficiency did. Rubio has also never sniffed average efficiency, and his usage has only crept meaningfully above average as a member of the Jazz. There’s a template for deferential, low-usage, low-efficiency lead guards, and Lonzo at least has the advantage of size, as well as reasonable efficiency and comfort shooting from outside.

And then there’s the whole theory of the Suns, which involves Booker and DeAndre Ayton doing the bulk of their scoring as two offensive fulcrums. Booker is at his best as a pure shooter, buzzing around off the ball and dragging half the defense toward him as he rockets around a pin-down screen, or catching on the weak-side and shifting into a quick screen-and-roll, or blowing by a hasty close-out. The Booker-as-point-guard experiment mostly hasn’t worked, but what it probably has produced is a guy who is ready to be an absolutely terrifying secondary ball-handler. It’s just that the Suns haven’t had a healthy and gruntled primary ball-handler worth a shit during his career. With Booker and Ayton positioned as finishers, Lonzo can revert back to being a pure playmaker, pushing the ball ahead and triggering the offense from the top of the key, and cutting off-ball during Ayton post-ups and Booker isolations. This should all work! If Lonzo is going to pan out as a high-end rotation guard, it looks increasingly like it’ll be under these kind of circumstances and no other.

The trade mechanics also could work! If the Lakers can’t get over the hump with a trade proposal that offers all of Lonzo, Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, Josh Hart, and Ivica Zubac, it’s unlikely they’ll bridge the gap with draft assets, because in acquiring Davis they would probably wipe out the value of their own first-round picks. That’s where Phoenix would come in! The Suns have young players like Josh Jackson—who, by the way, is both extremely butt and far worse than Lonzo—and Kelly Oubre Jr. and Mikal Bridges, who might be of interest to the Pelicans as they shift into a post-Brow rebuild. And they’ve got draft picks that should retain plenty of value over the next couple years. Because, let’s face it, for however optimistic anyone is about Lonzo’s future, he is not likely to lead the Suns suddenly into playoff contention, at least not right away.

So the Suns could supplement Los Angeles’s best offer by rerouting Lonzo and offering in compensation some combination of their own young players and draft picks. It should be worth it for the Suns, if it means finally securing a young point guard to take some of the burden off of Booker, and if it finally brings the shape of their future core into greater focus. They’ve been twisting in the desolate hinterlands of NBA basketball for more than four years, now. Probably they should not get into the habit of following the basketball wisdom of LaVar Ball, a man who has turned three talented sons into two untouchable nomads and one miserable head-case. But this is a good idea LaVar had, and the NBA would be better and cooler if he had this wish.



Source link

more recommended stories

  • Antonio Brown’s Helmet Saga Continues With A New Grievance Against The NFL

    Antonio Brown was a no-show at.

  • Tehran Authorities Released Four Women Who Were Arrested For Sneaking Into A Soccer Match Dressed Like Men

    On Saturday, Iranian authorities released four.

  • Honduran Soccer Riots Leave Three Dead, At Least 10 Injured

    Photo: Victor Colindres/La Tribunal (AP Photo).

  • Dodgers Pitcher Julio Urias Suspended 20 Games For Violating MLB’s Domestic Violence Policy

    Photo: Harry How (Getty Images) MLB.

  • Donald Trump Belches Up A “Michigan Man Of The Year” Award

    The President of the United States.

  • Be Prepared For the Worst With This Shop-Vac, Now Cheaper Than Ever

    Best Home DealsThe best home, kitchen,.

  • Kyle Long Tried To Beat A Teammate With His Own Helmet And Then Barfed

    Photo: AP Training camp fights are.

  • Mediation Talks Between The USWNT And U.S. Soccer Were A Big Ol’ Dud

    Photo: Katharine Lotze (Getty) The long-anticipated.

  • Tigers’ Niko Goodrum Accidentally Guides Fly Ball From Mariners’ Kyle Seager Over Outfield Wall

    It says something about the state.

  • Get TCL’s Dolby Vision 5-Series TV Starting At Just $210

    TCL 49S517 49″ 4K Dolby Vision.

  • VAR Is Turning Everyone Into Cops

    Photo: Ross Kinnaird (Getty) The opening.

  • Arizona Cardinals Executive Rod Minegar Arrested For DUI

    Photo: Chandler Police Ron Minegar, the.

  • Local Billboard Calls Tuscaloosa “Abortion Capital Of Alabama,” Claims 19,000 Future Fans Have Been Aborted

    Photo: Doug Benc (Getty Images) An.

  • Naked Idiot On The Field Rings In The New Premier League Season With A Dong

    Photo: Press Association via AP Images.

  • Damon Sheehy-Guiseppi, Who Lied His Way Into A Browns Tryout, Scored A Return Touchdown In His NFL Debut

    Photo: Kirk Irwin (Getty) Late in.

  • Mitchie Brusco Lands First-Ever 1260 In Skateboarding Competition

    At the 1999 X Games in.

  • Very Pissed Chris Davis Appears To Go After Orioles Manager Brandon Hyde

    Screenshot: YES Network The Orioles are.

  • Orioles’ D.J. Stewart Leaves Game After Taking Fly Ball To The Head

    If you were looking for one.

  • Texans Rookie Lonnie Johnson Jr. Got Kicked Out Of Practice For Tackling Like A Psycho

    Photo: David J. Phillip (AP) The.

  • Pro Cyclist Bjorg Lambrecht Dies After Crash During Race

    Belgian professional cyclist Bjorg Lambrecht died.

  • Phillies File Lawsuit To Prevent Phanatic From Hitting Free Agency

    Photo: Rich Schultz (Getty Images) The.

  • Bayern Munich Had No Answer For Jadon Sancho

    Photo: Dean Mouhtaropoulos (Getty Images) Super.

  • True Weirdo Nick Kyrgios Serves Match-Winning Ace After Consulting A Fan

    Here’s another one for the Nick.

  • Don’t Buy What Baseball’s Also-Rans Are Selling

    Thinking on it.Photo: Christian Petersen (Getty.

  • Trevor Bauer Enjoyed Feeling Like A Human For A Change

    Photo: David Maxwell (Getty) It’s been.

  • Cardinals’ Miles Mikolas Grabs Cubs’ David Bote’s Arm On Infield Single, Goes Unpunished

    During the top of the third.

  • Turkish Soccer Player Tries To Quit In The Middle Of A Preseason Ass-Kicking

    Turkish side Fenerbahce took on German.

  • USWNT Coach Jill Ellis Steps Down After Five Years And Two World Cups

    Photo: Maja Hitij (Getty) According to.

  • Diamondbacks Turn Harmless Sacrifice Bunt Into Sequence Of Screeching Embarrassment

    Photo: Lynne Sladky (AP) For a.

  • Marcus Stroman Traded To New York…Mets? That Can’t Be Right

    Photo: Kathy Willens (AP) Marcus Stroman.

  • The NFL’s 100th Anniversary May Have Taken Down A.J. Green

    Photo: Bryan Woolston (AP) The first.

  • Giants’ Golden Tate Blames Fertility Drug For Failed PED Test, Will Appeal Four-Game Suspension

    Photo: Frank Franklin II (AP Photo).