The 76ers will be without center Jahlil Okafor and forward Robert Covington for the remainder of the season.
Counting Friday night’s battle against the Cavaliers, the two starters will miss the last seven games of the regular season.
“Markelle’s a great player, but I feel I’m better than him,” Ball said on ESPN 710 LA. “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 declared for the NBA draft after the Bruins were ousted from the NCAA Tournament, where he and Fultz are considered top prospects.
However, Ball and UCLA crushed the Huskies both times they met this season by at least thirty points.
Even though Fultz averaged 23.2 points, 5.7 rebounds and 5.9 assists per game, Washington only won nine games this season. Ball posted 7.7 assists per game and 14.6 points, but UCLA fared much better with a 27-3 mark.
Both are freshman, but UCLA’s success could give Ball an edge in the upcoming draft.
The Celtics run a lot of side pick-and-rolls with Thomas as the ball handler while overloading the weak side with shooters. It gives Thomas and the roller plenty of space without having to worry about a third defender obstructing his path to the basket.
As we’ve already touched on, Thomas is also comfortable playing without the ball in his hands. He told reporters in January that it’s nearly impossible for defenders to chase him around screens and catch up with him once he’s gained a step on them. It becomes especially useful in fourth quarters when teams begin to load up on him in an attempt to limit his touches because it means they have to account for him at all times.