Lonzo Ball clearly learned a thing or two from his outspoken father. On Tuesday he went on ESPN 710 in LA and the UCLA point guard claimed he is better than Washington’s Markelle Fultz. The two freshmen and Pac-12 rivals are widely expected to be among the first three players selected in the 2017 NBA Draft.
Here’s what Ball had to say about the debate raging on who the better player is:
“Markelle’s a great player, but I feel I’m better than him.
“I think I can lead a team better than him. Obviously he’s a great scorer — he’s a great player, so I’m not taking that away from him.”
Ball’s Bruins beat Fultz’s Washington Huskies twice this season by a combined 73 points. But Fultz is widely regarded as the better player and the most likely to be selected first overall in the draft. So most scouts and draft experts disagree with Lonzo’s assessment.
Ball might be trying to change the subject right now after a fairly awful performance in the Sweet 16. In that game he was smacked around up and down the floor by Kentucky’s De'Aaron Fox, who flat-out dominated him. Fox also projects as a top 10 pick.
Fultz is definitely more of a scorer than Ball. He averaged 23.2 points, 5.7 rebounds and 5.9 assists during his freshman season. Meanwhile, Ball averaged 14.6 points, 6.0 rebounds and an NCAA-best 7.6 assists per game. Fultz is also a better defender, as evidenced by his 1.6 steals and 1.3 blocks per game.
While listed as a point guard, the 6’4″ Fultz is truly more of a combo guard, while the 6’6″ Ball is pure point man. That’s really the difference between them.
Ball is right that he makes the players around him better and is potentially better at that than Fultz, but he shouldn’t be saying that publicly right now. Or ever. He just got schooled by Fox and Kentucky and everyone is tired of his father’s boasting about his own basketball ability. Now Lonzo is following suit discussing how he’s better than another player. If anything, the kid should be displaying some humility given everything that’s transpired. Especially because the gas being expelled by the Ball family is going to begin to annoy NBA executives at some point.
Here’s some good advice Lonzo, since you’re clearly not getting it at home: when someone asks you about another player, be effusive in your praise and don’t ever say you’re better than them. Let your play on the court do the talking for you.