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What Ben Simmons can learn from Lonzo Ball


There's a famous quote from Wayne Gretzky: "You miss 100 percent of the shot you don't take." This could not be more true, especially for basketball players. Lonzo Ball, who once upon a time struggled to make his shots, has improved using the same approach. Ben Simmons, who still struggles to put up perimeter shots, should learn how Ball overcame the same issues. 

The evolution of Lonzo Ball's shooting form

When Lonzo Ball entered the NBA, one of his weaknesses was shooting the ball. He connected 45% of his shots on the charity stripe and only made 30% of his 3-point attempts. As a guard, those numbers were unacceptable. In his second year with the Lakers, his free throw shooting plummetted to 41.7%. Whether the Lakers admit it or not, it was one of the factors why they decided to include Lonzo in a trade to get Anthony Davis. 

Arriving in New Orleans meant another chance to improve or add new skills. Ball's first step: acknowledge there's something wrong in his shooting form. Lonzo worked with a shooting coach to correct his form and technique. They repeated the process over and over until Ball's confidence started to go up. 

The number showed vast improvement in just one year. Lonzo's free throws and his 3-point shots improved significantly. Zo averaged the highest points in his career in only his 2nd year in New Orleans, but as fate would have it, the guard found himself suiting up for Chicago Bulls this season. Despite the new setting and system, the former UCLA star has settled in quickly. Ball is averaging career highs in free throws (83.3%) and 3-point shots (44%). If he continues this level of performance, there's a possibility of an All-Star berth this season

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The improved form and confidence of Ball is something fellow poor shooter Ben Simmons could learn from. If Ball can do it, Ben can do it too. But the changes won't come if Simmons only practices during the offseason and puts up highlights of pick-up games. Fans have seen how he could drain wet jumpers in practice but could not replicate those in actual games. 

Ball's mentality in shooting: Trust the process 

In Chicago, Zo's confidence is evident on the floor. He's not second-guessing anymore about his form. He just lets it fly. In an article by NBC Sports, Lonzo shared how the secret behind the Bulls' success this year has been teammates' trusting each other. 

Ball added that he's ready to shoot it no matter the percentages of it going in. For him, a 0.001 percent chance is still better than nothing.

"I really don't play the percentages. I don't mind taking the fullcourt heave. If it's another missed 3-point shot, I really don't care. If it goes in, great. If not, I'll shoot it again."

Lonzo Ball, NBC Sports

This is what Ben Simmons is lacking: the willingness to go through the process and improve. Now, he is feeling the effects of that stubbornness in the middle of the stalemate with the Philadelphia 76ers. No team will ever be interested in a player who refuses to acknowledge he needs to improve and work through it. 

The Sixers' mantra is "Trust the Process," but it's clear Simmons does not embody those words. Players who struggle shooting the ball should learn a thing or two from Ball's playbook. Success does not happen overnight, but the results are worth it. 

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