The New Orleans Pelicans have struggled to begin the 2020-2021 NBA season. They sit at just 12th in the Western Conference. With questions swirling about their future, trade rumors have come out concerning multiple players. Of these players, Lonzo Ball is the most significant piece who appears to be on the trade block.
The former second overall pick, Ball is a player with a unique skill set who can help interested teams in a number of ways. He is an exceptional facilitator and defender who plays well beyond his years. But these positives are often outweighed by his streaky and inconsistent shooting. His true shooting percentage has been below league average every season of his career and will need to improve if he wants to reach his potential.
Even with his shooting struggles, multiple teams appear to be interested in signing Ball. This article will discuss several of these teams and how Ball will make them better. Here are some potential trade destinations for Lonzo Ball.
Chicago is the ideal fit for Ball because they are both a team who need and value Ball’s skillsets and also have the time and patience to give Ball the minutes he needs to improve on the offensive end.
The Bulls backcourt of Zach Lavine and Coby White is prolific offensively but woeful defensively. The two are the catalysts behind Chicagos 5th ranked offense but also the culprits of their 27th ranked defense. Adding Ball into the Bulls guard rotation would allow White and Lavine to space out their scoring without hurting the defense as much. The bulls can also afford to live with Ball’s streaky shooting. They aren’t moving towards being serious contenders in the near future and have the time to let Ball improve his offensive game.
In return, the Bulls could flip Otto Porter’s large expiring contract if the Pelicans are willing to add salary. Alternatively Thaddeus Young and a draft pick could be enough to get it over the line if the Pelicans aren’t willing to give up more players.
There’s a lot more substance to the Hornets trading for Lonzo Ball than forming a backcourt duo with his brother. While the Ball-to-Ball connection would certainly be a sight to see, it would also help the Hornets both with their size and their defense.
Charlotte is one of the most undersized teams in the league. They have the shortest starting lineup in the league and the third shortest team overall. With Ball, they’d acquire a 6-6 playmaker who can shore up the Hornets’ undersized current guard rotation.
In order to acquire Ball, the Hornets would most likely need to flip one of their two starting guards. Devonte’ Graham and Terry Rozier are both gifted scorers who lack the size to truly help a team defensively. Based on their performances this season, Graham would be the more likely of the two to get flipped, probably along with someone like Malik Monk to match salary.
Golden State Warriors
The Golden State Warriors dynasty was built upon three-point shooting, but also upon impeccable ball movement. This season, the Warriors are in desperate need of another facilitator. Outside of Steph Curry and Draymond Green, not a single Warrior is even averaging over three assists per game. Adding Ball to the squad gives Golden State another passer other teams need to keep track of.
Ball’s poor three-point shooting at first glance might be a big red flag for the Warriors perimeter-centric offense but he would actually be an improvement over his most likely trade partner.
Golden State signed Kelly Oubre Jr. to provide much-needed quality at the wing but so far he has been a liability on both ends of the court. His 27% shooting from deep and 39% overall are both career lows and he could due with a change of scenery to hopefully reclaim some of his offensive luster. An Oubre-Ball swap could have long and short-term benefits for both teams.
All stats courtesy of Basketball-Reference and NBA.com
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