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Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Tuesday / May 23.
  • Lonzo Ball’s Draft Status Unlikely to be Impacted by his Father’s Comments: NBA Personnel

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    In the past few days, LaVar Ball has been compared to famous sports fathers ranging from Marv Marinovich to Chris Cook to Richard Williams.

    Yet despite LaVar’s outspoken comments regarding his son, UCLA freshman point guard Lonzo Ball, they are unlikely to impact the the young man’s draft status, several NBA personnel and experts told ZAGSBLOG.

    Asked if NBA executives had concerns about LaVar, Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress.com said, “Yes, but thankfully for Lonzo, he’s good enough and stable enough that it shouldn’t affect him too much.”

    The 6-foot-6 Ball is currently projected as the No. 2 pick on DraftExpress.com. A Naismith semifinalist, he is averaging 14.8 points, 7.6 assists and 6.2 rebounds for UCLA, which hosts Washington on Wednesday in a game that likely won’t include projected No. 1 pick Markelle Fultz (knee).

    In recent days, LaVar Ball has made national news by A) saying his son will be better in the NBA than Steph Curry; B) initially saying Lonzo will only play for the Lakers, then backtracking slightly to say he would prefer his son play for Magic Johnson’s team; and C) comparing his son’s branding power to that of Michael Jordan.

    All of these comments are not lost on NBA folks, especially those in Boston, Phoenix, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Orlando, the teams expected to nab the top few picks in the Draft.

    “At the end of the day it will not determine where he gets drafted because I believe they are going to draft him on talent because he appears to be a solid young man brought up by a very supportive family,” one Western Conference executive said.

    Asked if NBA execs had concerns, one NBA scout said, “Not really. If he hasn’t already, as soon as he gets his money, he will ignore his father.”

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    Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.