Amidst the uncertainty and debate on which player will be drafted as the number one pick in the 2017 draft, one thing is set in stone – whoever wins the lottery is pretty spoilt for choice.
Whether it is UCLA’s Lonzo Ball or Washington’s Markelle Fultz, both players offer very different, invaluable skills to their respective potential suitors.
But the question still resonates: who will go as the number one pick?
Lonzo Ball, the son of the braggadocios LaVar Ball, has a lot of upside to his game. His 14.6 points, 7.6 assists, 6.1 rebounds, and 1.6 steals per contest paint the picture of a very well-rounded prospect, and an excellent guard in the making. The UCLA point is a pass-first type of player, and would suit a team like the Los Angeles Lakers or Phoenix Suns, who are currently projected to have the 2nd and 3rd overall pick, respectively. Both teams would benefit highly from a point guard that would demonstrate a playmaking spark as well as on-court leadership. A franchise already armoured with an abundance of scorers would be Ball’s likely final destination.
The evident glamour in Ball’s game is his playmaking, and his ability to create high-percentage shots for those around him. He also has the capability to take charge of pressing situations and set winning plays for his team, perform in the clutch, and most importantly help his side win games. Something that has really seen his draft stock soar.
Amazing how Lonzo Ball can quickly go from catching the bad feed to just throwing an amazing pass to the big. pic.twitter.com/FI1ljeVcoM
— Dakota Schmidt (@Dakota_Schmidt) January 9, 2017
Although, there are downsides to his game, and they are potentially threatening to his place as a possible top pick. Despite shooting 41.4-percent from three, a resounding 56-percent of his shots come from behind the arc. Only 8-percent of his total shots taken this season have been mid-range jumpers (25), suggesting that Ball is far from an all-round scoring threat. However, despite his unorthodox shooting mechanics, the 19 year-old has resonated as a potent outside threat on offense, which should put him in good stead going into the NBA.
Fultz, on the other hand, is a nifty scoring guard that is highly capable of finding and creating open looks for himself, and the monster numbers he’s posting support this. Averaging 23.2 points, 5.9 assists, 5.7 rebounds, and 1.6 steals a game, the Huskies guard is the highest scoring freshman in the country, and is on track to be the first player in 25 years to average over 20 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists while shooting over 40-percent from three.
— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) March 18, 2017
While Ball’s best attribute is undoubtedly his court vision and passing, Fultz actually boasts a higher assist percentage, 35.5 percent, than Ball, 31.1 percent. This stat is made all the more surprising considering UCLA are 30-4, while Washington have only amassed nine-wins all season.
Fultz has been touted by many to be the top pick in this draft, and it’s likely it’ll stay that way. With versatility and athleticism on his side, it’s difficult to look past Fultz going anywhere other than as the first pick. The fact that the 3-point shot is a prized asset in a rookie’s arsenal can’t hurt Fultz’s draft stock, either.
Although, a healthy, successful run in the NCAA tournament, may see Ball’s draft stock rise further, but it’ll take some dominating performances to take the top spot from Fultz. One thing’s for sure, draft day will certainly be interesting.
— James (@JCraggSport) March 19, 2017
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