Family affair: Lakers grab Lonzo Ball with 2nd overall pick
EL SEGUNDO, California — Lonzo Ball and his dad are staying home with the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Lakers selected Ball with the second overall pick in the NBA draft Thursday night, staking a big portion of their future on the UCLA playmaker with an attention-grabbing father.
After the worst four-year stretch in franchise history, the 16-time NBA champion Lakers are rebuilding with the point guard who led the nation with 7.7 assists per game last season for the Bruins. With preternatural court vision and a desire to become a leader, Ball has everything the Lakers wanted on court.
The Lakers also don’t appear concerned by LaVar Ball, the family patriarch with aspirations of building a global sports empire around his three talented sons.
LaVar Ball has vowed that oldest son Lonzo would end up with the Lakers for two years, believing he could speak his dream into existence. Moments after it became a reality at the draft in New York, LaVar pulled on a purple-and-gold hat featuring the logo of his Big Baller Brand company — and then vowed Lonzo will lead the Lakers back to the playoffs next season as a rookie.
Lonzo Ball usually grins and sighs when his father gets on the microphone, but he openly acknowledged he wanted to land with the Lakers, who needed a fortunate showing in the draft lottery just to end up with the second pick.
After that bit of serendipity, the Lakers made their plans for Ball well-known earlier this week when they agreed to trade point guard D’Angelo Russell to the Brooklyn Nets.
LaVar Ball raised his family in Chino Hills, a Los Angeles suburb 35 miles east of Staples Center. Lonzo Ball has never attended a Lakers home game, but he rooted for Kobe Bryant on television and modeled his game after Magic Johnson, who took over the Lakers’ basketball operations in February.
Ball receives comparisons to Jason Kidd for his offensive abilities. His cool playmaking turned UCLA into the highest-scoring team in Division I, and he scored 14.6 points per game despite an unorthodox shot.