Houston Rockets guard to target #1: Lonzo Ball
Some players feel older than they are and Lonzo Ball is one of those guys. Ball will turn 24 in October but it feels like he has been in the NBA for an entire decade. The former number two overall pick has had an up and down start to his career but looks poised to be a borderline All-Star for the next half-decade.
Ball is not an impressive isolation scorer but he is very good at everything else. He can hit spot-up threes, distribute, rebound, and defend multiple positions. He’ll likely never be a superstar but in the right role, he could average 16 points, 7 rebounds, and 8 assists a game into his 30’s.
The Rockets need talent and Ball would be an instant upgrade on everyone in their backcourt. The added bonus of bringing in Ball is the effect it will have on Christian Wood. While Wood’s first season in Houston was fantastic, he experienced a noticeable dip in production coming off his ankle injury.
There could have been some lingering issues from the injury but the likely culprit was the degradation of the Rockets’ backcourt. John Wall, Eric Gordon, and Victor Olaidpo were frequently out of the lineup and it meant that Wood was relying on Kevin Porter Jr to feed him the rock.
Porter Jr has a bright future but his growing pains are going to severely impact Wood’s effectiveness. Ball’s playmaking will make life easier for the Rockets’ best player and paying a premium for that is well worth it.
Ball won’t be cheap and the New Orleans Pelicans have the right to match any offer made. The fight for Ball’s services will be fierce but if the Rockets can sell him on their vision for the future he could be intrigued by the opportunity to be a centerpiece of the franchise.
If it takes upwards of $20 million to land Ball, which is likely, then the Rockets might run into a situation where they will be priced out. If the Pelicans pass and the rest of the league isn’t interested then the Rockets should make Lonzo Ball their number one free agent target.