It’s been a nice, quiet season on the LaVar Ball front thus far. So nice and quiet that some have been wondering whether he’s been paid off to keep a lower profile (he wasn’t). With trade rumors and speculation ramping up around Lonzo Ball, LaVar made a grand re-entry into the news cycle, hopping on to 98.7 radio with Doug and Wold in Arizona. (h/t: Andrew Joseph of USA Today)
“He’s a better fit in Phoenix because they’ve got some young athletes. They’ve been losing. They need a winning attitude. The Lakers gave my boy that losing attitude. If you look at my boys, the one thing they do do is win … My boys don’t lose too much. When he got to the Lakers — Luke Walton was the worst coach ever for Lonzo because he had a losing mentality. They’ve been losing for three years. That’s how you develop losing.”
Ah yes, the noted winning culture that has existed in Phoenix, one of the few teams in the NBA that has lost more over the last three years than the Lakers. The Suns currently have a whopping 11 wins right now — 16 fewer than our lovable losers out here in Los Angeles.
So, LaVar, what happens if Lonzo is actually traded?
“Hey, do what you gotta do. Like I told them before, if you trade my son, it’ll be the worst thing you’ve ever done for your franchise. I guarantee it.”
This coming from the guy who might very well have derailed the Lakers’ chances at landing Anthony Davis is pretty rich. Also, don’t think anyone has forgotten the surgery Lonzo underwent when he was included in Kawhi Leonard talks. The timing on that was rather odd, and that the very least, putting off surgery until Lonzo got it meant that he had to start the season on a minutes restriction.
Still, LaVar has confidence in what his son brings to the table.
“I tell you what: Lonzo makes everybody better. That’s what he’s always did all his life. You don’t even hear of Kuzma if Lonzo don’t make him in the Las Vegas Summer League. You see every time Kuzma plays by himself? Hart, Ingram by himself? They don’t get nothing. They look raggedy.”
Thus far this season, the Lakers score 104.9 points per 100 possessions and give up 105.3 when Lonzo is on the court. When he is off, they score 107.1 points per 100 possessions and give up 106.2. When Lonzo and Kuzma are on the court together, the Lakers have an offensive rating of 105.4 and a defensive rating of 104.9. Lonzo and Hart have an offensive rating of 100.1 and defensive rating of 102.4 together.
Simply statistically speaking, Lonzo’s impact has been negligible. There’s more context to this, obviously, but LaVar might be overplaying his hand here.
It’s look increasingly likely no move for Davis gets made and Ball will probably play out the rest of the season with the Lakers. But come season’s end, the front office will likely continue those trade discussions for Davis, and Ball will once again be a name that comes up. I look forward to whatever tactics LaVar utilizes then to ensure his son is no moved.