DA's Morning Tip

Morning Tip Mailbag: Your questions on Lonzo Ball, Bradley Beal and John Wall and more

(Ricky) don’t lose that number/You don’t want to call nobody else.

From Basilio Reyes:

Is Lonzo Ball more a Ricky Rubio than a Jason Kidd after his first 11 games?

Interesting comparison, Basilio. Most folks have indeed compared Ball to Kidd — a comparison Kidd apparently does not buy. And, I do think Kidd was more impactful defensively as a rookie that Ball has been, at least so far. I’d say there were more expectations on Rubio as an offensive player when he came to the NBA in 2011 than as a defender, while everyone knew that Ball had some ways to go offensively to be a consistent contributor.

But, let’s look through each guy’s first couple of weeks in the NBA:

Name | Games Played/Starts | PPG | APG | RPG | SPG | FG% | 3pt FG% | FT%

Rubio | 13/3 | 10.8 ppg | 8.3 apg | 4.4 rpg | 2.0 spg | 44.6% | 44.0% | 76.9 %

Kidd | 13/3 | 9.6 ppg | 6.0 apg | 6.2 rpg | 2.2 spg | 32.5% | 14.7% | 73.3%

Ball | 13/13 | 9.7 ppg | 7.4 apg | 6.8 rpg | 1.3 spg | 31.4% | 25.0% | 48.0%

Other than rebounding, it certainly looks like Rubio did everything better at the start of his career than Ball has done. (And yet Ball became the youngest player in NBA history to record a triple double in the Lakers’ loss to the Bucks Saturday.) Ball’s line does seem to dovetail much more with Kidd’s during the same stretch of games — both are struggling terribly shooting the ball, especially from deep.

Changing Administrations in D.C.? From Robert Huie:

Do you think its time to re-evaluate the Bradley Beal and John Wall backcourt, given beal’s success in the previous games without Wall and the recent Wizards’ struggles …

Beal seemed more comfortable out there without Wall, finding ways to score and creating better shots for himself.

No, Robert, I don’t. No serious critique of the Wizards would involve any discussion of the team being “better” without its four-time All-Star point guard. If you’re saying Wall must make better decisions in close games and that the Wizards should run more plays for Beal in crunch time, I agree with you. Beal has become very good with the ball in his hands, and has earned more end-game looks; Wall has struggled to be consistent on isos and high ball screens late in games, when teams go under and keep him from getting to the basket.

But if you’re arguing the Wizards would be better overall without him, you’re dead wrong. Washington is a near-elite team only because Wall is a near-elite player. His consistency at the defensive end is what keeps him from being a top 10 player. When he’s locked in, engaged, doesn’t gamble for steals and gets through screens, the Wizards can beat anybody. The opposite is true when he’s indifferent at that end of the floor.

Trying to make sense out of the senseless. From H.R. Bailey:

I believe there are many issues that underlie the mass shootings.

1. Mental health: with the massive growth of U.S. population and the declining budgets for treatment of mental illness, more mentally ill people are on their own. Many of the shootings are done by people with mental illnesses.

2. Technology has enabled us to vocalize and spread our frustration and hate. The leaders of the House and Senate set the example by not even attempting to work together.

3. Historians verify that power and greed, not race or ethnicity, are at the heart of inequality and social injustice. It follows that if another were power in the U.S., the issues would still be the same.

4. We continue to allow alcohol to be legal and pervasive in our nation. This drug is responsible for much illness, death, crime, and family dysfunction.

5. I’m all for tighter gun control, but it won’t stop these rare, isolated mass shootings. We should set our sights on the larger issues of how to live together in harmony.

Agree on 1 — we’ve never adequately addressed mental health issues in this country, and certainly not since Vietnam/Gulf Wars. Agree on 2 — Twitter, et.al., make us all feel on edge, with their constant democratization of argument without facts or context. A qualified agreement on 4 (while alcohol abuse remains a significant issue, drug use and abuse — of legal as well as illegal drugs — has eviscerated large swaths of the country; the opioid epidemic, like the crack epidemic a generation ago, has been devastating and our national addition to medication leaves us all slaves to Big Pharma). Agree to a degree on 5 (while it’s true no law/laws will eliminate mass shootings, the glut of automatic and semi-automatic weapons combined with swiss cheese regulations of same make access to such guns far too easy for far too many people who shouldn’t have them).

But no — hell, no — on 3. I am not sure about the “historians” you’ve read and cite here, but racism and misogyny have driven, and continue to drive every outcome when it comes to inequality in this nation, from employment to housing to business to criminal justice. Period.

Send your questions, comments and enhanced security plans to fence in the incredibly slippery and elusive semi-aquatic among us mammals to daldridgetnt@gmail.com. If your e-mail is funny, thought-provoking or snarky, we just might publish it!


