Can Lonzo Ball live up to his father's hype?
According to reports, Lonzo Ball is expected to work out with the Lakers in addition to meeting with coaches and personnel. The UCLA point guard declined a workout with Boston as the Celtics will likely take Markelle Fultz with the 1st pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. Ball expects to be the 2nd pick and take his talents to a young Los Angeles squad, hopefully becoming a key factor to ending their playoff draught.
So far, everything seems to working exactly according to LaVar Ball’s plan. In fact, things really couldn’t have worked better.
Mock drafts throughout the year had Lonzo listed as the second pick. When LA won that pick in the lottery, the Ball family was ecstatic. LaVar has always wanted Lonzo to be a Laker. He would go on talk shows, bragging about how his son would bring out the best in guys like Julius Randle. He even told Skip Bayless and Shannon Sharpe that Lonzo would LA to the playoffs during his rookie season.
Overhyping? No doubt about it. Unusual? Also, no doubt about it. Sure, this isn’t the first time that we’ve seen a father so gung-ho about his son. Tiger Woods’ dad was basically a golfer’s version of LaVar. However, something happening before doesn’t disqualify it by being unusual. LaVar Ball overhypes his son like crazy.
And honestly, I’m not quite sure that Lonzo can deliver.
The Lakers will make the playoffs in due time. There is some decent young talent in LA; all that’s needed is a little more maturity. Luke Walton is a fine coach, and the team will undoubtedly pick up free agents like Paul George in the near future. But how much of their success would be dependent on Lonzo Ball?
Probably not much.
Not many players turn their team around in their rookie season. Michael Jordan did it. LeBron James did it. Shaquille O’Neal did it. I’m sure there have been a few more—but the list of guys that did it isn’t that long. Do you really think Lonzo is in the same category as MJ and LeBron? Maybe he is, but I don’t think we’ve seen enough of him against elite competition to put him in such a category.
One of the most entertaining things about watching Lonzo is witnessing his unorthodox style of play. His shot looks goofy, but it’s nearly impossible to block and, frankly, it goes in. Who cares what it looks like? His passes are risky, but they end in assists. His ball handling is fantastic considering his size. And, speaking of his size, his long frame makes guarding him difficult for some guards.
But will it change the NBA?
It could certainly change the NBA—if it translates to the NBA. College basketball is much slower. A guy like Lonzo sticks out in NCAA ball because most of those guys aren’t used to seeing such flashiness. Also, many college players don’t have NBA bodies and NBA athleticism. It’s pretty hard to say if his game will translate to the NBA. We’ll just have to wait and see.
If nothing else, LaVar Ball has put a massive target on Lonzo—and his brothers, LiAngelo and LaMelo, for that matter—once he hits the big leagues. It’s one thing to put out a shoe that costs more than any other NBA player-endorsed sneaker. But when you make claims that insinuate your kid being a better player than an MVP, you better get ready prove it. Lonzo isn’t going to just get heat from Steph Curry this fall. He’s going to get heat from every player in the league.
I feel bad for Lonzo. At the end of the day, he seems like a level-headed kid. Sure, he looks confident and there is certainly a swagger that he carries on the court. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that he’s cocky. It isn’t Lonzo that is practically begging to be shut up. It’s LaVar. Unfortunately, however, it will be Lonzo that will be targeted by big name players next season. And, with his slight frame, the kid might actually get hurt.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting what’s best for your kids or feeling confident in their abilities, but there are certainly times when confidence goes a little too far. It would be a huge surprise if Lonzo Ball is able to live up to the high bar that LaVar set for him. Any team that takes him risks taking a guy whose game might not translate to professional basketball. Any team that takes him risks taking a guy that whose dad is a little unhinged.
Honestly, Los Angeles, is Lonzo Ball a risk you’re willing to take?Filed under: Sports, NBA Basketball, Draft, Lonzo Ball, LaVar Ball, Los Angeles Lakers