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Ball or Fultz?

Who would you pick at No. 1?

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NCAA Basketball: UCLA at Washington Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

Ball or Fultz?

If you read Mock Drafts like me it’s Fultz. If you’re a UW fan like me, its Fultz. But, if you were to look at team success in college, Lonzo Ball would be a suitable number 1. Also, looking at overall game, Ball provided more of a on court resume at UCLA than Fultz did at Washington.

Assuming that there are no blockbuster trades with the top 2 picks, you can expect Markelle Fultz and Lonzo Ball to be picked 1 and 2 in the NBA Draft next week. Looking at the teams that are picking in the top two the Celtics (who made the Deal of the Century with the Nets) have the top pick while the Lakers go second.

Ball has been selective in which NBA teams he worked out for (i.e., the Lakers). He declined to work out for the Celtics while Fultz has talked and worked out with Boston. Fultz also worked out for the Lakers as it seems LA is doing its due diligence.

Despite not working out for Boston, it wouldn’t be out of total comprehension to think that the Celtics could take Ball. He has similar skills to Fultz and would be the complement to IT that the Celtics need to combat LeBron, Uncle Drew and Cleveland.

It would be easy to root for the Celtics if Fultz is picked by Boston as they would have an all-UW backcourt in Isaiah Thomas and Fultz as well as Tacoma’s Avery Bradley on the team.

The pros and cons of Lonzo Ball

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-First Round-Kent State and UCLA Bruins Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Ball has a jump shot that only Jamaal Wilkes or Shawn Marion would love. I’m trying to tell you it’s ugly. The mechanics look funky but he shot 55% from the field so it can’t be all that bad. Here’s a breakdown of his shot (it also examines IT’s and Nate Robinson’s shot as comparison). A Steph Curry quick release it is not, but it’s still effective. It will be up to his pro team to determine whether or not the shot is tweaked as you can imagine that he would have a hard time getting it off against a defense.

Maybe due to his mechanics, Ball has issues creating his own shot. Usually, his go to move is to dribble into a pull up jumper or step back for a jumper rather than breaking a defender down.

He also has a slight frame that will need to be improved to deal with the rigors of playing in the NBA. This can easily be overcome as you may recall the current NBA Finals MVP was criticized for lacking muscle when entering the league.

If his games against Kentucky have shown, Ball has trouble playing against quicker guards. De’Aaron Fox scorched Ball for most of his 38 points in the NCAA tourney game this past year. He had similar issues with Fox when UCLA upset Kentucky in the regular season.

And yes, its Father’s Day weekend and we must bring up LaVar Ball and whether his influence will make an impact on Ball’s future. My opinion is that LaVar’s antics and his Big Baller Brand has no impact whatsoever. Media is only upset with LaVar’s antics and the exploitation of Lonzo because they couldn’t exploit the kid first. Lonzo seems to be in on the gimmick and it’s the media that is taking the “holier than thou” stance on him.

Despite the negatives outlined here, its Ball’s playmaking skills, court awareness and experience playing in big games that made him a First Team All-American in his Freshman year at UCLA. He proved in college that he can run a team and become an effective floor leader.

Ball has expressed an interest in learning from Magic Johnson and he already lives in SoCal which makes him almost a fit for the Lakers. But, his attributes and upside could make him an appealing pick in Boston.

The pros and cons of Markelle Fultz

NCAA Basketball: Arizona State at Washington Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Turnovers and Free Throws seem to be the major criticisms to Fultz’s game. For a point guard that will handle the ball, Fultz must improve each in order to be an elite guard in the NBA. There is also the knock-on Fultz that he doesn’t care. Perhaps it’s his lazy eyes or indefatigable stoic body language, but impatient Husky fans complained that Fultz lacked intensity and gave up during games. If you are to look at the pure numbers for Fultz (averaging 23 points shooting 50% from the field, 6 assists and almost 6 rebounds per game), that’s far from the case. But, it will be interesting to see how Fultz does over the course of an 82-game season.

There is also the case of Fultz’s knee. He sat out several games due to an injured knee and you have to think that the NBA doctors have closely inspected his knee to ensure there are no residual issues.

Fultz played in only a handful of close games. Therefore, there’s not much of a history on how he does in crunch time. I recall the Nevada game at UW as a game where Fultz stepped up and took over the game. Of course, the Wolfpack beat the Huskies on a last second shot. Also, since Washington was dreadful last year, there was a lack of big games on his schedules where he could display his talents against top competition.

The only matchup between Ball and Fultz produced the worst home loss in UW history. On that night in January, Ball outplayed Fultz. He scored 22 points, grabbed 6 rebounds and dished 5 assists in a 107-66 demolition of the Huskies. Fultz scored 25 but also committed 5 turnovers.

On the bright side, Fultz is an elite talent and you recognized that he was so much better than anyone else on the team at UW. He’s a very good passer with great court vision. He works the pick-and-roll as well as anyone in the NBA right now and is able to create his own shot. Despite body language, Fultz says the right things in the media, appears to be a team player and willing to learn. During a season that turned out horribly for the Huskies, Fultz did not show any sign of frustration toward his teammates or the coaching staff.

Fultz has a wider wingspan (6’10”) than Ball (6’6”) which should help on defense. This is something that he will have to work on. Of course, every player coming into the NBA has to learn better defense.

The Celtics are in need of a tall guard to complement Isaiah Thomas. The Cavaliers exploited this flaw in the Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals this year. While IT is one of the best players in the game, he is still a potential liability on the defensive end. Both Ball (6’6”) and Fultz (6’4”) would provide the size needed to defend. The Celtics were the number 1 seed in the East this year before meeting Cleveland in a series that the Cavs dominated. With the rumors that they will make a push for Gordon Heyward and adding Fultz or Ball, the team will be a formidable foe for the 2016 NBA Champions.

The Lakers are in need of a point guard to complement D’Angelo Russell and Brandon Ingram. While Russell was drafted to be the point guard of the future, he is more of a scorer than a distributor. Ball set a UCLA single-season assist record and Fultz averaged 6 assists per game with the Dawgs.

Unlike the Celtics, the Lakers are still in rebuilding mode and are trying to find a core set of players. With either Ball or Fultz, they will solidify their guard play and will be one of the most exciting, young teams in the league. Add the benefit of potentially learning the ropes from GM Magic Johnson and Southern California, it’s not that bad of a landing spot. But, the Lakers are several years away from “The Lake Show” and either Fultz or Ball will have to wait some time prior to making a dent in the playoffs.

Next week, we’ll find out where each will go. But, don’t tune into the draft too late, because these guys should be gone by pick 3.


Who ya got? Ball or Fultz at No. 1

This poll is closed

  • 88%
    Markelle Fultz is the Number 1 pick
    (237 votes)
  • 4%
    Lonzo Ball is the Number 1 pick
    (11 votes)
  • 7%
    Someone else will be the Number 1 pick
    (20 votes)
268 votes total Vote Now