At the NBA draft lottery, the ping-pong balls went just the way the Los Angeles Lakers‘ fans had hoped, which was right in position to take Lonzo Ball. Is it a slam dunk that the Lakers will take the UCLA freshman with the brash father?
That became the question once the final three teams were revealed (courtesy of ESPN) in the draft lottery. Those final three in descending order were the Philadelphia 76ers, Los Angeles Lakers, and Boston Celtics.
The results made Lakers’ president Magic Johnson smile even wider than usual. His hope was that the Lakers at fall within the top three selections.
“The good thing is I have been a winner my whole life in everything I have been able to do, and [landing the second pick] is just a part of that. But the work starts now. You got to pick the right player at [No.] 2 and at 28. We have to make sure that free agents that we look at or trade possibilities that we look at are the right players that come into our organization and have the right attitude and mindset.”
Of those teams in the top three, the Celtics were the only ones who made the playoffs but became part of the draft lottery after a trade (courtesy of NBA.com) with the Brooklyn Nets, which sent Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry to Brooklyn in the 2013 season. The trade was supposed to boost the Nets’ chances to compete for an NBA title, yet wound up becoming one of the most ill-advised swaps of all-time.
The Boston Celtics are expected to take Washington’s Markelle Fultz at No. 1. If so, it would leave Lonzo Ball available for the Los Angeles Lakers to take with the second pick.
Lonzo Ball to the Los Angeles Lakers is the ideal scenario for the Ball family. His father, LaVar Ball, has gone on the record hoping for a situation where the Lakers would be in the position to draft the UCLA star. For basketball purposes, the Lakers drafting Lonzo Ball may not make a great deal of sense.
Where the Los Angeles Lakers are stocked up at is point guard. After guard Lou Williams was traded to the Houston Rockets, D’Angelo Russell wound up leading the Lakers in scoring, assists, and steals. Russell has the potential to be an NBA all-star someday if he can put his talent together.
Behind D’Angelo Russell is Jordan Clarkson. Clarkson, while not as dynamic of a player as Russell, can do similar things. An NBA team can win games with that combination of talent at the point guard, as long as there are other players around them. The wins have not piled up for the Lakers in the two seasons that the point guard duo have played together. This would justify an upgrade.
Besides winning basketball games, the Los Angeles Lakers like stars. Lonzo Ball has NBA star power, and with his father ever present, the spotlight will be on him to produce immediately. Can Lonzo Ball play the game?
Ball has been compared to former NBA great Jason Kidd, with a better jump shot as a rookie. But that was his college game, and it is questionable if it can work out for the Lakers. Then there is his father, who they would have to deal with on occasion.
LaVar Ball may be too much for some NBA teams to handle. While there is nothing that would suggest that the elder of the Ball family would meddle in his son’s affairs after turning pro, some teams fear distractions.
If Lonzo Ball has a problem with a coach or a teammate, would LaVar Ball intervene on his son’s behalf? Would LaVar Ball go to the press if he feels that Lonzo Ball is not getting enough playing time? These are legitimate questions the Los Angeles Lakers or any NBA team would ask. In the end, due to Lonzo Ball’s rising popularity, the Lakers would find themselves overlooking the words of LaVar Ball. The UCLA guard’s talent will be enough to forgive any antics in the interim.
One thing is for certain, Lonzo Ball wants to play for the Los Angeles Lakers. And it seems as if he and his father will do everything possible to see that come to fruition.
Soon after the results of the draft lottery were revealed, ESPN reported that Lonzo Ball may only work out for the Lakers. If that is the case, do not expect for Lonzo Ball bypass the Los Angeles Lakers in the draft. Ball could be the key to the Lakers’ resurgence.
[Featured Image by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images]