LaVar Ball has no doubt his son, Lonzo, will trade in his UCLA jersey for Los Angeles Lakers garb at this June’s draft.
Holster your “The lottery is rigged!” takes for another time. This has nothing to do with existing knowledge, and everything to do with LaVar’s commitment to treating his gut feelings as future realities.
This much became clear in Ramona Shelburne’s profile of him and the rest of his family for his ESPN.com. The entire piece is worth a read, but here’s the excerpt everyone within the industry is bound to pluck from it:
“If he gets drafted by the Lakers [who have a 47 percent chance of landing a top-three pick in the NBA lottery],” Vaccaro says, “that is a perfect setup. If you take one thing from what I said, remember this: The Lakers are the salvation for him, and he’s the salvation for the Lakers.”
LaVar is way ahead of him. “Oh, he’s going to be a Laker,” he says. “I’m going to keep talking about it until it happens.”
So, basically, LaVar subscribes to the “I think, therefore it will be” mode of thought.
If the lottery follows the odds to a T, the Lakers will keep their pick, which would go to the Philadelphia 76ers if it falls outside the top three. And should that happen, they’ll be in the Lonzo Ball conversation. It almost doesn’t matter where they land inside that three-selection window.
Perhaps Markelle Fultz will be the clear-cut choice if the Lakers end up with the No. 1 pick. But at No. 2 or No. 3, with Josh Jackson and Ball projected to be the primary options, it could go either way. Do they want to pair Jackson with Brandon Ingram for a potentially dynamite defensive duo on the wings? Or are they interested in seeing how a backcourt of Ball and D’Angelo Russell jells? Better yet: Will the Lakers draft whomever they think the Indiana Pacers would covet more in a Paul George trade?
There are so many factors in play here. It’s impossible to have any real insight on how things will unfold before the Lakers’ lottery spot is set in stone.
Unless, of course, you ask LaVar. He apparently already knows how this process is going to end. We’ll have to wait and see whether he’s right.