The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Two guards get the point

The 2017 NBA draft has been consistently dubbed as a loaded draft.
FILE – In this Jan. 29, 2017, file photo, Washington guard Markelle Fultz (20) is shown during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Arizona, in Tucson, Ariz. Fultz is the likely No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft on Thursday night, June 22. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri, File)

Some experts say this draft rivals the highly touted 1996 and 2003 drafts.

Most of the hype comes from the two guys who could go No. 1 or No. 2 in the draft, Lonzo Ball and Markelle Fultz.

So the biggest question is, who will have the biggest impact in the NBA after they are drafted?

Lonzo Ball

While his first shoe release might have been an utter failure, Lonzo Ball will rebound and have a successful career with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Although most of what comes out of father LaVar Ball’s mouth is just a publicity stunt, he has gotten one thing right, and that is that his son seems to make everyone playing around him better.

The year before Ball arrived at UCLA, it went 15-17, missed the NCAA Tournament, and Bruin fans were calling for coach Steve Alford’s head. The next season Ball put on the UCLA uniform, and the Bruins went 31-5, only losing in the Sweet 16 to Kentucky.

He is primed to be taken second in the draft by the Lakers, which could be a match made in heaven.

Like pre-Lonzo UCLA, the Lakers have struggled in its past few seasons after star Kobe retired. So maybe the Chino Hills native is next in line for the throne?

With Magic Johnson now the president of basketball operations, Ball might gain a mentor. Both guys are tall, pass-first point guards who aim to make the team around them better.

So Ball might go second in the draft but with hopes to beat Markelle Fultz in the Rookie of the Year race. With a talented young roster around him, Ball should be able to prove to be the better NBA player than Fultz.

— Jordan Zuniga

Markelle Fultz

Markelle Fultz will be a better player in the NBA than Lonzo Ball because of his ability to do things needed to thrive at the next level.

Now, Ball is a great player and will definitely be a solid player in the league. However, Fultz has the edge and the ability to do the things that are necessary in the NBA.

He is a superb in the pick and roll, because he can do everything that makes him a nightmare for opposing defenses.

An NBA point guard will need to be able to set his teammates up, and Fultz has proved he can do just that in his time at Washington.

According to FiveThirtyEight, the Huskies were ranked No. 333 out of 351 schools in points per 100 plays on spot-up jumpers when Fultz wasn’t taking the shot or setting it up in a pick and roll.

On the flip side, when he was taking the shot or setting things up, Washington became one of the better shooting teams in the country.

In a league that is becoming more focused on shooting and 3-pointers, his ability to create shots and to knock down pull-up jumpers down is big.

Finally, in his lone season in a Huskie uniform, Fultz showed a serious knack for finishing at the rim.

That’s what makes a pick and roll so dangerous. When players such as James Harden and Russell Westbrook run their offense, they can do all three of those things.

When it comes to determining the better player of the future, it’s not about what Ball can’t do, it’s about how good Fultz is at doing what he can do.

— Pete Ruden

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