The Los Angeles Lakers have the second overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, and given that it seems like a foregone conclusion they’ll select UCLA freshman sensation Lonzo Ball, the primary debate about the pick has of course centered on Ball’s fit with the Lakers and how good of a player he is.
Just kidding, people have mostly just talked about his father, LaVar Ball, and with (somewhat) good reason.
In just the last few weeks, LaVar Ball has said he won’t stop talking until the Lakers draft his son, for some reason espoused that he doesn’t need advice from Kobe Bryant, had a Lakers colored Big Baller Brand hat made for when the team was awarded the second overall pick, and said his son will work out one-on-one against De’Aaron Fox if the Lakers want him to.
That’s without mentioning his ridiculous and possibly sexist back and forth with Kristin Leahy of Fox Sports, plus his at best ignorant and at worst disgusting comments on Kyrie Irving’s mother.
All of those headlines could be unnecessary drama for the Lakers, but after dealing with LaVar Ball all of last year with Lonzo Ball and planning to continue their relationship when his other two sons, LiAngelo and LaMelo, come to UCLA, Bruins Head Coach Steve Alford says he wouldn’t worry about the Big Baller Dad (via Dick Vitale of ESPN):
Word of advice to @Lakers fans I spoke to @UCLA coach Steve Alford & he said Lonzo Ball is.a super fit .Said Dad was not a prob 4 him .— Dick Vitale (@DickieV) May 24, 2017
@markybcool @gonzo7626 @Lakers @UCLA All y'all fools that have no connection to UCLA have no clue. He was NEVER around the team except games.U r on the money buddy .— Dick Vitale (@DickieV) May 24, 2017
Alford’s comments to Vitale mirror what the Lakers have preached throughout the process. Lakers General Manager Rob Pelinka has said the team isn’t worried about LaVar Ball, a sentiment shared by head coach Luke Walton and president of basketball operations Magic Johnson in separate interviews.
All this speculation is for naught if the Lakers don’t draft Lonzo Ball, but at the very least it sounds like most of the people involved in the situation don’t think his father is anything the Lakers can’t handle.
Harrison Faigen is co-host of the Locked on Lakers podcast (subscribe here or listen to our latest episode on Lonzo Ball, LaVar Ball, the draft and more below), and you can follow him on Twitter at @hmfaigen.