Whether their careers or their peak skill levels will bear any resemblance to each other remains to be seen. But in their starts, so far, have been some similarities. Through his first 12 games, Kidd averaged 9.6 points, 6.25 assists, 6.42 rebounds per game and made 34.5 percent of his shots. Ball has averaged 8.9 points, 6.9 assists and 6.4 rebounds per game, while making 29 percent of his shots.
Kidd shot the ball much better by the end of his rookie year. He finished the year making 40 percent of his shots, something that was mentioned to Ball this week during a postgame interview.
"Everybody has a different path," Ball said. "When it's your job, it's your decision to get better every day and work at it every day and just come ready to work and do what you can for your team."
A college try
The Lakers draft class includes plenty of college experience. Josh Hart, whom the Lakers took 30th overall, played all four years of college. Kyle Kuzma, whom the Lakers took 27th, left after his junior year of college, but did spend four years in school and earned his degree.
"I think it helps with at least Josh and Kuz that they actually went to college for a few years and played for very good coaches that teach the fundamentals of defense and positioning and how to do those things," Lakers coach Luke Walton said.
Walton spent four years at the University of Arizona before the Lakers drafted him in 2003. And while he believes there is some truth to the idea that the longer a player is in college, the lower their ceiling is, he doesn't believe that predicts a player's future.
"I'd rather have a kid who played three years and proved that he got better each year and played under a coach that taught him the right and wrong way of playing basketball as opposed to an 18-year-old kid that has no idea what a good shot or bad shot is," Walton said. "I'll take the kid that actually played in college if everything else is equal."
Julius Randle is the only player in the NBA averaging 11 or more points and six or more rebounds in 20 or fewer minutes per game. His 60.7 field-goal percentage is the sixth best among qualifying players in the NBA. ... So far this season, the Lakers rank fourth in bench production. Their bench scores 42.8 points per game.
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