Once the smokescreen of other prospects getting picked by the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2017 NBA Draft passed, and UCLA's Lonzo Ball was selected as expected, the unapologetically boisterous LaVar Ball made yet another bold claim.
Lonzo Ball was officially introduced as a Los Angeles Laker on Friday after being drafted No. 2 the night before. Ball, a Chino Hills native who entered the draft after one year at UCLA, was selected by the Lakers at No. 2 in the National Basketball Association draft on Thursday.
A few hours after the press conference, Lonzo arrived at Chavez Ravine without his controversial father, Lavar.
The Lakers have missed the playoffs for four straight seasons, their longest postseason drought in franchise history, and are coming off a 26-56 season, the third-worst record in the National Basketball Association. If his elite court vision translates to the pros, the Lakers are going to be a tough team to beat in transition. The Lakers first Summer League game will be played against the Los Angeles Clippers.
Less than 24 hours after Ball was drafted by his hometown Lakers, the 19-year-old threw out the ceremonial first pitch at Dodger Stadium.
When interviewed by ESPN after Lonzo's name was called, LaVar was his usual boisterous self, even going as far as to guarantee that his son will lead the Lakers to the Playoffs next season. Jackson, who played just one season at Duke, was taken with the 31st overall pick by Charlotte, but was then traded to the New Orleans Pelicans.
"I'm just thankful for everybody that helped me get here", Lonzo Ball said. "With the leading teams in the league today, we felt like to be able to look them in the eye and challenge them, we need two superstar players to come here and join this platform and join our core group of great players that we now have".
Both the Lakers and Russell needed to move on. "(I could) learn a lot from him". Jordan Clarkson is a question mark for the Lakers at this point, he seemed to have hit his peak potential past year but still has many aspects of his game to improve, especially his efficiency. As a general manager, Pelinka is surely infatuated with the player he just selected - and he wants to promote positive dialogue around the player, which is positive for Pelinka because his job depends upon Ball excelling.
"He's his own man, so I don't know what he's going to do", he said. It's exciting times for the LA Lakers.
While Kuzma and Hart seem NBA-ready, Bryant is more of a project.