Los Angeles Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball had an incredible college career at UCLA last season, averaging 16.6 points per game to go with 8.7 assists and 6.8 rebounds while leading the Bruins to a Sweet 16 appearance.
Ball and the Bruins were one of the most fun teams in college basketball last season, and it would be hard to imagine that year without him. He rode that success into becoming the No. 2 overall in the NBA Draft, joining his hometown Los Angeles Lakers.
That Ball spent just one season at UCLA was hardly a surprise. It was a plan his father, LaVar, outlined for each of his three sons. But that recently changed, and LaVar announced his intentions to form a league that would serve as an alternative to playing collegiately.
Had that option been available to Lonzo, he said it likely would’ve resulted in him skipping college, via Bill Oram of the Southern California News Group:
“Personally, probably,” Lonzo Ball said. “If you know you’re going to be a pick (in the NBA Draft), go ahead and get to play versus the top guys in the country and move on with your life.”
If LaVar’s league can actually draw top prospects with it’s promise of a paid salary, then Ball is correct that it would seem like a more enticing option for the very best players in the world to spend a year preparing for the NBA, rather than having to go through the charade of going to school for a year when they have no plans to get a degree.
On the other hand, there is no guarantee that the Big-Baller-Brand-funded league will draw those types of players, and if it can’t, the league will have a hard time getting off the ground.
All that said, it’s hard to imagine that had the Junior Basketball Association existed that Ball wouldn’t play in the league given that he’s the primary endorser of his family’s line of apparel and seems to get brought into whatever schemes LaVar hatches.
Either way, we’ll never get to know, although it will be interesting to see what happens with the league without Lonzo, and what the NBA’s response to it is.
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