Already entering his fourth NBA season, Ball impressed at times with the Pelicans last year. The trio of Ball, Brandon Ingram, and former No. 1 overall pick Zion Williamson is one that could make a significant jump in the Western Conference.
For that to happen, Ball needs to quickly adjust to new head coach Stan Van Gundy’s offense. In a recent interview, Ball explained what his first major goal under Van Gundy is, and how he hopes to achieve it.
Lonzo Ball is in his second year with the Pelicans
If last season was a sign of things to come for Lonzo Ball in New Orleans, the Pelicans might want to be excited.
New Orleans acquired Ball, Brandon Ingram, and many draft picks — among other pieces — in the Anthony Davis trade with the Lakers in 2019. Playing his entire first season in New Orleans at age 22, Ball averaged 11.8 points, 6.1 rebounds, seven assists, and 1.4 steals in 63 games and 54 starts.
Ball shot 40.3% from the field and drilled a career-high 37.5% from three-point range.
New Orleans could have an impressive trio on its hands. Ball is a young, talented point guard with a bright future ahead of him if he stays healthy and continues improving.
Brandon Ingram earned All-Star honors, Most Improved Player, and a max contract with a strong first year in New Orleans. Zion Williamson, if he can stay on the court, could grow into a dominant big man.
Ball has a major goal to accomplish under Stan Van Gundy
Lonzo Ball is playing for his fourth head coach in the last four years.
New Orleans hired Stan Van Gundy, the ex-Orlando Magic and Detroit Pistons head coach, earlier this year. Van Gundy had a mixed tenure in Detroit and recently worked as a guest analyst on CBS Sports, ESPN, and TNT.
Van Gundy has spoken publicly about wanting to see a more “aggressive” Ball on the floor.
According to USA Today, Ball addressed the changes he needs to make under Van Gundy.
“I know a lot of the offense is aggressive, so having the ball and being in a position to score and just have the defense look at me as a threat is definitely going to help us as the season goes on, for sure. I’m just staying constantly in attack mode and looking to put the ball in the basket.”
Ball is expected to remain the Pelicans’ starting point guard under Van Gundy.
Lonzo Ball can begin that goal this preseason
Lonzo Ball finally has an opportunity to start being more aggressive in meaningful games.
The New Orleans Pelicans have two preseason games, including one against Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat. The Pelicans will tentatively begin their 2020-21 season on Wednesday, December 23, at Kyle Lowry and the Toronto Raptors.
If the Pelicans intend to start the Stan Van Gundy era off right, they’ll need Ball to find his aggressiveness quickly. An aggressive Ball could be the key to New Orleans sneaking into the Western Conference playoffs next spring.