After the Los Angeles Lakers were awarded the second overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, it became apparent that the team would likely be drafting Lonzo Ball in June. Ball, a UCLA freshman, has been the narrative pick for the Lakers especially as his father LaVar has continuously trumpeted that his son will stay in Los Angeles.
It’s not a given, however, as there are reports that the Lakers have not yet made a decision and love several other prospects. The slight skepticism, even if it comes a full month before the NBA draft, naturally leads to room for discussing LaVar Ball, the controversial figure that has found himself in the news more than his soon-to-be NBA player son.
There’s cause for concern among many fans about how LaVar’s propensity for media interviews and speaking his mind could affect the Lakers if they do draft Lonzo. Nevertheless, the Lakers do not seem to be phased by it. General manager Rob Pelinka and head coach Luke Walton have both said that Laar would not be an issue.
Now, speaking on ESPN Los Angeles, Lakers’ president of basketball operations Magic Johnson has also joined that fold, claiming that he does not find any problems with what LaVar has done:
“I don’t look at any parent, when it comes to a professional league, as a problem.”
“We’ve always had parents who love their sons or daughters,” Johnson said. “Who also think their child is the best.”
“Does he possess the talent, and the mindset, and the basketball skill we’re looking for? Of course. We just have to get him in for an interview first before we can make those types of decisions.”
“I have no problem with LaVar,” Johnson said, “He’s just saying my son is great and there’s nothing bad with that.”
“You have to give the father a lot of credit. For being in not just Lonzo’s life, but the other two sons as well. I’m happy that a father goes around and say great things about his son, and it seems like it hasn’t bothered Lonzo.”
In general, I agree with Magic. LaVar has said some questionable things even if his heart seems to generally be in the right place, but at the end of the day, the Lakers would be deciding on drafting Lonzo, not his father.
There is some room for concern, of course, that LaVar Ball’s public comments could lead to locker room trouble. But most will understand that that’s a separate issue from Lonzo Ball and if they don’t, that’s a problem the Lakers can deal with in the future.