One of the biggest arguments of this season has been whether Lonzo Ball can be the 3rd-best player on a championship level team.
He has played like it lately, putting up some monster numbers to help keep the Pelicans’ fledgling chances alive.
But has he done enough to secure his spot as part of the “Big 3” in the Big Easy?
I took a look at some of the contending teams in the NBA who have three players who are considered their “Big 3” to see how Long Ball stacks up.
Most of these guys are veterans, so one thing to take into consideration is that Lonzo Ball is not a finished product and should get better, though how much better could be the difference between the Pelicans being contenders or pretenders next season.
Here are some of the “3rd-best” players on contenders and how Lonzo Ball compares to them as far as talent, impact and future chances to win titles.
New Orleans Pelicans: The veteran point guards
The Utah Jazz are tied for the best record in the NBA behind a big three of Donovan Mitchell, Rudy Gobert and veteran point guard Mike Conley.
Conley is having one of his best seasons at age 33, has the best defensive rating in basketball and is still averaging 16.4 points and six assists even though he is no longer a first option.
He is a good comparison for Lonzo Ball in some ways, as both are well-rounded players who can defend their positions well and knock down 3-point shots.
Lonzo Ball is close to as good as Conley now and could surpass him if he continues to get better.
Some would argue that the Celtics aren’t title contenders but they definitely were coming into the season and still have the talent to win the Eastern Conference.
Behind Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, Walker is the third-best player. Walker is a more well-rounded scorer than Lonzo Ball and has topped the 20+ points per game mark five times in his career.
Walker and Lonzo are fairly even when it comes to passing and Lonzo is the better, more versatile defender, so this one is nearly a toss up and your opinion will probably go to which team you like more.
Can Lonzo Ball become a consistent 18-20 point per game scorer like Kemba Walker? If so, he will eventually be the better player, but right now it’s close.