In the first year of leaving the Lakers, Lonzo Ball experienced a season of ups and downs with the Pelicans. Before the quarter-finals, he had his best performance of his career, but was "beaten back to his original form" after the quarter-finals. And he changed agents twice in half a year, which shows that he may have his own ideas about high salaries and team changes. "The Athletic" reporter William Guillory wrote an article analyzing Bauer's true intentions and the pros and cons of the Pelicans renewing Bauer.
在离开湖人队的第一年，隆佐·鲍尔（Lonzo Ball）在鹈鹕队经历了一个沉浮的季节。在四分之一决赛之前，他拥有自己职业生涯中最好的表现，但是在四分之一决赛之后却被“击败”。而且他在半年中两次更换过代理人，这表明他可能对高薪和团队变动有自己的想法。 《体育报》记者威廉·吉洛里（William Guillory）写了一篇文章，分析了鲍尔的真实意图以及鹈鹕更新鲍尔的鹈鹕的利弊。
Recently, Bauer has been associated with a term that shocked the hearts of Pelicans fans: Klutch Sports. He announced that he would join the agency and join the ace broker Rich Paul's. And just last year, Klutch Sports just took Anthony Davis from New Orleans to the Lakers.
最近，鲍尔（Bauer）与一个令人震惊的鹈鹕迷们的名字相关联：Klutch Sports。他宣布将加入该机构，并加入王牌经纪人Rich Paul's。就在去年，Klutch Sports刚刚将Anthony Davis从新奥尔良带到了湖人队。
The reason why Bauer’s move is so interesting is that only a few months ago, the three Bauer brothers announced that they would sign the Roc Nation brokerage company together. In just 4 months, he changed his agent twice. There are not many such players, not to mention that he is still a player who is about to negotiate a contract extension with the team.
It is not easy for the Pelicans to reach a contract extension agreement with Bauer. Since it is not yet certain what the salary cap will be for next season, it is too early to talk about this. But the players suddenly switched to Klutch Sports for two reasons: either they want a high salary or they want to leave the team.
How much interest the Pelicans are in re-signing Ball, and what kind of big contract should they make? This is one of the decisions that the Pelicans executives must face in this offseason. It is possible to decide whether the Pelicans will move forward or backward in the next few years. After all, if Bauer is let go, it will not be easy to introduce a good starting point guard without spending huge amounts of money or other assets.
Of course, if the Pelicans refuse to renew Ball, the most important reason is the question that has been haunting Ball since he entered the NBA: Will his shooting become a burden to his team at a critical moment?
In the 2018-19 season, Ball's three-point shooting percentage has improved, and opponents have had to change their defensive strategy when facing him. In the first season of joining the Pelicans, Ball hit a 3-pointer percentage of 37.5%, a career high, hitting 148 three-pointers and hitting a total of 165 goals in the first two seasons of his career.
From Christmas in 2019 to before the lockout this year, Ball played 33 games, averaging 14 points, 7.2 rebounds, 8.2 assists and 1.5 steals per game, and hit 40.8% from three points. At that time, he no longer dragged his back in the offense, but became an indispensable member.
Many people were grateful for it at the time, thinking that Ball's shooting was finally trained. However, when he came to the Orlando rematch area, he was "beaten back to his original shape." He played 7 games in 8 rematches, averaging only 7.1 points, 5 rebounds, 6.6 assists and 1.1 steals per game, and his three-point shooting rate plummeted to 28.1%. The Pelicans also missed the playoffs under favorable circumstances.
Ball is no longer a "poor performance" in the quarter-finals, it can be said to be bad. Even people who originally thought he would be the main force of the Pelicans in the future began to doubt their eyes.
If the slippage of the hand feel is a problem that every player will encounter, the problem with Ball is that when the hand feel slips, he has no other plan B. Ball dominates the ball very differently from most pick-and-roll point guards in the league. He is one of the worst guards in the league with the ball.
According to NBA official website statistics, Ball has only completed 359 breakthroughs in a total of more than 2,000 minutes of game time this season. Among the players who played 2,000 minutes and had fewer breakthroughs than him, there was only one guard (Tim Hardaway Jr., 271 times). According to statistics, Ball is only 6th in the Pelicans in scoring (281 points), and his 47% shooting percentage is only better than 47% of the league's guards.
In addition, there is another reason Ball struggles so much on the offensive end, because he is not happy to get to the free throw line. This season, Ball played only 76 free throws in 63 games, averaging only 1.2 times per game, which is by no means the data that a starting point guard should have. In addition, Ball's career free throw percentage is only 48.7%, a career high this season, but only 56.6%.
In the three seasons so far in his career, Ball has scored 195 free throws, while Zion has scored 178 free throws in the first 24 games of his career. This makes it easier for opponents to defend him in major games.
Of course, Bauer is not for nothing. He is good at reading games and can predict in advance, which is a rare trait among today's NBA point guards. He sometimes makes mistakes because of being too selfless, but he knows how to get his teammates involved and is willing to pass the ball to them and give them confidence. When Ball plays well, the whole team will also tend to follow his fast-paced, ball-shifting style.
In addition, Ball can also control the offense without taking possession of the ball. With Zion and Ingram, the value of a point guard without possession of the ball is incalculable. As a 1.98 meters tall defender, he can play against any outside player on the defensive end. When the Pelicans need to remove the defensive arrow Jrue Holiday, he will be a good substitute. In addition, he has both agility and wingspan, which allows him to have excellent weakside defense and wide defensive coverage.
Of course, his greatest value to the Pelicans does not come from the individual, but to help other teammates reach their limits. Ingram's election as the most improved player this season is inseparable from Ball and his daily encouragement on the training ground. But nothing is more fascinating than the tacit understanding between Bauer and Zion. According to NBA official website statistics, when they are on the court at the same time, the Pelicans have a net loss of 9.8 points per 100 possessions; when Ball leaves the game and Zion leads the team alone, the Pelicans have a net loss of 13.1 points per 100 possessions. This season, Zion hit 210 goals, 70 of which came from Ball's assists.
If you refer to the renewal of some outstanding point guards (such as Russell, Brogdon, Rozier, Smart, etc.) in recent years after the rookie contract ends, it can be predicted that the annual salary of Ball's new contract should be 15 million to 18 million. Between ten thousand. Considering that the salary cap may fall, perhaps Ball will give up early renewal, after all, next year he will still be a restricted free agent. The Pelicans can free their hands to complete the contract extension with Ingram this year.
If changing the agent twice in 4 months shows Bauer's impatience, the Pelicans should appease him during the negotiation.