Los Angeles Lakers: 3 players who need to have the ball more

(Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)
(Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
(Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images) /

3. Lonzo Ball

Lonzo Ball’s shooting woes have been well-documented during his two seasons of NBA basketball.

After showing no signs of being someone who would struggle to score coming out of college, Ball’s first two pro seasons have been a disaster in terms of putting the ball in the basket: 38.0 percent shooting from the field, 31.5 percent from 3-point range and 43.7 percent at the free throw line.

Lonzo doesn’t need the ball more so he can shoot it, however. The 21-year-old playmaker needs it so the Lakers can take advantage of his prodigious passing skills.

When Ball was drafted No. 2 overall in 2017, Lakers’ then-president Magic Johnson called the UCLA product the new face of the franchise. Ball’s college output — he led the nation in assists as a freshman with 7.6 per game — was similar to that of Jason Kidd when he starred at Cal-Berkeley back in the 90s. Ball was viewed as the point guard who could possibly bring “Showtime” back to the Lakers.

When LeBron and Rajon Rondo joined the team last summer, it sparked visions of ball movement and highlight passes unlike anything the league had seen in a long time. A trio of LeBron, Rondo and Lonzo gave the Lakers three of the best passers in the league — a dream scenario for any teammate who can spot up, run the floor or cut to the basket.

Injuries plagued Ball, however, as he only appeared in 47 games this past season. When he was on the court, it took some time for him to find a comfort zone with LeBron and Rondo controlling the ball so much. It seemed like then-coach Luke Walton didn’t quite know what to do with him.

New Lakers coach Frank Vogel should make it a priority — if Ball is not traded, of course — to find ways to better utilize Ball’s passing acumen in L.A.’s offense. His playmaking and defensive talent are too valuable to waste.