While the NBA playoffs have been thrilling, there is arguably nothing bigger going on right now than the third installment of Marvel’s Avengers films, “Avengers: Infinity War.” The movie is expected to shatter box office records and change the course of history. Okay, maybe not that last part, but it’s kind of a big deal.
Upon leaving the theater on Thursday night, however, I was thinking to myself, as one does, “What roles would the Lakers have in the Avengers?” Some of the answers were more obvious than others, but to answer these questions I put together a list of players and their Avenger counterparts. Here is that list.
Editor’s note: This article DOES NOT contain “Avengers: Infinity War” spoilers, so please avoid spoilers in the comments section. Also, if you’re reading this and you haven’t seen the film, go see it now. It’s really, really good. Thanks!
Lonzo Ball: Black Panther
The new king of his hometown, Lonzo Ball and T’Challa, better known as the Black Panther, share a ton of similarities. Like T’Challa, Ball faces heavy criticism from his people, but not for his own actions, but the actions of his father.
It’s wasn’t until Ball missed extended time and Tyler Ennis (Killmonger) started running the show did people start appreciating how valuable he is.
Ball has shown qualities of a strong leader early in his career that T’Challa himself would be proud of. Now fans are hoping Ball returns from the offseason with the full strength of the Black Panther.
Julius Randle: Hulk
This one kind of goes without saying, although, I don’t even think the Hulk would want to guard Julius Randle in the post.
Traditional bigs are thought to be relics in the modern NBA, but Randle rarely had any problems with his brute style of play throughout the season. If a player was in the paint and he was also in the paint, there was a good chance Randle was the last one standing at the end of it. But Randle doesn’t always resemble the big green monster that is Hulk.
When he’s not bullying guys in the paint, he’s making plays for his teammates with, playing defense and grabbing rebounds. His basketball IQ is as high as Bruce Banner’s regular IQ.
But that don’t let that fool you. When Randle sees the basket, he sees red or, in this case, green.
Kyle Kuzma: Spider-Man
Utah Jazz rookie Donovan Mitchell might already have the “Spidey” nickname on lock, but Kyle Kuzma’s role with the Lakers resembles Spider-Man’s role with the Avengers.
While he’s not the youngest of the group, he has the same light, playful attitude that everyone loves about Peter Parker. Whether it’s on social media or in postgame interviews, you can always count on Kuzma to have a quip ready.
I’m going to unfollow In real life if you don’t fix your lisp I’m tired of spit in my face https://t.co/HhsPWEqxzt— kuz (@kylekuzma) April 27, 2018
He’s also as fun to watch as the young web-slinger. He might not have super strength or spectacular leaping ability like some of his teammates, but his craftiness with a basketball and fearlessness in crunch time has made him a fan favorite.
Brandon Ingram: Groot
Again, this one kid of goes without saying. While not technically an Avenger, Groot’s lanky frame and stoic personality are both traits of Lakers’ second-year forward Brandon Ingram.
At 6-foot-9 with a 7-foot-3 wingspan, Ingram could pass off as a Floral Colossus, the species of Groot’s people. Ingram also doesn’t say much like Groot, who is limited to the three words “I am Groot.”
In his exit interview earlier this month, Kuzma talked about how soft spoken Ingram is on the court.
“I kind of have to be because Lonzo’s 14 and B.I. has said 10 words all year, so for me I’m the most vocal out of everybody so I feel like I can start helping them develop being talkative, being loud and talking about things,” Kuzma said.
But Ingram’s persona can be deceiving. Just because he’s quiet and looks frail doesn’t mean he can’t be a beast when he wants to be. Just ask poor Mike Muscala.
And yes, because I know you’re wondering, that does mean Isaiah Thomas is Rocket Raccoon.