BOSTON – When Lonzo Ball and his camp “politely” declined to work out for the Boston Celtics who hold the top overall pick in the June 22 NBA draft, it was seen by many as a diss to the Celtics.
Who wouldn’t want to work out for the team with the top overall pick, right?
But after talking with Lonzo’s loquacious father LaVar Ball, his son turning down a workout for Boston while working out for the No. 2 pick Los Angeles Lakers (the team most expect will draft Ball) was actually a compliment to the Celtics and yet another keepin’ it real moment by LaVar in relation to the Lakers and his son.
“Team-wise, the Lakers are a better fit,” LaVar Ball said on the CSN CelticsTalk Podcast with Kyle Draper and A. Sherrod Blakely. “They (Lakers) really don’t have a leader. Boston already went to the playoffs. They have a leader.”
And LaVar Ball reiterated what most draft experts and league executives believe will happen on June 22nd, which is that the Celtics will select Markelle Fultz with the number one overall pick.
“I think Markelle is a better fit for Boston,” LaVar Ball acknowledged. “He’s more of a scoring guy.”
And while Lonzo Ball has shown the ability to score the ball, his greatest strength is in the role of playmaker which is a role he won’t be able to star in that much with the Celtics courtesy of two-time All-Star Isaiah Thomas.
“Check it out; you’re gonna have the ball in Isaiah’s hands or the other guy’s hands and Zo could possibly slide over to the two at some point,” LaVar Ball said. “But he’s a one (point guard). So just as a pure fit, you really wouldn’t know who’s team it is if he’s in Boston.”
But the Lakers, he said, is an entirely different story.
“Now going straight to the Lakers, they’re super-young,” LaVar Ball said. “It’s Lonzo’s team; that’s my opinion of it. Everybody else might think about it differently or something. But I’m just being realistic and thinking about it. He would be a better fit with the Lakers instead of Boston because (the Celtics are) already established and on their way up.”
LaVar has made it known for as long as a microphone was within the sound of his voice, that he wants Lonzo to play for the Los Angeles Lakers.
“It’s just my belief … I kind of feel this is lined up a long time ago,” LaVar Ball said. “And not saying that Lonzo wouldn’t play for the Celtics. I just had this vision of my boy playing for the Lakers (a long time ago) and I’m just going to speak it into existence.”
And when several Mock Drafts and league experts pegged Lonzo as the No. 2 prospect in this draft – and later the Lakers wound up with the No. 2 overall pick – it seemed all the stars aligned themselves for the former UCLA guard to be exactly where he and his family wanted – close to home, playing for the Los Angeles Lakers.
But LaVar knows anything can happen between now and draft night, even when the seemingly best-laid plans are in place.
So yes, he has embraced the idea that Lonzo’s first NBA home may not be in Los Angeles with the Lakers.
“If it doesn’t happen, I won’t be like, ‘goddangit, ah man, life’s over,”’ LaVar said. “Zo’s main goal was to play for the NBA; to get to the NBA. Whatever team he plays for, is fine. Now we go on … let’s say you have a dessert. And your preference is chocolate cake. But if you bring me an apple pie, I ain’t gonna send it back. It’s the same thing. He’s still gonna play so we’re good. Dessert is dessert; NBA team is an NBA team. But if he has a choice and can pick one, I ain’t gonna be afraid to pick one.”
LaVar Ball is a straight-no-chaser kind of guy, a brash-talking father who isn’t the least bit coy about letting anyone in the world know just how talented he believes his sons are when it comes to basketball.
And with his son Lonzo just a couple weeks away from being among the first names called in the June 22 NBA draft (a top-5 selection most likely), LaVar knows there will be established veterans as well as young up-and-comers in the NBA gunning for his son.
“That’s the thing. You want to be a target when you’re good,” he said. “When you’re sorry you ain’t no target. It’s just like a boxer. You don’t want to fight all these contenders. You want the main guy to come and try and kill you. That’s how I want my boys. I want people to come at them.”