There are some NBA fans who believe that the Lakers should consider drafting De’Aaron Fox instead of Lonzo Ball at the top of the 2017 NBA Draft next week. And they think that for a very simple reason. Fox dropped 39 points during Kentucky’s NCAA Tournament game against Ball’s UCLA team back in March, and they think it’s evidence that Fox, not Ball, should be the player the Lakers target in the draft.
There’s still a lot of debate over whether or not that would be the best move for the Lakers—for the record, Fox is on board with that line of thinking and thinks he should be drafted ahead of Ball—but regardless of where Ball and Fox ultimately land in the draft, the media seems to be manufacturing a rivalry between the two players before they're even drafted. And Fox himself seemed to get in on the action during a recent interview with Sports Illustrated.
Fox was asked about his relationship with Lonzo, and he said that he’s known him since they were both high school players. He also pointed out there, before they went to college, he had never heard a peep from Lonzo’s dad LaVar. Fox spoke about why he thinks LaVar suddenly came out of his shell over the course of the last six months, which seems like a strange concept to even consider when you think about just how over-the-top LaVar has been at times.
"In the last year, he became relevant for some reason," Fox said. "When I knew Lonzo in high school, I’d never seen his dad before. He went crazy this year. I guess when your son a lottery pick, that gives you a lot of confidence."
Fox also talked about his 39-point performance against UCLA in the NCAA Tournament and said that LaVar served as his motivation heading into the game. Fox—who averaged 16.7 points and an SEC-leading 4.6 assists per game for Kentucky last season—heard everything LaVar was saying at the time. And he admitted that he wanted to show out against Lonzo and UCLA to "shut LaVar Ball up." If you remember, that’s exactly what he did, though it didn’t last long as LaVar was right back on ESPN a couple days later talking again.
Elsewhere in the interview, Fox discussed what he thinks will happen once Lonzo gets into the NBA. Unfortunately, he thinks Lonzo’s NBA opponents are going to be gunning for him from the jump.
"He put a target on his neck," Fox said.