Lonzo Ball continues to make case for rich offseason contract with career-high eight 3s in Pelicans win

by 24USATVApril 5, 2021, 4 p.m. 19
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Lonzo Ball is having the best season of his career, and it couldn't be happening at a more perfect time. Set to enter restricted free agency this summer, Ball is reportedly eyeing in the neighborhood of $20 million per season, and with each passing game he's making a case for even more.

On Sunday, Ball returned from a three-week, seven-game absence to save a New Orleans Pelicans team missing Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram. In a 122-115 win over the Rockets, Ball posted 27 points, nine assists, four rebounds and three steals while cashing a career-high eight 3-pointers.

"We needed it," Pelicans coach Stan Van Gundy said of Ball's performance. "Obviously, he looked around and he knew what was going on when we played on Friday and how tough it was. He knew we needed him and he was anxious to get back out there.

"He wanted to play. He wanted this win badly. He knew we needed him to do that. He didn't want to come out when I took him out in the fourth and I just gave him … about a minute I think."

By not trading Ball at this season's March 25 deadline, the Pelicans put themselves in a position to potentially have to pay Ball a lot more than they had hoped to avoid losing him for nothing. They have first right of refusal, but with the way Lonzo is playing, some team is going to force them to match a significant number.

For the season, Ball is shooting 39 percent from 3 on eight attempts per game. Over the last two months, he's shooting 43 percent on slightly higher volume. All told, Ball is posting career highs in 3-point, effective and true-shooting percentages, as well as points per shot attempt, per Cleaning The Glass.

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