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Lonzo Ball believes he can help the Lakers attract free agents

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It’s nice to have self-confidence.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-UCLA vs Cincinnati Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

LaVar Ball is widely regarded as the greatest player of all-time*, and so it’s no surprise that his son, Lonzo Ball of UCLA, is confident heading into the draft.

The younger Ball has been honest about his desire to end up with his hometown team, the Los Angeles Lakers, in the 2017 NBA Draft, but he also understands the Lakers would have to keep their top-three protected first-round pick in the draft if they want a chance to select him.

The Lakers currently have a 53.1 percent chance to forfeit their top-three protected first-round draft selection to the Philadelphia 76ers in the lottery if it falls at the fourth-overall selection or below.

If the team does keep its pick, Lonzo Ball told Shams Charania of the Vertical that in addition to how much he wants to wear the purple and gold armor, there’s another reason the Lakers should pick him: He thinks he can make other players want to wear it too.

Via the Vertical:

Ball believes he could change the way future free agents perceive the Lakers. His proximity and promise as a Showtime player make some believe it’s a natural fit, but he’s more sure about this: He’ll accept the responsibility of improving a franchise – no matter where he lands.

“That’s the culture I want: to enter a situation and help my team win,” Ball told The Vertical. “I’ll do whatever I can for wins. It’s what I did when I was at Chino Hills. It’s what I did at UCLA. It’s what I’ll do again at the next level. Just do what I can to help my team win and make players around me better.”

The freshman phenom talks a big game, but it seems unlikely he can change the league-wide perception of the Lakers because he is just that: A freshman phenom. As promsing as Lonzo Ball is (and he is incredibly promising), a promise is just a promise without proof.

NBA players haven’t seen any proof he can fulfill that promise at the NBA level, and most young players don’t immediately improve their teams. Lonzo Ball might help the Lakers in free agency if he lives up to his potential in the future, but if the team does draft him fans shouldn’t expect him to do so right now.

*by LaVar Ball

Harrison Faigen is co-host of the Locked on Lakers podcast (subscribe here), and you can follow him on Twitter at @hmfaigen.