Lonzo Ball and De’Aaron Fox’s careers will forever be linked together. Both are apart of the 2017 draft class. Ball was drafted second overall by the Los Angeles Lakers and Fox was taken fifth by the Sacramento Kings. Fox has flourished in is the second year with the Kings averaging 17.5 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 7.2 assists. He is shooting 46% from the field, 36% from three, and 72% from the free throw line. Ball has been up and down with his play. Averaging 9.9 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 5.4 assists. He’s shooting 40% from the field, 32% From three, and 41% from the free throw line. No that is not a typo Ball has one of the worst free throw percentages in league history.
Ball’s name has recently been at the forefront in the Anthony Davis trade news as one of the players who would be put into a trade package for Anthony Davis. Ball was supposed to be one of the cornerstone pieces to help return the Lakers to prominence, but after two seasons he would be the second young point guard that the Lakers would have traded away in recent years. The Lakers traded the fellow number two pick D’Angelo Russell to Brooklyn Nets in 2017. Russell who is having a great season was recently named to the All-Star team.
Fox currently has the Kings ninth in the western conference as they fight to make the playoffs in the highly competitive western conference. Ball has shown flashes at times with his court vision, and his defensive ability. Fox has improved his jump shot which is reflected in his percentages and has allowed him to use his best attribute which is his blazing speed and his ability to attack the basket. Although Ball’s shooting percentages have improved he still at times struggles from three and his free throw shooting has been an abomination.
Fox plays with an overall fire and passion that Ball lacks. At times Lakers coach Luke Walton has questioned Ball’s sense of urgency and intensity game to game. Ball by nature is a laid back player some people inside the Lakers organization question if Ball has the personality to be a leader of a franchise. The difference in personality was on full display when the two matched up back in college. In an NCAA Tournament game, Fox set out to prove to the world and to Ball he was the better player. He dominated the game completely destroying Ball and taking his heart. He scored 39 points on 20 shots while Ball went 4-10 from the field scoring 10 points. If you were able to watch the game Ball had only scored 6 points with 2 minutes left in the game. He would score two late baskets when the game was no longer in doubt and it was obvious that Kentucky was going to win. Fox played like a player who had something to prove and was up for the challenge. Fox’s stock would skyrocket after his performance. As for Ball, there is an old saying, that states ”pressure bust pipes”, and Ball definitely folded and broke under the pressure of performing on the big stage.
Now fast forward to this season and the trade deadline on Thursday. Lavar Ball came out and said he wants his son traded to the Pheonix Suns or the Chicago Bulls, and not the Pelicans. He goes on to say on a Pheonix radio show that Luke Walton is the worst coach his son has ever played for. Ball is trying his best to deflect the spotlight from his son, and blame others for his son's inconsistent play early in his career. Stephen A. Smith of ESPN came out and said that Lakers President Magic Johnson did not want to draft Ball, but he wanted Fox instead. It was controlling owner Jennie Buss who wanted to draft Ball.
I felt Fox was a better prospect than Ball when they were coming out of college. Fox is a better athlete, shooter, and his overall leadership is at an elite level. He plays with passion and possesses an ”it” factor that jumps off the screen when he's playing. While Ball is an exceptional passer his lack of consistent energy and passion is a huge red flag. It might be better if he leaves the bright lights of the Lakers organization.
Playing in Los Angeles is not for everyone and LeBron coming to LA has done nothing, but heighten expectations and speed up the clock on winning a championship. Ball can still reach his full potential and become an All-Star, but he's going to reach this potential with another franchise. Fox, on the other hand, is well on his way to a Hall of Fame career and is a candidate for this season's most improved player award. He has brought the Kings back to respectability as a franchise, and no longer the laughing stock of the league. It has not been this much excitement in Sacramento since the days of Chris Webber, Jason Williams, Doug Christie, Vlade Divac, and Mike Bibby. The future is definitely bright in Sac-town as they make a push for the playoffs. When it's all said and their careers are officially over. The History books will read the ”Fox dominates the ”Ball”.