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#pounditThursday, October 1, 2020

Lonzo Ball ‘checked out’ during Orlando restart?

The New Orleans Pelicans looked like they were unprepared for the resumption of the season in Orlando, and the result was five losses in seven games to eliminate them from postseason contention. While almost all of the talk surrounding the team has had to do with Zion Williamson and his minutes restriction, Lonzo Ball’s lackluster play probably deserves more attention.

If you take out the 16 points Ball scored in the Pelicans’ meaningless game against the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday, the point guard averaged just 5.6 points per game when New Orleans needed him most. Ball seemed to really hit his stride before the season was postponed, as he was averaging 20.8 points, 7.8 rebounds and 7.8 assists per game in the month of March. So what happened?

David Aldridge spoke with some sources in Orlando about the Pelicans, and they told The Athletic reporter that Ball “looked like he’d checked out the whole time” the team was at Disney World. Those same sources said they expect some significant changes to the New Orleans roster heading into next season.

Ball recently shot back at critics of his bubble performance, but it’s fair to wonder why he seemingly disappeared. It’s possible he simply went into a shooting slump at the worst time, as he had put together a solid season prior to things being shut down.

Had it not been for Ball’s poor play and the drama with Williamson, the Pelicans probably would not be going home.

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