The 2017 NBA Draft is just over a month away, but one of the major storylines heading into it has been UCLA guard Lonzo Ball‘s interest in joining the Los Angeles Lakers.
It has remained a prevalent topic of discussion around the organization since Ball stated that Los Angeles is the team that he hopes he is selected by in next month’s draft. In light of that, Magic Johnson, who is the Lakers’ president of basketball operations, told ESPN’s Jeff Goodman that Ball’s father, LaVar Ball, wouldn’t deter the organization from taking him in the draft.
Magic Johnson told me that Lavar Ball will not have any impact whatsoever on whether he would select Lonzo. https://t.co/Lka6y0oEmm
— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) May 11, 2017
LaVar has been in the headlines for much of the last few months stemming from his outrageous statements to his high prices on his son’s “ZO2” shoes. Despite all that, the Lakers nor any other team view his antics as too big of an issue to overcome.
In Lonzo’s one season at UCLA, he proved to be an NBA-caliber talent with his play that has drawn plenty of comparison to former All-Star point guard Jason Kidd. He averaged 14.6 points on 55.1 percent shooting and 41.2 percent from beyond the arc along with a nation-leading 7.6 assists and 6.0 rebounds per game.
He set UCLA’s single-season assists record (274), which was also the second highest single-season total in Pac-12 history. Ball was the first player in the Pac-12 to average 14.0 points, 7.0 assists, and 6.0 rebounds per game since Kidd at Cal in 1992-93.
Ball was one of four players in the country that earned consensus first-team All-American honors. He was also named to the first-team All-Pac-12, Pac-12 Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year, and Pac-12 All-Freshman team by the Associated Press.
Before the Lakers can think about going that route, the first hurdle to get past will be if they keep their top-three protected first-round pick that has a 46.9 percent chance of retention. If the pick falls outside the top three spots in the draft order, it will go to the Philadelphia 76ers. The NBA draft lottery will be held on Tuesday, May 16, at 8 p.m. ET.