Lonzo Ball and Markelle Fultz, currently thought to be the top two picks for the 2017 NBA Draft, are already developing a rivalry. It’s a friendly one, the type of rivalry that makes sports even better. We’re all for it.
On Tuesday, Ball told ESPN 710 Los Angeles that he felt he was better than Fultz.
“Markelle's a great player, but I feel I'm better than him,” Ball said during an interview. “I think I can lead a team better than him. Obviously he's a great scorer — he's a great player, so I'm not taking that away from him.”
Ball is totally justified feeling like he’s better, just like Fultz should feel he’s better than Ball. That’s the confidence you’d expect from a highly regarded lottery pick. Fultz didn’t respond directly, but you should check out the likes section on his Twitter — here are a few tweets that show up there.
The passive-aggressive Twitter like is one of the best social media flexes available, so that makes sense. The one I love even more is this tweet, from a random Twitter user with less than 600 followers. He watched UCLA and Lonzo Ball lose in the NCAA tournament, felt that really showed him something, and decided to tag Fultz in it — so Fultz liked it.
It ended up getting two likes.
Fultz has also been liking tweets that just say Ball — and other point guard prospects like Dennis Smith Jr. — are committing for the draft, so this is all friendly gestures. On Wednesday, Fultz did tweet this, which pretty clearly seems like a response to Ball’s comments, albeit one that didn’t directly name him or anything.
In the words of Marshawn Lynch " I'm about that action"— Markelle Fultz (@MarkelleF) March 29, 2017
So let’s see: how do Ball and Fultz stack up?
Right now, Ball and Fultz have played twice, and Ball is 2-0.
UCLA and Washington played twice this season, but Fultz sat out of the second game. In the first one, the Bruins trounced the Huskies in a 107-66 win. Of course, UCLA had a very talented roster this year, while Washington finished with a losing record and failed to make the tournament.
In that game, though, Fultz at least held his own. He scored 25 points on 9-of-19 shooting, with six rebounds, five assists, and three steals. Ball dropped 22 points on 7-of-12 shooting with six rebounds, five assists, and four steals.
The two also faced each other on different teams during the 2016 All-American game. Ball’s team won out 114-107, with Ball going scoreless but recording 13 assists with only one turnover. Fultz came off the bench for the East team, scoring 10 points on 4-of-12 shooting with six assists and three steals.
We can’t wait until the first time these two face off against each other as rookies.