Free Projections + Analysis: Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram

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by Eric Wong on September 11, 2017

These two youngsters have Lakers fans excited about their star potential, but what should fantasy owners be expecting from them?

Even our Basic Draft Guide includes Player Profiles + Stat Projections for 300+ players. Some sites like to take the easy way out by relying on algorithms to make their projections, but we continue to calculate by hand, going team by team, player by player, category by category.

The Lakers added several important pieces this summer, making them a tough team to predict. But my 12+ years of projecting NBA stats has taught me to find the right balance when analyzing young players. So I think you will find that RotoEvil uses “smart” projections, which means factoring in upside/potential while not setting expectations TOO high.

Lonzo Ball

As the most hyped up Laker rookie since Magic Johnson, Ball is going to play major minutes from day one, and expectations are very high. Last year at UCLA Lonzo averaged 14.6 points, 6 rebounds, 7.6 assists, 1.8 steals and 2.2 threes in 35 mpg, while shooting a strong 41% on 3-pointers and an absurd 73% on 2-pointers (55% FG overall). Obviously he won’t be able to maintain that awesome efficiency, and his shooting percentages may dictate whether or not he lives up to fantasy expectations.

Summer league was both encouraging (lots of impressive assists, active defensive stats) and discouraging (38% FG shooting, a terrible 10-42 on threes) for Ball, making his shooting accuracy tough to predict for the upcoming season. But we know that Lonzo is going to be pushing the pace often for the Lake show and that he has talented young teammates to pass to. As such, Ball should have no problem dropping around 7.5 dimes per game or more (for comparison, Chris Paul dished out 7.8 and Jason Kidd 7.7 apg as rookies).

Bottom Line: I’m projecting Ball to be a Top 10 assist man as a rookie, and he should be a Top 20 steals guy as well thanks to his long arms and quick instincts. But it will be interesting to see how Lonzo’s funky shooting form translates in the pros. Since he’s unlikely to score a lot of points, Ball owners will be hoping for around 45% FG, 37% 3P and 75% FT shooting, rather than say, 40% FG, 32% 3P and 70% FT.

RotoEvil’s 2017-18 Projections for: Lonzo Ball
Free Fantasy Basketball Projections - Lonzo Ball

Brandon Ingram

While Brandon gained valuable experience as a rook, he wasn’t very effective. He made just 29% of his threes, 44% of his twos (40% FG) and 62% of his freebies, for a 47.4% True Shooting mark that was dead last among guys who played 2,000+ minutes last year. Even his per minute counting stats were disappointing, but Ingram turned 19 right before last season began, so perhaps expectations were too high.

Brandon also played an increased role after the All-Star break (32 mpg) and shot the ball much better (47.5% FG), which is encouraging for the season ahead. By adding a stud playmaker in Lonzo Ball, an emerging young wing in Caldwell-Pope and a very talented big man in Brook Lopez, Ingram won’t have to worry about having to do too much this year.

Bottom Line: Ingram should play a lot better in his 2nd pro season, and while having more talented teammates around to shoulder the offensive responsibilities will help ease the pressure on Brandon, it will also limit his usage rate. Assuming he gets 32+ mpg for the full season, somewhere around 14-15 points, 5 boards, 3 assists, 1 steal, 1 three and .65 blocks per game are reasonable projections, with the potential for more. But it will be interesting to see where Ingram goes in drafts, because this could become a classic case of a hyped up “sleeper” going too early because so many people want to draft him.

RotoEvil’s 2017-18 Projections for: Brandon Ingram
Free Fantasy Basketball Projections - Brandon Ingram

These free projections are being shown as images, but our Draft Guide users get access to a giant spreadsheet containing ALL of our Stat Projections, sortable by category, so you can quickly view league leaders and easily compare stats of similar players.

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