10/28 Utah Jazz vs. Los Angeles Lakers: Key match-up

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 10: Ricky Rubio (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 10: Ricky Rubio (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

Utah Jazz point guard RIcky Rubio and the Los Angeles Lakers’ Lonzo Ball go head-to-head in the backcourt. Both are pass-first guards and may be the key match-up in the contest.

I know, I know. Is Lonzo Ball the most over-hyped pick of the year? Maybe. Is it way too early to be making long-term career projections, let alone season projections? Yes, without a doubt. It’s only been four games, but ‘Zo is nearly averaging a triple double.

While he hasn’t looked as impressive as Ben Simmons, Ball has still done pretty well for himself, statistically speaking.


I’m not convinced that he’ll be able to put up these kinds of numbers against Ricky Rubio as a defender, though. Ball has already had a higher assist total in a game than Ricky and is averaging more assists overall.

And while Rubio has had double-digit assists in two outings, I’m still waiting for a “breakout” game. I’m hopeful this is the one. The Jazz may come out motivated after a bad loss and an even more embarrassing loss in the past week.

Once Rubio and Co. start to gel, I’m cautiously optimistic that he could put up Stockton-esque numbers on occasion with 15-plus assists and multiple steals.

The Numbers

I’m not going to bother with head-to-head stats for obvious reasons, but predictions are fair game.

One stat to call out: Rubio has been averaging 4.6 turnovers, the highest giveaway mark of his career, by far. This is most likely an early season thing while he adjusts to his new teammates, not something to be overly concerned about yet.

However, turnovers are still something to watch. The team has been addressing this in practice as they prepare for a long homestand.

There are some positives to look for, as well. What’s encouraging is that while assists and steals are slightly down and turnovers are nearly double from his career values, Rubio has increased in nearly every other statistic, including his field goal percentage and effective field goal percentage.

Per Game Table

Provided by Basketball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/28/2017.

More from The J-Notes

If Rubio can pull off a double-double with points and assists and Zo can be held to less than 10 assists, the Jazz will pull off the victory.

Because the Jazz offense has not started to roll yet, I also predict a too-close-for-comfort final score similar to the 107-100 prediction in our keys to the game.