Milwaukee Bucks Head Coach Jason Kidd made waves in the days prior to his team’s game against the Los Angeles Lakers by saying that comparing rookie point guard Lonzo Ball to him was “a stretch.”
When the two teams finally met, Ball responded by becoming the youngest player in NBA history to get a triple-double against Kidd’s Bucks, a performance that left the NBA great impressed (via Tania Ganguli of the L.A. Times):
“Triple-double, that is going to be the norm for him, he is going to fill up the stat sheets,” Kidd said. “But we just got to give him time. We are trying to put him in a microwave and speed him up. He is going to make mistakes and he is going to have bad nights, but he competes and he is going to find a way to win.”
Averaging a triple-double like Russell Westbrook did on his way to an MVP award last season seems unlikely, but Ball’s averages as a rookie don’t make Kidd’s words seem totally unrealistic depending on one’s definition of “norm.”
Ball is already averaging 9.7 points, 6.8 rebounds and 7.4 assists in a Lakers’ offense that isn’t exactly filled with shooters and despite Ball’s own shooting struggles. Given Ball’s rebounding prowess at the age of 20, which will presumably only get better as he develops more physical strength, he should be able to get 10 rebounds, or close to it, on a semi-regular basis.
The same goes for double-digit assists, given Ball’s almost psychic ability to connect with open shooters. If he ever becomes even a league-average shooter, 10 points will also be nothing considering how much Ball will likely have the ball in his hands.
The enduring story of Ball’s rookie season has been his shooting, and that isn’t something to sweep under the rug. But perhaps the biggest takeaway should actually be the fact that he’s on triple-double watch nightly, and if Ball continues to find ways to impact tons of categories in the box score like he already has, then Kidd’s prediction of normalized triple-doubles might not seem too far off.
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