When Lonzo Ball and De’Aaron Fox played against each other in last season’s Sweet 16 it did not quite live up to the excitement fans had hoped for. Ball put on a lackluster performance while Fox completely dominated the game by scoring 39 points.
Leading up to the NBA Draft the Los Angeles Lakers, who held the second overall pick, did their due diligence and worked out many players including Ball and Fox. While Ball was the favorite to land with the Lakers some thought Fox could be the choice. Eventually the Lakers drafted Ball and Fox landed with the Sacramento Kings with the fifth overall pick.
When the Las Vegas Summer League schedule was announced the Lakers and Kings were set to play each other and many began anticipating the rematch between the guards. Unfortunately Ball was eventually ruled out because of a groin injury. That prompted fans to think that Ball was avoiding another matchup against Fox, who even expressed emotion by posting a since-deleted tweet that hinted at Ball’s injury.
The backlash against Lonzo apparently did not sit well with LaVar Ball. In an appearance with Mark Willard and Chris Broussard on Fox Sports Radio, LaVar expressed his dismay at the thought of Lonzo being afraid of Fox and even suggested that Fox needs to mention Ball to be relevant, via Ari Thanawalla of CSN Bay Area:
“Duck De’Aaron Fox? Have you heard about De’Aaron Fox? Hell nah. You can’t hear about him unless he puts my boy’s name in his mouth. He been doing all this stuff and ain’t nobody been talking about him. So he and his dad gotta link themselves to us to be relevant. De’Aaron Fox had a whole season and the only thing they talk about is 39 points against Zo. You don’t put Zo in a sentence, nobody cares about him.”
The idea that Lonzo was avoiding Fox is a foolish one, and Fox has even said so himself. It was only Summer League and risking any kind of serious damage is a terrible idea. The Lakers eventually won the game and Fox was arguably outplayed by Alex Caruso, who earned a two-way contract with the Lakers in large part due to his performance on that night.
Those who have been waiting to see Fox and Ball square off again will get multiple chances to do so as the Lakers and Kings will square off four times a year. With all of the back and forth between Lonzo, Fox, and their fathers, the Lakers-Kings rivalry could start heating up soon.