The most praised and most criticized of this year’s impressive batch of NBA rookies took the court on Thursday. And neither disappointed the teams that drafted them.
Ben Simmons recorded a triple-double (12/13/15) with a career-high in assists (15). It was his third triple-double in 24 games, making him the third fastest to reach three in NBA history; The Big O (4) and Magic Johnson (15) were the only players to do it faster.
Lonzo Ball flirted with a triple-double (10/8/8) and had the assist of the night, which led to a game-winning three by Brandon Ingram (and a hilarious reaction by Jordan Clarkson). Ball also had a season-high four blocks, three steals and ZERO turnovers in the first victory for the Lakers in six games.
As expected, LaVar Ball had some quotable comments about his son and the Lakers after the game.
“He already saw it before it happened.
“When I come this far of a distance, it’s hard to beat him. I don’t like all them losses. So, he’ll do whatever it takes to get that `W.
“Keep doing what you’re doing. You’re going to figure it out. You’re going to have more fun than you’ve ever had.”
And what advice did LaVar have for Lonzo about handling boos from a crowd.
“They don’t know the boos make my son stand up because I’ve been teaching him since he was a baby boos mean ball.”
Boos mean ball!
As much as people want to bash Ball’s shooting struggles — he was 5-of-11 from the field and 0-of-3 from three on this night — he does deserve some praise for not being a turnover machine like most of the league’s assists leaders( James Harden and Russell Westbrook are averaging 4.5 and 4.9 turnovers a game). This was Ball’s 12th game with two or less turnovers and he had seven or more assists in six of those games. Only Chris Paul, Rajon Rondo and Kyle Lowry average more assists while averaging less than Ball’s 2.6 turnovers per game average.
Besides being 2nd in assists (7.0 to Simmons’ 7.5) among rookies, Ball is currently 4th in rebounds, 2nd in steals and 3rd in blocks. Bust out those stats the next time someone tells you Ball is a bust.