When Magic Johnson decided that the Los Angeles Lakers would select Lonzo Ball with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, even he probably didn’t know just how many negative headlines LaVar Ball would create for the team.
The Big Baller Brand CEO and father of the Lakers most important player has fueled a media firestorm by doing everything from suggesting Luke Walton had lost the locker room to feuding with other NBA players and everything in between.
But now knowing all of that and with hindsight being 20/20, Johnson told Ramona Shelburne of ESPN that Lonzo is special enough to warrant all of the extra headlines and attention, and Johnson wouldn’t change his decision:
Was it worth it to draft Lonzo Ball, knowing all the drama his father has brought with him?
Johnson said he has no regrets.
“No, not for one minute,” he says. “He’s everything we thought he would be and more. And I’m talking about Lonzo.”
Lonzo won’t win Rookie of the Year, but he has been phenomenal for a 20-year-old playing on a lottery team. The Lakers are 2.7 points per 100 possessions better with him on the court than they are when he sits.
That’s the best mark for anyone on the team, and Ball is already good or average in basically every basketball skill other than shooting and appears to have as bright of a future in the NBA as just about any young player.
While the Lakers might be disappointed in the headaches LaVar has given them, basically any organization in the league would make that trade-off for such a promising potential star, and doubly so for one as marketable as Lonzo is.
The Lakers surely wish LaVar would create less drama for the organization to deal with, but so far Lonzo has been worth it. As long as he continues to improve, that will almost assuredly continue to be the case.