Posts Tagged ‘Lonzo Ball’

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How excited is Rob Pelinka about the potential of the Los Angeles Lakers‘ 2017 draft class that he saw in summer league?

“It’s kind of like if you go on YouTube and you think about Taylor Swift when she was 16 years old (playing) her first song,” the general manager explained on “The Dan Patrick Show” on Thursday. “It’s her guitar, it’s her in a little studio, and you watch it and you listen to it and you say, ‘Wow, this is going to be a special thing to follow and a really cool narrative to unfold.'”

Pelinka sees some of that early T-Swift magic in this year’s No. 2 pick, Lonzo Ball, as well as No. 27 pick Kyle Kuzma and No. 30 pick Josh Hart. If the Lakers’ young core, including previous blue-chip prospects Brandon Ingram and Julius Randle, can combine for as many All-Star appearances as Grammys Swift’s won since breaking onto the scene a decade ago – 10 – Pelinka will be a happy man.

“I think it’s going to be a really cool phenomenon to watch unfold, much like the trajectory of a young artist that develops,” Pelinka said.

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The Los Angeles Lakers have their point guard of the future after selecting UCLA product Lonzo Ball in Thursday’s NBA draft – a move that made D’Angelo Russell expendable days prior.

While introducing Ball to the media, Lakers president Magic Johnson thanked Russell for his two years with the organization, but acknowledged that he wasn’t the right guy to lead the team.

“I’m going to do what it takes to get the right players in here with the right mindset. D’Angelo (Russell) is an excellent player. He has the talent to be an All-Star. We want to thank him for what he did for us,” Johnson said Friday, according to the Los Angeles Daily News’ Mark Medina. “But what I needed was a leader. I needed somebody that also can make the other players better and also (somebody) that players want to play with.”

Russell, along with the $54 million remaining on Timofey Mozgov‘s contract, were sent to the Brooklyn Nets in exchange for Brook Lopez and the 27th pick, which was used on Utah’s Kyle Kuzma.

During his short tenure with the Lakers, Russell’s character and maturity were brought into question on multiple occasions, including an incident in which he secretly recorded Nick Young confessing to cheating on his now ex-fiancee, musician Iggy Azalea.

Russell was essentially a shooting guard masquerading as a point guard, anyway, with Ball’s skills more suited to running an offense and promoting ball movement.

“He (Ball) gives you a scoring pass. That’s the key. Not just a pass. One that you can score. All our players are gonna be excited,” added Johnson, according to Mike Trudell‏ of Lakers.com.

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The always outspoken LaVar Ball and the world of professional wrestling seem like a match made in heaven.

With “Monday Night Raw” airing live from the Staples Center in Los Angeles on June 26, World Wrestling Entertainment is reportedly interested in having LaVar – the father of the Lakers’ No. 2 overall pick, Lonzo – appear on its programming that night, according to Pro Wrestling Sheet’s Ryan Satin.

The two sides have been in talks, but nothing is yet set in stone.

While livestreaming Thursday’s NBA draft from their seats, LaVar and the rest of the Ball family in attendance were overheard discussing what sounds like the possibility of him being on the show.

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Basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar kept up his criticism of LaVar Ball on Friday, saying that the publicity-seeking hoops dad is cheapening the college game.

“Everybody knows about his sons because he has been able to hype them,” Abdul-Jabbar told Philadelphia radio station 97.5 The Fanatic. “But I don’t think that’s good for college basketball. It looks like it’s a huckster show. And that bothers me, you know. You have people going those lengths to promote their kids. I don’t get it.”

The 70-year-old Hall of Famer has been critical of Ball before, saying last month that he doesn’t think LaVar is doing his sons any good. Like Abdul-Jabbar, Lonzo Ball starred at UCLA and could also end up playing for the Los Angeles Lakers.

Abdul-Jabbar, who has won more NBA MVPs (six) than anyone else in history, also reiterated his viewpoint that the one-and-done rule is a “travesty” for college basketball.

“One-and-dones doesn’t make any sense to me,” he said. “To have somebody come and be on campus for six months and play a basketball season, what is that? … it’s not good for the college game and it hasn’t been good for the pro game. I think they better find a different way of dealing with those issues.”

There’s a sense that alterations will need to eventually come to both eligibility and draft rules. NBA commissioner Adam Silver has gone on record saying the league is considering ditching the one-and-done rule as early as next season.

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It’s becoming more and more unclear whether the Los Angeles Lakers will opt to choose former UCLA standout Lonzo Ball with the No. 2 overall pick.

While Ball impressed in a number of different areas during his workout with the Lakers on Wednesday, some observers believed the 6-foot-6 point guard was out of shape, Mark Medina of the Orange County Register reports.

Ball admitted to being worn out following the session, telling Medina that the “drills get you tired.”

Reports surfaced earlier this week that Los Angeles was underwhelmed by Ball during his workout, and felt he failed to separate himself from the rest of the point guard prospects.

Ball has been linked to the Lakers for weeks, with his outspoken father LaVar telling reporters last month that Lonzo would only work out for Los Angeles.

Ball is coming off a tremendous freshman campaign with UCLA, averaging 14.6 points, 7.6 assists, six rebounds, and 1.8 steals on 55.1 percent shooting.

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Lonzo Ball being drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers is apparently still not a done deal. While that report is not new, there are “some genuine disagreements” in the Lakers’ front office over who the team should select, according to ESPN’s Chad Ford.

The organization is also going out of its way to stifle the idea that Ball is a lock for them, Ford reports.

While conventional wisdom for months has linked Chino Hills native and UCLA product Ball with his hometown purple and gold, the Lakers are believed to still have interest in De’Aaron Fox and Josh Jackson with the No. 2 pick in the June 22 draft. While both Ball and his father LaVar have plainly stated a preference for the Lakers, a report last month suggested they were open to working out for the Philadelphia 76ers, who select third.

Both projected NBA point guards, Lonzo is more of a facilitator and shooter while Fox is more out of the Russell Westbrook mold. Jackson, a 6-foot-7 wing, is generally considered to be the best non-guard in the draft.

Lakers president Magic Johnson has said on multiple occasions that he doesn’t consider the media antics of LaVar to be an obstruction in drafting Lonzo. Phoenix Suns general manager Ryan McDonough has said the same thing, and Ford reports that the Suns are hoping Lonzo drops all the way to fourth, where Phoenix currently selects.

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It’s felt like a foregone conclusion since the NBA draft lottery that UCLA alumnus Lonzo Ball would be heading to the Los Angeles Lakers with the No. 2 overall pick.

Well, hold your horses.

While it could very well just be another smokescreen from the organization, the 19-year-old guard reportedly underwhelmed the Lakers during his pre-draft workout Wednesday, sources told Bleacher Report’s Kevin Ding.

Interest remains in Washington’s Markelle Fultz and Kansas’ Josh Jackson, as well as Kentucky’s De’Aaron Fox, who is scheduled to see the team Tuesday. Lakers officials would like to secure a workout with Fultz at some point in the near future, and just visited Jackson in Sacramento on Thursday.

It’s not as if Ball had a poor showing, though, as he acted “humble and respectful” during his meals, and shot the ball well. However, in a solo workout, there’s only so much a player can do, especially one who’s advertised as being an elite playmaker capable of finding teammates in the open floor.

Ball said Wednesday that he feels Los Angeles is in need of a leader at point guard, which is a role he thinks he can fill immediately. D’Angelo Russell ran the point during the 2016-17 season, but is more of a natural off-guard, with the hope being he and Ball could play alongside one another in backcourt.

The draft takes place June 22 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.