According to One Metric, Lonzo Ball Is the Best Player in the NBA Right Now

FiveThirtyEight's RAPTOR rating system has Ball's brother LaMelo ranked as the NBA's fourth-best player

Lonzo Ball of the Chicago Bulls dribbles up court in Toronto. According to one metric, Ball is currently the NBA's best player.
Lonzo Ball of the Chicago Bulls dribbles up court in Toronto on Oct. 25.
Cole Burston / Getty Images

According to wins above replacement calculations done by FiveThirtyEight’s RAPTOR rating system, Lonzo Ball is the NBA’s best player so far this season.

Projected as a future All-Star by the site prior to the season, Ball leads the league with a 1.0 WAR followed by Mike Conley and Domantas Sabonis at 0.9 and LaMelo Ball, Jimmy Butler, Kevin Durant, Nikola Jokic, Derrick Rose and Derrick White at 0.8.

“Our ratings, updated daily, use play-by-play and player-tracking data to calculate each player’s individual plus-minus measurements and wins above replacement, which accounts for playing time,” per FiveThirtyEight. “Players eligible for leaderboards are those who have played in at least 70% of their team’s games and average at least 24 minutes per game (including stats from the regular season and playoffs).”

Getting it done on both ends of the floor thus far this season, the former Laker and Pelican became the first player in NBA history to record a triple-double with three different teams before turning 24 when he had 17 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists against New Orleans (the team that signed-and-traded him away this offseason) last week.

“I only can control what I can control,” Ball said after notching the eighth triple-double of his five-season career. “I’m where I want to be. And I’m happy to be here. It being the home opener, everyone is going to come out a little extra hyped. To me, it’s just coming in every game and wanting to win that game. And trying to do the best I can to help my team win that night. That’s all it’s really about no matter who the opponent is.”

It was a timely performance for the young Bull in order to make history as he turned 24 today.

Undefeated as Bull (4-0), Ball is averaging about 14 points, six rebounds and five assists to go along with two steals and three 3-pointers in 36 minutes per game for Chicago. “I have a good understanding of everybody’s game right now,” he said. “I think we have a positive outlook on everything. This is a brand-new situation for a lot of guys, including myself, but I think we had a great training camp, pretty good preseason and we’re all excited to play.”

The Bulls, who went 4-0 in the preseason, will host the Knicks (3-1) on Thursday before hosting the Jazz (3-0) on Saturday.

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