Turns out, being outspoken does run rampant in the Ball family.
Lonzo Ball said on Tuesday that he’s better than another player most see as superior to him: Washington point guard Markelle Fultz.
In fairness to Lonzo, though, the margin between the UCLA point guard and Fultz is a universe closer than the one between his father LaVar and Michael Jordan. The two Pac-12 guards just declared for the NBA after completing their freshman seasons and are currently projected to be the first two picks in this summer’s draft.
The Vertical’s Jonathan Givony currently has Fultz going No. 1 to the Celtics in his latest mock draft with Ball going to the Lakers with the second pick. Other draft experts also list Fultz and Ball in that order.
But Ball doesn’t feel those projections are reflective of reality.
“Markelle’s a great player, but I feel I’m better than him,” Ball said on ESPN. “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.”
Fultz is a vastly superior scorer, having averaged 23.2 points for a bad Washington team this season, but also has the ability to create opportunities for his teammates. Ball’s value lies in his otherworldly court vision and passing skills, averaging 7.7 assists for a UCLA team that fell to Kentucky in the Sweet 16 last week. (In case you were wondering, UCLA won both games against Washington this season.)
Both men are not yet 20 so there’s plenty of room for both to grow, particularly as defenders.
Because both will be drafted in close proximity to each other, Ball and Fultz’s careers will always likely be measured against the other.
But just like his famous and outspoken father, Lonzo apparently has no problem doing the measuring himself.