The Los Angeles Lakers ushered in a new era of optimism when they selected UCLA guard Lonzo Ball with the second overall pick in the draft. Magic Johnson is hoping that Ball’s pass-first style and leadership will raise the level of play of his teammates, much like Magic himself did with the Showtime Lakers in the 80’s. Player comparisons can be difficult, but one that seems to be fairly close has likened Ball to a modern-day Jason Kidd.
Ball is a big guard who excels at running a team, so one can see some validity to the Kidd comparisons. He is fairly unique as a player so it’s not a perfect fit, but Kidd appeared to be flattered by the comparison when asked about it by Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times:
“It’s a great compliment,” Kidd said. “But everybody is different at the end of the day. There’s always comparisons of the great players in this league. Of Magic [Johnson], Michael [Jordan], Larry [Bird]. There’s always guys who come before for these young players to be compared to. It’s a great compliment. We’ll see.”
Kidd is correct in that every player has their own style and ultimately puts their own spin on things. Kidd also believes that Ball knows how to win and make players around him better:
“He has a skill set,” said Kidd, now the Bucks’ head coach. “He can make the game easy for guys who can score the ball. He knows how to win. He has a very high IQ, basketball IQ.”
The Lakers are currently playing in the Las Vegas Summer League, and with the small sample size of games, the highs and lows can be a bit of a roller coaster. One day Ball doesn’t look great, the next he appears to be a future All-Star.
However, if Kidd’s assessment is correct, then the Lakers have found themselves a very special player.