(Last week’s averages in parenthesis)

1) James Harden (33 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 12 apg, .418 FG, .848 FT): Playing as efficiently as he ever has in his career, not forcing shots and shrugging off the occasional bad shooting night.

2) LeBron James (27.3 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 6.7 apg, .534 FG, .762 FT): This is so disrespectful to your elders.

3) Giannis Antetokounmpo (33.7 ppg, 12 rpg, 3.7 apg, .625 FG, .700 FT): Beat down the Spurs in San Antonio Friday, showing how devastating he and Eric Bledsoe could be together.

4) Kevin Durant (25 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 5 apg, .516 FG, 1.000 FT): Efficiency is off the charts as KD again starts an assault on the 190 Club (50 percent shooting, 40 percent on 3-pointers, 90 percent from the line). After returning from a thigh contusion to go for 29 points on 11 of 18 shooting, including 3 of 6 on 3-pointers and 4 of 4 free throws, KD’s currently a little short of 190 status (.488/.381/.882).

5) DeMarcus Cousins (29 ppg, 14.3 rpg, 5.3 apg, .472 FG, .563 FT): You always start a revolution by indoctrinating the young first. Their loved ones will have no choice but to follow.


75 — Games over the last two NBA seasons for Joakim Noah, who played in his first game of this season on Sunday after missing the first 20 games of the season due to suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy.

32 — Years, by 2020, since Chicago last hosted an All-Star weekend. The city was awarded the 2020 game last week by the NBA, for the first time since 1988 — the year Michael Jordan won his, uh, controversial Slam Dunk title over Dominique Wilkins in front of the home crowd. Chicago will follow Los Angeles (2018) and Charlotte (2019).

17 — Coaches in NBA history with 700 or more career victories. Dallas’ Rick Carlisle is four wins shy of joining that group. Per the league, Carlisle is tied with former Knicks coach Red Holzman for 18th on the all-time wins list with 696; after Sunday’s loss to the Thunder, Carlisle is 696-532 (.567) in 16 seasons as a coach.


1) Sometimes, teams make the exact right move at the exact right time. Milwaukee getting Eric Bledsoe has that feel. Even though I thought Denver was more likely than the Bucks to get a deal done with Phoenix, I also said on 10 Before Tip a couple of weeks ago that Milwaukee would be a better fit for Bledsoe than the Nuggets. And, he is. Getting Giannis Antetokounmpo off the ball on occasion will keep him fresher and create much more havoc on the weak side. And Bledsoe’s defensive abilities should only create more turnovers and runouts, and that’s prime Bucks meat.

2) Pro Athletes: they’re just like you and me! (No, they aren’t.)

3) Thursday night at 8 should provide you with a fairly good exhibition of professional basketball between the home team from Boston and the visiting team from the Bay Area of California, which has won two of the last three NBA championships.

4) The canine equivalent of “jumped back — kissed myself”.


1) In 2010, I was fortunate enough to cover Roy Halliday’s playoff no-hitter with the Phillies — just the second such game in the history of Major League Baseball, after Don Larsen’s perfect game for the Yankees — as part of Turner’s baseball crew. I have never looked at the video of that game, because the moment was so grand and I felt so inadequate trying to live up to it, and to interviewing him afterward. He was such a great pitcher that day, and so many other days, mostly for Toronto and Philadelphia. And, by all accounts, he was a better teammate and person, singularly devoted to excellence at his craft. It was so devastating to hear of his death last week at age 40, while at the controls of his private plane. I can only hope that his family finds some level of comfort and peace in the difficult weeks and months ahead.

2) Utah has already had enough on- and off-court angst the last few months to last a lifetime. The last thing the Jazz needed was for Rudy Gobert to go down and miss significant time. But, he’s out a month at least, and Quin Snyder will have to create new ways for his team to generate buckets and get stops in his absence.

3) The Clippers’ good start will be a long-forgotten memory if they can’t shore things up defensively: they gave up 117 points and allowed their opponents to shoot .529 overall (including 32-70 on threes: 45.7 percent) in losses last week to the Spurs, Thunder and Pelicans.

4) Time for a refresher: while I think this was an insane overreaction, the company involved did not violate this woman’s First Amendment right to free speech. The First Amendment — again — does not apply to private companies or entities. It only prohibits the government from taking action against citizens for expressing themselves; the first five words are “Congress Shall Make No Law,” not “Akima Shall Make No Law.” The First Amendment gives you the right to free speech. It does not protect you from consequences if your company does not like that speech.

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Longtime NBA reporter, columnist and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer David Aldridge is an analyst for TNT. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here andfollow him on Twitter.

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting.