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LeBron James says Lonzo Ball is ‘cat-quick’ on defense

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But is Lonzo Ball actually as quick as a cat? Let’s take a closer look at what the Lakers guard did to impress LeBron James against the Mavericks.

Dallas Mavericks v Los Angeles Lakers Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

Lonzo Ball was all over the place making an impact defensively as the Los Angeles Lakers came back from a sluggish start to beat the Dallas Mavericks in a 114-103 win on Friday night. Ball jumped passing lanes, smothered ballhandlers and stripped hapless post players en route to five steals while impressing teammate LeBron James along the way.

“He’s cat-quick. His length, his hands are very fast, very quick. His ability to pick up full court,” James said. “He doesn’t get tired. It allows us to extend our defense as well.”

Ball making such a positive difference defensively makes him an anomaly among young NBA players, who are often overmatched on that end of the floor. Lakers head coach Luke Walton even admitted that he and the rest of the coaching staff were “shocked” by Ball’s tenacity and competency when they initially brought him in last season.

“Defense is normally the last thing you do when you are a high draft pick. We saw his defensive instincts were way more advanced than we thought,” Walton said before adding that Ball has “been doing a really nice job of that lately.”

Our own Nicky Shapiro took a serious look at what Walton and James were praising in his latest breakdown, so that’s not what I’m here to do. Why double-up?

Instead, in the latest installment of Faker Film Room, I attempted to answer the most important question LeBron’s praise raised: Is Lonzo Ball actually as quick as a cat?

Let’s take a closer look:

As you can see, calling Ball ‘cat-quick’ is probably an understatement. He’s even quicker than a cat, and if he can start putting together strings (yarns?) of efforts like the one he had against the Mavericks, the Lakers are going to have a pretty purrfect prospect on their hands.

All quotes obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. All stats per NBA.com and Basketball-Reference.com. You can follow Harrison on Twitter at @hmfaigen.