Los Angeles Lakers point guard Lonzo Ball has already managed two triple-doubles in the first 17 games of his NBA career, tying him with LeBron James for being the youngest player to ever notch two such games.
James is a historical great, but Ball has his eyes on getting six more triple-doubles so he can chase a more familiar historical figure: former Lakers point guard and current president of basketball operations Magic Johnson.
He holds the current record with seven triple-doubles during his own rookie campaign. “Hopefully I’ll beat that record,” Ball said. But don’t expect to see him padding his stats to chase it.
“I’ll just go out there and play. If it happens, it happens. If not, it’s OK,” Ball said.
Ball has a decent chance to do it with 65 games remaining. His averages of 8.9 points, 7.1 assists and 7.1 rebounds leave him on triple-double watch on a nightly basis, so getting six more of them with more than 75 percent of the season remaining seems eminently doable.
That’s especially true with the pace the Lakers play at, even if Ball doesn’t shamelessly look to boost his own stats a la Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook last season.
If Ball’s shot comes around a bit and he continues to attack the boards to start fast breaks, then points and rebounds will come, and his passing all but ensures he’s within range of 10 assists every night.
Ball isn’t going to average a triple-double, but getting just a handful more seems like a strong possibility if he remains healthy.
Ball passing Johnson would also make the latter look somewhat prophetic after he asked Ball at his introductory press conference to leave a few of his records intact. This triple-double benchmark might not be one of them, but it’s safe to say that Johnson in all likelihood would be pretty pleased about that.
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