UCLA guard Lonzo Ball has electrified college basketball fans nationwide during his freshman season, leading most draft experts to slot him high in projections for the 2017 NBA Draft. He's nearly a consensus top-five pick, which is quite an achievement in what appears to be a loaded class.
One of the only red flags popping up for Ball concerns the behavior of his dad. Ball's father, LaVar Ball, is beginning to cross the line separating proud dads from helicopter parents. On Saturday afternoon he told the Kevin and Mike Show on SportsRadio1290 in Arizona that his son would only play for one NBA team: the Los Angeles Lakers.
This is a rather strange thing for a family member of a top prospect to say in advance of the draft. The NBA's lottery order is far from set with about 25 games left this season, and the Lakers will only keep their first-round pick if they end up in the top three; they owe their first to the Philadelphia 76ers if it lands anywhere else.
While GMs won't admit how large an impact this will have on their big boards, Twitter certainly doesn't seem to be a fan of the strategy:
Ball's dad is no stranger to controversy. He made waves when he claimed his son was better than Steph Curry, and during a sideline interview with a reporter in mid-February, the elder Ball doubled down on that stance:
You can't pick your family, and by all accounts Lonzo Ball appears to be a decent kid with a good head on his shoulders. He'll be the one who has to distance himself from the statement, and it might be best to begin to do it now so he doesn't negatively impact how NBA teams view him.