TIM Cone saw LA Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball saw action in the recent NBA Summer League.
And guess who among his Barangay Ginebra players came to mind upon seeing the No. 2 overall pick in this year’s draft move inside the court? No less than sophomore guard Scottie Thompson.
Cone said Thompson’s infectious plays, which were in full display in the Kings’ 120-99 demolition of KIA Picanto in the PBA Governors Cup on Wednesday night, are very similar to the 19-year-old Ball's.
“At this point in this upcoming NBA season, I think the guy that finally resembles Scottie Thompson will be Lonzo Ball,” Cone declared in his post-game interview inside the press room of the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“I got the chance to watch him in the Summer League and he reminded me so much of Scottie Thompson, with the things he does. They don’t shoot the same way, but when he started passing the ball, the whole team starts passing the ball.”
The Ginebra sophomore did play like Ball against KIA. While he was limited to just four points (2-of-5 shooting) and three rebounds, Thompson finished with a game-high 10 assists in leading the total 39 feeds dished off by the Kings.
The 39 assists were the most by a ballclub in 14 years, according to PBA statistician Fidel Mangonon III, or since TnT Katropa posted the same numbers against Sta. Lucia during the battle for third place in the 2003 Reinforced Conference.
While Cone acknowledged veteran guard LA Tenorio remains very much the leader of Ginebra, it’s Thompson who really makes a special impact among his teammates.
Cone cited as example fellow young guard Paolo Taha.
“You watch Paolo Taha get the rebound and he’s like a Scottie clone going for the rebound,” explained the Ginebra mentor. “Again, that’s infectious. If he can do it, I can do it.
“And that’s what makes him a special player. That’s what makes Scottie special, really, with the infectious attitude that he has.”
And that makes Cone remember Ball more as the freshman guard out of UCLA won MVP honor in the Summer League, which the Lakers won.
“He’s a (Ball) good shooter but an inconsistent shooter. And Scottie hasn’t become a consistent shooter yet. They’re very similar in style and Scottie is big in his position and so is Lonzo Ball,” said Cone.
“The more you see him (Lonzo), the more you see Scottie.”