The last time John Wall and Lonzo Ball met on the court, “No mercy” Wall missed 15 of his 22 shots, failed to get a double-double and was a -14 in a three-point OT loss; Ball had 6 points (2-11 fg), 8 boards, a game-high 10 assists, just 1 turnover and a +13. Outside of Lonzo’s awful shooting (3-of-12 from the field, 1-of-7 from three and just 3-of-7 from the charity stripe), things were a lot different on Thursday night, when the Wizards beat the Lakers by 16 points behind Wall’s 23 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 blocks, 2 assists and 1 dunk on Brook Lopez.
Ball, who was trending earlier in the day because triple-double legend Jason Kidd said Ball being compared to him”is a stretch,” finished the game with another near triple-double (10 points, 8 rebounds, 8 assists) and 2 steals in just 29 minutes of action. Not a bad line (that looks a lot like a lot of Jason Kidd rookie stat lines) but it was his shooting that once again dominated conversations and headlines.
“I really don’t even care, to be honest.” Said Ball after the game, when asked about people talking about his shot. “I know I’ve got to just keep shooting and just improve it every game.”
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, his 29.2 shooting percentage is the second-worst through a player’s first 12 games in the shot-clock era. That’s nothing to brag about, but, Ball still got some high praise from his Coach and the Wizards’ Bradley Beal.
“He’s an incredible player. He’s 20 years old. He almost had a triple-double tonight. But any time you turn on any sports show, all they talk about is his shot,” Walton said. “Is it extra pressure? One hundred percent. He’s a rook who … gets dissected by everybody.”
“He’s going to be good. A lot of people bash him but he’s very competitive, a quite kid, he can beast.” Said Beal. “The sky is the limit for him.”
IS IT A STRETCH
Let me first say I have all the respect in the world for Jason Kidd (as a player). I think he’s one of the greatest point guards ever and I’m in no way saying Lonzo Ball has done anything yet to make me think he will have the career of Kidd. But, I do have to point out how awful Kidd’s shot was on many nights during his rookie season. Remember, Kidd was nicknamed Ason Kidd as a rookie because he didn’t have a J. He shot worse than 30% in 22 games and 20% or worse in 11 during his Co-Rookie Of The Year season. He also had 28 games shooting 0% from three and 7 games shooting 33% or less from the FT line. As for assists, he had 10+ in 22 games (16 were double-doubles); I don’t think it’s a stretch for me to say Ball will at least match the 22 games with 10 assists.
There is one thing Ball is much better than Kidd at: rapping! Kidd’s appearance on the ‘B-Ball’s Best Kept Secret’ album was embarrassingly bad. I once had a conversation with Gary Payton about the song and he said Kidd was so bad at rapping, the producer (Money B of Digital Underground) had to record Kidd’s lines one or two bars at a time.