Last night the very likely 1st two picks in the NBA draft faced off, and both players impressed. Lonzo Ball's UCLA Bruins beat up on Markelle Fultz and his Washington Huskies, as they routed them 107-66. The two players are in very different situations. Ball's squad is the 11th ranked team in the nation in large part because of his stellar play, but he's also surrounded with a lot more talent than Fultz. The Huskies are only 9-13 on the year but Fultz has still managed to play outstanding despite his lack of talent around him.
Ball scored 22 points on 7 of 12 shooting, 4 of 7 from three, and grabbed 6 rebounds, dished 5 assists, and snatched 4 steals in a stellar all-around effort in a game that had scouts from most of the NBA in attendance. According to ESPN there were 21 teams with scouts watching last nights game. Known for his outside scoring and wizardry passing the ball, Lonzo put his athleticism on display last night:
🚨🚨 MUST WATCH!!! 🚨🚨— UCLA Basketball (@UCLAMBB) February 5, 2017
Lonzo Ball finishes the alley-oop 💪💪💪 and now has 20 points!#GoBruins #UCLAvsUW pic.twitter.com/7I7zzyjvGX
Although his team lost by 41 don't think those scouts left last night down on Fultz. Markelle scored 25 points on 9 of 19 shooting, 5-10 from deep, and racked up 6 rebounds, 5 assists, and a trio of steals. His team was outmuscled on the boards (41-29) and the Huskies defense was completely overmatched by the UCLA powerhouse. Bruins coach Steve Alford said this was the best his team has played this season:
"The big difference was our defense. It was by far our best. ... I thought we were active, we got a lot of deflections and that led to open court play which our guy are really good in," Alford said.
On Lonzo Ball and the matchup with Fultz:
"It doesn't matter what hype he has as far as matchups and this kind of stuff. If you were with us the last two days, it was the same Lonzo each and every day. Lonzo just does what Lonzo does," UCLA coach Steve Alford said.
Ball was tremendous last night, but my money is still on Fultz if the Celtics get the 1st overall pick. I think both guys have tremendous ceilings in the NBA but Fultz is a slam dunk to become a star. He's got the total package in terms of scoring and playmaking, he's got great size for his position at 6'4, solid rebounder, he's a good defender, and just look at this shooting display from last night against some great defense:
If the C's get the number one pick, I want that guy. Plus at 6'4 I think he's a great fit to play alongside Isaiah Thomas. Even if they are both technically point-guards, Thomas plays great off the ball and Fultz is big enough to guard NBA shooting-guards. Imagine what a lineup of Isaiah, Fultz, and Jaylen Brown would be like in a couple of years?!
Related: Checking on potential Boston draft prospects, pre- trade deadline edition
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Mark Allison 2/05/2017 11:00:00 AM Tweet Edit