Debates raged about many top prospects in the lead-up to the 2017 NBA Draft. While new Philadelphia 76ers point guard Markelle Fultz was commonly agreed upon as the top prospect, there was less of a consensus on the identity of the second-most likely future star. Was it UCLA point guard Lonzo Ball, who will be tasked with leading the Los Angeles Lakers’ return to contention? Or was it Kansas wing Josh Jackson, the No. 4 pick of the Phoenix Suns and a multi-faceted talent who seems to fit in with many of the prevailing trends of this era?
It should take years before we’re able to answer these questions with any certainty. In their first full days as NBA employees on Friday, though, Ball pulled out just a little ahead. And he did it by throwing a baseball.
Both Ball and Jackson were asked to throw out the ceremonial first pitches for the Major League Baseball clubs in their new towns — the Los Angeles Dodgers for the former and the Arizona Diamondbacks for the latter.
Ball threw to Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen, who wore a Magic Johnson jersey to fit the moment. His pitch was high, but mostly fine as far as such things go:
Jackson threw alongside Arizona Cardinals linebacker Haason Reddick, the No. 13 selection in April’s NFL Draft. He did not measure up to Ball. In fact, his first pitch ranks alongside some of the worst we’ve ever seen:
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) June 24, 2017
Yikes. Did Jackson even try to throw before he took the mound? We know Ball did:
Ball was widely pegged as one of the best passers in this draft class, but Jackson also won raves for his ability as a playmaker. Here’s hoping things go better for him when he debuts at Summer League next month. This first impression is meaningless when it comes to basketball, but he might want to put up some highlights soon so everyone forgets it.
Or maybe we’re overdoing it. Boston Red Sox legend David Ortiz had his jersey retired on Friday, and his first pitch wasn’t much better:
David Ortiz's first pitch was almost 50 Cent-bad. pic.twitter.com/mtDDFxYKmB
— Joon Lee (@iamjoonlee) June 23, 2017
That settles it, then. Josh Jackson projects as a designated hitter.
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