Paul George considers Lonzo 'one of the best' players ever at age 20
David Richard / USA TODAY Sports

Paul George is heaping some lofty praise on Lonzo Ball.

Though a shoulder sprain will keep Ball out of the Los Angeles Lakers' lineup on Wednesday when they host the Oklahoma City Thunder, George is evidently already plenty impressed with Ball's performance this season. So much so, George believes Ball is in the midst of one of the best age-20 seasons in NBA history.

"I got a great impression on him. I think people are kind of down on him because he doesn't wow you statistically," George said, courtesy of Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times. "He can every so often, but that's not the caliber of player he is, especially right now. But as far as a basketball player, man, he's at his age, one of the best basketball players that has played this game.

"He just has a knack to play the game the right way. His ability to just make plays without it leading to an assist for him, but just to get the offense going, he's all-around just a great basketball player."

In 31 games this season, Ball is performing moderately well for a rookie. His 10 points per game ranks 10th among this year's draft class, while his 7.1 assists and 6.9 rebounds rank second and fourth, respectively, among first-year players.

But while Ball is having a modest rookie campaign, the numbers don't exactly support George's claim.

By virtue of win shares, LeBron James had the greatest age-20 season ever in 2004-05, when he averaged 27.2 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 7.2 assists in 42.4 minutes per game in his sophomore year.

Best age-20 seasons ever (by win shares):

Player Season PTS/G REB/G AST/G WS
LeBron James 2004-05 27.2 7.4 7.2 14.3
Magic Johnson 1979-80 18 7.7 7.3 10.5
Anthony Davis 2013-14 20.8 10 1.6 10.4
Shaquille O'Neal 1992-93 23.4 13.9 1.9 10.4
Chris Paul 2005-06 16.1 5.1 7.8 10.4

(Courtesy: Basketball Reference)

Though still incomplete, Ball's season - at just 0.4 win shares - is tied for 193rd all time.

Paul George considers Lonzo 'one of the best' players ever at age 20
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