Why Lonzo Ball would be a good option for Wizards at point guard

Why Lonzo Ball would be a good option for Wizards originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

The Wizards enter 2021 free agency with a clear and obvious need atop their wishlist and that is at starting point guard. After trading Russell Westbrook to the Lakers, the Wizards are looking for a starter for the first time really since 2010, when they drafted John Wall.

Washington has also been linked to sign-and-trade scenarios through various reports. If they do choose that route, which does have some drawbacks to consider, then one point guard option stands out above the rest as the best fit and with the most potential. That would be Lonzo Ball.

Ball is only 23 as he enters restricted free agency, which means the Pelicans can match an offer. The former No. 2 overall pick just wrapped up his fourth NBA season in which he set career-highs in points per game (14.6), field goal percentage (41.4), three-point percentage (37.8) and free throw percentage (78.1).

The threes are perhaps most noteworthy given that was the biggest concern about him when he entered the league. After tweaking an unorthodox shooting motion, he has developed into a reliable outside shooter. He not only shot 37.8% from long range this past season, he did so on 8.3 attempts per game. His 3.1 made threes per game would have led the Wizards last season.

Ball can pass, rebound and defend. The Wizards are committed to improving their defense and the passing and rebounding would help backfill what they lost in Westbrook, who averaged a triple-double this past season and led the league in assists.

At 6-foot-6, Ball is big enough to defend two-guards and maybe even some threes. That would come in handy with star shooting guard Bradley Beal standing at 6-foot-3. Beal could defend the point guard when he’s at a size disadvantage against taller two-guards.

Related: Russell Westbrook trade to Lakers adds value to John Wall trade

If the Wizards wanted to sign Ball, they may find some steep competition. The Bulls have been mentioned as a very serious suitor for Ball by several outlets, to the degree many expect Ball to sign with them when free agency begins. Other teams like the Celtics and Clippers have been connected to Ball in reports.

The Wizards, though, can offer the opportunity to play with Beal, who made All-NBA and started the All-Star Game this past season. Ball and Beal would complement each other well in the backcourt with Beal as the all-around scorer and Ball as the distributor and lead guard defender.

Spencer Dinwiddie has been more closely tied to the Wizards than Ball, but if they fall in the same price range, Ball offers more positives and fewer negatives. He’s 4 1/2 years younger, a better rebounder and passer and a much better shooter.

Ball would give the Wizards more upside than other veterans like Dinwiddie or Reggie Jackson, as he’s younger and on an upward trajectory as a shooter. Sign him to a four-year deal and maybe he’s an All-Star or close to it several years in.

The Wizards have a few different ways they can go in their search for a point guard. But if sign-and-trade is the path they choose, Ball should be the guy.

This article was written by WTOP’s news partner, NBC Sports Washington. Sign up for NBC Sports Washington’s free email subscription today.

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