Can Lonzo Ball Deal With the Pressure of playing for the Los Angeles Lakers?

Lonzo Ball has shown signs of the player the Los Angeles Lakers expect him to become after picking him second overall in 2017 NBA draft.

So far, in his first season in the league, the 20-year-old rookie is averaging 8.8 assists per game while helping the Lakers defense become the fifth best in the league.

There is, however, one area in which Ball has not excelled. His shooting has been off, seeing him ranked last in the roster in shooting percentage, at 29.5 percent.

This has been a surprise for the Lakers considering his accuracy was never a problem during Ball’s time at UCLA. He shot at 55.1 percent overall during his one season there, and the reason for the drop is unclear though professional defences probably play a part in it.

Related: Are the Lakers clearing space for LeBron James?

Lonzo Ball Lonzo Ball at TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts, November 8. Tim Bradbury/Getty

But Ball did try to shed some light on the problem: It’s all in the mind, he says. After losing to the Boston Celtics on Wednesday night, Ball addressed his form while speaking to ESPN. “It’s in my head to be honest,” he said. “I know I can shoot the ball."

The Lakers, meanwhile, are 11th in the Western Conference, and coach Luke Walton believes he knows the difference between the Lakers and the more successful teams in the league.

“Most of those teams have been together for a while,” Walton said, as quoted by Bill Abram of the O.C. Register, “and have gone after this and they’ve failed together. There’s nothing like failing to bring a good team together because then you realize how bad that hurts and how much more you want it.”

Walton’s team will have a chance to get back on course quickly on Thursday night as the Lakers travel to the Capital One Arena in D.C. to take on the Washington Wizards.

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