When the Chicago Bulls made their long-awaited play for point guard Lonzo Ball, the largest concern was whether or not he could keep up his hot shooting from deep.
Last season, as a member of the New Orleans Pelicans, he connected on 38% of his 8.3 nightly three-point attempts.
And just two games into his tenure with the Windy City ballers, that much looks to have not been a fluke of any kind.
In the Bulls’ most recent preseason win over the New Orleans Pelicans, Ball made five of his six attempts from deep:
If the 23-year old can provide the same caliber of shooting throughout the regular season, then the Chicago Bulls may prove as dangerous as fans have come to believe.
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LaVine: ‘He’s a Helluva Shooter’
As excited as fans were to finally see Lonzo Ball in a Chicago Bulls uniform, it’s possible that he’s got no bigger fan than teammate Zach LaVine.
After the 121-85 victory, the All-Star praised (via @KCJHoop on Twitter) his new point guard’s three-point shooting:
He’s one helluva shooter. We had it scouted last year. He was shooting above 40 (% from 3) until he hurt himself at the end of the year. If you’re shooting above 40 on 8 attempts, you’re a really knockdown shooter.
LaVine’s right. And now healthy, maybe Ball can boast the same percentages next to him as a member of the Bulls.
Should that prove the case, trust that Chicago will become one of the league’s most formidable offensive juggernauts.
That’s a part of his game teams are really gonna have to respect — and if not, they’re gonna get their head cracked like they did tonight.
But the point guard’s efforts aren’t only impressing on the offensive end.
No, Lonzo Ball has made just as equal, if not a greater, impact on defense. And his efforts have translated team-wide.
Bulls Flashing Improved Defense
Even with the exhibition nature of these games in mind, the Chicago Bulls defense has to be given some credit.
In two preseason games, they’ve outscored their opponents 252 to 180 and held them to a combined 34% shooting from the field and 25% shooting from behind the arc.
And newly arrived Lonzo Ball has played a huge part in that. He’s tallied five blocks and three steals over two games.
Chicago’s newest point guard discussed (via NBC Sports) the team’s renewed defensive efforts with the media:
Most of the time, we pretty much have four perimeter players out there at one time. And big Vooch holding it down in the back for us. Just getting into the ball, getting a lot of deflections. We’re a lot faster than a lot of teams. And I think we need to use that to our advantage.
Playing fast, on both ends, has been something both the team’s head coach and personnel have been preaching all offseason.
Now that Lonzo Ball’s at the head of the offense, they can. And the best way to impose that style of basketball is to be as equally sound on the defensive end.