Lonzo Ball has never kept it much of a secret that he wants to be drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers. That the franchise happened to transition power from Jim Buss into the hands of Magic Johnson the same year Ball cemented himself as a top pick is quite the coincidence.
It’s one that Ball thinks he could benefit from, should the Lakers not only keep their top-three protected pick, but draft Lonzo with it.
“I can learn a lot from Magic, and it would be a blessing for me to be able to take after him each and every day,” Ball told Shams Charania of The Vertical in an extensive one-on-one interview. “Magic is probably the best guard to ever play the game. The fact that he also played as a big guard, he can show me things.
“I would love to have that sit-down and learn to be the best player I can be.”
That’s a logical sentiment to have, but any guard can essentially say the same thing. Magic is decades removed from being an active player, but his playmaking prowess, decision making and experience is still a tree of knowledge that bears fruit.
Surely D’Angelo Russell and Jordan Clarkson aren’t tuning the Magic Man out, and guys like Markelle Fultz and De’Aaron Fox are thinking “uh, me too.” Ball isn’t exactly dropping knowledge, but that he’s so ecstatic about the every day learning opportunity is refreshing to hear.
Further stapling shut his case for wanting to be a Laker to be a baby bird under Magic’s massive wings, Ball discussed that he picked what Johnson laid down as a transcendent point guard by watching film of the legend when he was a wee-lad.
“I watched tape on Magic when I was young,” Ball told Charania. “It’s why you can see it in my game. He liked to pass, I like to pass. He was a big point guard, I’m a big point guard. And I feel the way the game is played means a lot to him and me.”
He’s not wrong that the creative vision is certainly there:
The Lakers are less than a month away from learning their fate, and from the sounds of things, Lonzo’s pulling for the Lakers to keep their top-three protected pick as much as any fan at this point. Whether that pick is used to select him — or becomes the centerpiece of a trade — is the next big question for Lonzo.
The idea of a 6’6 guard dissecting opponents with passes like Magic while making it rain from outside is an interesting one, but it’s also not a simple fit for the long-term. Any guard can learn by picking Magic’s brain, and from everything we’ve heard, the Lakers’ president of basketball operations plans to make his presence very felt on a day-to-day basis.
We’ll see what happens, but Lonzo continues to very publicly plead his case to the Lakers every time he gets the chance.