Lonzo Ball might be the best pure point-guard prospect in a generation. Unfortunately, he might have the most high-maintenance father of any prospect in history.
LaVar Ball won’t affect Lonzo’s draft stock – the UCLA prospect will almost assuredly be the No. 2 pick in the NBA Draft on Thursday – but one must wonder how LaVar will affect his son’s career.
“I don’t think you can’t consider that,” Pac-12 Network host Mike Yam said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “He’s not going to be able to get away with some of the things that are going to happen at the NBA level.
Luckily for Lonzo, it appears he didn’t get his personality from his father.
“Lonzo is a quiet kid,” Yam said. “He’s a little bit of an introvert. I spent some time with UCLA during the tournament. He is not this outgoing, boisterous character. That’s just not his personality. So I think LaVar has been able to overtake some of those things. But if he’s taken by the Lakers – and there’s no smokescreen here, he’s going to be taken No. 2 overall – it’ll be the first time in a long time, and maybe the third or fourth time in draft history, that the top two players are going to come from one conference.”
The other player, of course, is Markelle Fultz, who is expected to go No. 1 to Philadelphia.
Still, some fans and analysts wonder if De’Aaron Fox should be drafted ahead of Ball because he outscored him 39-10 in Kentucky’s Sweet 16 win over UCLA.
“I’m not concerned about that, and here’s why: if you’re concerned about that, then you like Lonzo Ball better than you like Markelle Fultz,” Yam said. “Because they played one time against each other head-to-head, it was a game in Seattle, and Markelle Fultz didn’t have a good first half. Lonzo Ball stuck it to him. Ball played out of his mind.”
Ball had 22 points, six rebounds, five assists, and four steals in UCLA’s 107-66 win over Washington on Feb. 4.
“I have more concerns about the mid-range game and hitch in the shot,” Yam said of Ball. “That, to me, is more concerning than a matchup where it looked like he got outplayed in the tournament. That’s less of a concern.”
As for LaVar, if any team can quiet him, it’s the Lakers.
“Look, it’s Magic Johnson,” Yam said. “It’s a new regime in Los Angeles with that team. LaVar Ball is not going to be able to run roughshod in Laker Land. That’s just not going to happen. At least I don’t think that’s going to happen. Granted, this is a new role for Magic Johnson, but I just don’t see it. At all.”