The Los Angeles Lakers multi-talented and versatile German prospect is one that often gets lost in the shuffle. Isaac Bonga is a point guard by trade but saw some action at the forward spots given his size and offers the Lakers a different lineup dimension than they got used to last season.
Despite not showing off much at the NBA level, Bonga quietly had an impressive season for an 18-year-old playing in the G-League and showed flashes of his insane potential that leave scouts drooling.
Still an extremely raw (and young) prospect, Bonga has a long ways to go in order to be a significant contributor at the NBA level. That said, he certainly has the tools to get there one day and it will be interesting to see how the Lakers look to continue his development – assuming he isn’t included in a trade package for Anthony Davis.
Isaac Bonga Areas to Improve: Beef Up
Right now, one of the biggest things Bonga can do to help his overall game at the next level is to pack on some muscle. Bonga stands 6’8″ with a 7’0″ wingspan, yet weighs just 180 pounds. He’s a fantastic athlete and if he can bulk up to the point where he won’t be bullied around by NBA players, that should go a long ways towards helping him exploit his other physical gifts.
The biggest individual area this could impact is Bonga’s ability to drive and finish at the rim. Bonga currently has some crafty moves to help him finish through contact but the added strength and peace of mind to trust his body against bigger and stronger players should help his lackluster field goal percentage tremendously.
Isaac Bonga Areas to Improve: The Deep Ball
Bonga came out of the G-League gates scorching hot and shot 45.9% from three for the South Bay Lakers. However, Bonga would see his three-point percentage regress closer to his pre-NBA days, shooting just 28.6% and 26.9% in December and January. For what it might be worth, Bonga did see his three-point percentage start trending back in the right direction in March as he shot 33% from behind the arc.
More importantly, a good three point shot fits in perfectly with what the Lakers need right now and a dramatic improvement on that front could help thrust him into some useful minutes at the NBA level much earlier than anticipated.
Isaac Bonga Areas to Improve: Playmaking
While Bonga is a point guard, he has been known to make some questionable decisions with the basketball with the South Bay Lakers. Often times he seems like a baby deer who is still learning to control his extremities and goes flying towards the basket with reckless abandon. Bonga’s size and skill creating around the rim will inevitably draw over help defenders and Bonga needs to get better at reading those situations and moving the ball to an open man.
Last season in South Bay, Bonga averaged more turnovers per game than assists, something that absolutely cannot happen moving forward. His elite athleticism is a gift but he needs to put in the proper work on the mental side of the game in order to make sure he can use it to the best of his abilities.