Lonzo Ball will not workout for the Boston Celtics leading up to the NBA draft. It is potentially a power play move made by the Ball family to ensure the UCLA guard is available for the Los Angeles Lakers. Ball’s refusal to showcase himself for the Celtics may factor into Boston’s decision to either keep or trade the No. 1 pick.
After getting eliminated in five games by the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Celtics are forced to look towards the future. The Celtics’ future could include having a couple of rookies on their roster. For Celtics’ fans who want to see them draft Lonzo Ball, that might as well be a pipe dream right now.
The primary reason for believing that is the ESPN report regarding Lonzo Ball and his camp denying the Boston Celtics’ request for a pre-draft workout. Celtics’ general manager Danny Ainge acknowledged Ball’s decision with a bit of defiance.
“We tried to get [Ball] in. We don’t deal with [Ball’s camp] all that much. They didn’t show up at the combine, which is very common — many of the top 10 or 15 players don’t show up for the combine…. We just tried to get him in for a workout and they politely said no.”
Armed with the top overall pick in this year’s NBA draft, the Boston Celtics are faced with a huge decision. The Celtics can either draft Washington’s Markelle Fultz, take a player in Lonzo Ball who will not even work out, or trade the pick.
Getting unceremoniously bounced in the Eastern Conference Finals might have the Celtics contemplating trading the pick. That is if they want to catch LeBron James and the Cavaliers. The best-of-seven series defeat may have revealed just how far away the Celtics are from competing with the Cavaliers.
Despite age eventually being a factor with LeBron James, next year may wind up having a similar result, even if the Celtics were to add reinforcements. Will having another rookie playing a prominent role close the gap between the Celtics and Cavaliers?
The honest answer to that question is probably not. With Lonzo Ball opting to only work out for the Los Angeles Lakers, and according to ESPN, perhaps the Philadelphia 76ers, the Celtics will have only Markelle Fultz to debate about. If they take on the mindset that they can catch the Cavaliers in two or three years, drafting and developing Fultz will be paramount.
There is a contingent of people who believe that the Boston Celtics, provided they keep the No. 1 overall pick, should take Lonzo Ball anyway. Among those people clamoring for the Celtics to take Ball in the draft is Fox Sports 1’s Skip Bayless.
“To me, Lonzo Ball — if you step back, big picture — still has the gift of passing the basketball. And you saw it in the first half, you saw him flash three or four times. He still has up-floor speed while he’s dribbling the basketball that is rare to me.
“He’s 6-foot-6, almost 6-foot-7 I think, long, strong. He’s got things that you can’t teach or coach.”
The notion that Lonzo Ball has superstar potential keeps gaining steam, but it is difficult to foresee the Celtics taking him without a pre-draft workout. If they do not truly feel that Markelle Fultz is a fit, the Celtics will wind up in a huge bind. What they should versus they will do is debatable. But keep in mind that the Cleveland Cavaliers traded away then-rookie and No. 1 overall draft pick Andrew Wiggins in 2014. The Cavaliers made the trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves for Kevin Love after it became clear LeBron James was returning to Cleveland.
Three years later, James, with the help of Kevin Love and the incumbent starting point guard, Kyrie Irving, is going to his third consecutive NBA Finals. Meanwhile, Wiggins, despite having solid numbers, has yet to be named an all-star and has yet to help the Timberwolves reach the playoffs. Instead of worrying about getting snubbed by Lonzo Ball and debating whether or not Markelle Fultz can contribute in the next three years, trading the No. 1 pick might be best for the Boston Celtics.
[Featured Image by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images]