Celtics Blog 2017-

Post Trade Deadline.

Lonzo Fultz: Part II.

By Tom Mahoney

If Ball is 1A than 1B is Fultz, and still more 1A for most teams. "I'm sticking with Fultz," a scout said. "Realistically, I don’t think there is anything left to see." But I'm not confident I could pass on Fultz if I had the 1st Pick. I think it could be way more interesting on Draft Night than normal to see who goes 1st.

Fultz has answered every question scouts had about him this season. "I thought it was going to be way harder than this," Fultz said about college ball. "Everybody telling me everyone is a lot stronger and athletic, and that’s true, but my scoring ability, it feels the way that it did in high school." Great backdoor passer, which is one my favorite passes. Plays with his head up and sees what his teammates are doing and where to go with the ball. He has some physicality in his game.

He can post up the other PG, knock him down with his shoulder, and convert lefty. Great leaper. "I've always been the type to do something and not talk about it," Fultz said. "It hasn’t really gotten to me. I don’t let it come out on the court because I don’t want other people to see it. I am used to failure. In order to be good, you have to fail, so that’s the way I look at it. There’s always something positive in everything you do so I just look at it like that." He is so young that his poise and presence is very impressive. 

He is a terrific entry passer, and can consistently give his teammate a free layup. "I think Ball is a potential difference-maker on your team above and beyond North Carolina State's Dennis Smith Jr. for his ability to make others better," an anonymous scout said. A Point Guards main job is to make others better. 

He can swing the ball over to his left while attacking the hoop, and shoot it lefty. Nice double clutch when he gets wham-boozled by a defender, and can get it near the rim as the whistle blows. "Of course, I wish we would have had some more wins," Fultz said, "But everything happens for a reason, as my mom always tells me. And I’m just blessed to have this opportunity to go through this with this team and become a better leader, which is helping me. I just like challenges and this is just another challenge in my life and I still have belief." Terrific drawing in the double, and bouncing the ball to a teammate. He loves the bounce pass. 

Smooth and calm headed leader of the offense. "It’s kind of hard to find a weaknesses with Markelle," an anonymous scout said. "He does a lot of things really well." He knows how to hit his teammates where they like to score. 

He winds up a little on his jumper when he is aiming. But he does have some nice touch on his jumper. He draws a ton of fouls. Turns his body nicely in the air when attacking the hoop to stick his left shoulder into the defender, and seems to hook it a little. Terrific Jumper. I love the form and snap in his wrist when he shoots. 

He uses his legs with excellent explosion on his Jumper. It's rare to see a guy who can pass as well as he does, and have as great a Jumper as he has. He showed some clutch on his Jumper as well.  He rose up over two defenders, and hit a buzzer beater to end the 1st Half with a tie against Arizona. And yes I know it was just the 1st Half, but it was a beautiful shot.

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And 1A is Ball. He is such a unique passer that he keeps reminding me of Jason Kidd at Cal. "In today's NBA, your point guard has to score," a scout said. "Can he score at this level? Maybe. But I don't know that for sure. And his jumper is funky." His jumper starts off almost unacceptably, but ends with a copy of Steph Curry's Jumper.

He starts his jumper amazingly awkwardly with the ball to the side, snaps it to the middle, and ends it with that odd Curry ultra low release point of his jumper, and his arm in a Z. "I’ve told him, the prettiest shots are the ones that go in," Alford said. "And his shot is pretty pretty right now." He makes the shot, and he has a lighting release as well.

He will be a top pick and roll point guard in the NBA. "The NBA, especially in the playoffs, comes down to grinding it out and whether he can blow past his guy or be effective in a pick-and-roll action in the half-court versus always just pushing it," a scout said. "Right now he’s kind of considered a guy that maybe does have a ceiling. To where he can be a very, very good pro, and always be a guy that can run your team, but is he going to be the next great one? You’ve got to have a lot going for you to be that next great one and I think that’s definitely a question mark if he can do that." I don't.

Great quick hands to reach in and slap out the ball as the other PG tries to drive by him. "All I do is go out and play basketball, man," Lonzo said. His way over exuberant father seems to be his biggest negative. His Father, LaVar, tweeted "My son will only play for the Lakers." He was my top player in the Draft before that foolishness. 

As a father I get why he did it, but he has to chill. "All I said was that my boy is going to play for the Lakers, and I'm going to speak it into existence," LaVar Ball said, trying to clear up the mess he made for his son. "I want him to be a Laker, but I wasn't saying he's only going to play for the Lakers. I'm not trying to say he won't play for a different team. But I'd like him to play for the Lakers because it's home, and I'd love him to learn from Magic. He's the best guard ever to me, and nobody better for Lonzo to learn from than Magic Johnson." Okay, that was a good point. 

But now because of his father, if you're the team with the with the 1st Pick in the Draft, is the deciding factor for you is that you think Fultz will be easier to sign after his rookie contract? It is that close between them. And if Ball wants to go back to L.A. to play, like George? Then I take Fultz. Even though I am saying that Ball has a slightly better chance of being a transcendent player than Fultz. But those are LaMar's words not Lonzo's, and I don't want to hold him accountable for the sins of his father.

Ball has great quick hands jabbing at the ball like a boxer. He was shooting 43% from Three 3/4 of the way through the season. "I think Lonzo has made up ground [on Fultz]," a scout said. "To the point where he would be a better fit for some teams drafting No. 1 overall, but probably not most." He would fit perfectly with Isaiah, as the big PG who can cover 2s, and Thomas can score and cover the smaller guard.

It will be interesting to watch him in the Tournament. "We’re in a pretty good spot, you know?" Ball said. "Really can’t have no complaints." I think he looked taller in February than he did in December. He can block the shot of the smaller guys on one on ones and fastbreaks with relative ease. 

He is a terrific defender. "He's a good player," one scout said. "I like him. But he's not without flaws." Great one handed passer off the dribble. He can tip the rebound back, and turn it into a pass to an open teammate. He is such a great natural passer. 

He just plays at a different level mentally than everyone else on the court. "Ball has looked great so far but hasn't really played against tough competition," a scout said. "So I can't wait to see him against Kentucky. Let's see what he does against Kentucky." He garnered 14-point, 7-assists, and 6-rebounds against Kentucky. 

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