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2020-21 Pelicans Season in Review: Lonzo Ball

  • Age 23
  • Experience Four seasons (two with Pelicans)
  • Games Played/Games Started 55/55

If you knew nothing about Ball as a player, but decided to examine his four-year NBA career by splitting it into chronological halves, it might be difficult to believe the same person produced each set of statistics. Over his first two pro seasons, Ball was a very below average shooter from the three-point stripe (32 percent) and foul line (44 percent). In his last two campaigns with New Orleans, the point guard has been near-elite from the arc (38 percent) and finished 2020-21 at 78 percent accuracy on free throws, the latter a gigantic leap.

“I think my shooting picked up from all levels of the court,” Ball said May 17, when asked to assess his performance. “I think that was the main key for me. My role was a little different this year, kind of more of a ‘three-and-D’ role. I adjusted to it pretty well. Overall, it was a positive season for me.”

With Zion Williamson accepting larger playmaking responsibility, Ball often shifted into an off-ball role within the offense, making his spot-up shooting vital to setting a career high in scoring, while going for 20-plus points in a dozen games (compared to seven times in 2019-20). The Pelicans won all four games in which he knocked down seven or more three-pointers, including quality wins over Milwaukee and Golden State.

    Lonzo Ball Key Stats from 2020-21 NBA Season

  • PTS Per Game 14.6
  • REB Per Game 4.8
  • AST Per Game 5.7
  • STL Per Game 1.5
  • Three Point % 37.8

“I’m a basketball player,” Ball said of being fine with moving away from a traditional, ball-dominant role. “Whatever the coach kind of wants from me, I’m going to do it to the best of my abilities. Coach (Stan Van Gundy) put me in a little different position this year than I’ve been in pretty much my whole life, but I think I made the most of it and had a pretty good year.”

In August, Ball will become a restricted free agent, giving New Orleans the option of matching any offer sheet he receives from another NBA team. Ball indicated that he hopes to return to the Pelicans next season, but didn’t want to speculate on what will happen this summer.

“Obviously I would love to be back,” he said. “I have a real bond here with these coaches and teammates. I definitely wouldn’t mind coming back at all.

“I think we’ve got the pieces – we’ve just got to put it together. We’re still a young team. We’re only going to get better. If we keep it together, that would be great, but I can’t tell the future. I’ll wait for the call (from his agent on free agency) and see what happens.”

Lonzo Ball | By The Numbers

  • 45

    Ball’s shooting percentage and three-point percentage in 27 career games played in February. He continued an inexplicable trend of always being at his best during the second month on the calendar, upping both categories to 46 percent in 15 February games.

  • 1

    Triple-double for Ball this season, increasing his career total to seven. In a two-point loss April 28 at Denver that ended in controversial fashion, he registered 16 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists. He also had four steals and two blocks in a venue coincidentally named Ball Arena.

  • 33, 22

    Ball games played in the first and second half of the season, respectively. It was difficult to get into a second-half rhythm due to injuries, which sidelined him for 14 of the season’s final 31 games after March 21.

Lonzo Ball | Most Notable Games from 2020-21 NBA Season

  • #1, May 4, New Orleans 108, Golden State 103

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    Ball matched his career high in scoring with 33 points (he also deposited 33 points May 1 at Minnesota), delivering in a big way for New Orleans in a must-win game. The California native went 7/13 from three-point range against Golden State, the fourth time in 2020-21 he connected on seven or more treys.

  • #2, March 1, New Orleans 129, Utah 124

    A stellar all-around outing against the Western Conference’s top-seeded team consisted of Ball contributing 23 points, seven rebounds, eight assists and two blocks. Ball shot 9/16 from the field and 3/5 from three-point range, outplaying Jazz All-Star guard Mike Conley (10 points, 4/12 shooting).

  • #3, Jan. 29, New Orleans 131, Milwaukee 126

    Part of a 6-2 stretch for the Pelicans, New Orleans notched one of its best home victories of the season, holding off the Bucks in the second half after building a 68-45 edge. Ball scored 27 points and was red-hot from the arc, draining seven threes in 13 tries. He handed out a team-best eight assists.

Sourced from Pelicans

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