Lonzo Ball is leading UCLA to a great season and is staying atop NBA draft boards. If the freshman point guard declares for this summer’s draft, all signs point to him being one of the top two picks.
While it is still early in the process, Washington’s Markelle Fultz is the favorite to be the top pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. Ball appears to be locked in the two spot but still has time to catch Fultz for the number one pick.
In Heavy’s latest NBA mock draft, we have Ball going to the Phoenix Suns with second pick after Fultz went to the Celtics with the top pick. This is in line with the majority of mock drafts heading into March Madness.
ESPN draft analyst Chad Ford has Ball going two to the Suns noting that his talent is too much to pass up even though the Suns have plenty of point guards.
DraftExpress has Fultz and Ball as the top two picks in that order. NBADraft.net has the same top two and compares Ball to Jason Kidd. It is a comparison that has gained traction among NBA draft pundits.
While it is a lofty comparison, there are similarities between the two players. Kidd stood at 6’4″, and Ball is slightly taller at 6’6″/190 pounds. Like Kidd, Ball has excellent court vision and is able to create opportunities for his teammates.
Kidd was a better defender, but Ball (despite having an unorthodox shot) is a much better shooter. Ball can be deadly from behind the 3-point line , a characteristic that Kidd did not have coming out of Cal.
Ball is averaging 15 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 7.5 apg and shooting over 42 percent from behind the arc. Kidd played two years (1992-94) at Cal. His sophomore season he averaged 16.7 ppg, 9.1 apg, 6.9 rpg and shot just over 36 percent from the 3-point line.
Ball and Fultz lead one of the deepest draft classes we have seen in the last decade. The prospects even impacted this week’s NBA trade deadline where the Celtics were hesitant to trade the rights to the Nets pick because they know it has a good chance to be either Fultz or Ball. It is a particularly strong point guard class with four point guards poised to be selected in the top ten.
With the way UCLA is playing, Ball is going to have an opportunity to use March Madness to gain ground on Fultz as Washington will not be playing in the NCAA tournament. If all goes as planned, it will be a race to the number one spot between the two point guards.
Here’s a look at some of the best highlights from Ball’s freshman season: