Lonzo Ball has been in the news this week for the same reason that Lonzo Ball has been in the news every week for the past two months: LaVar Ball said something crazy. After months in the spotlight, this week Lonzo's father responded to a few critics directly, saying "Jason Whitlock can't comment on anything but snacks" (funny!) and telling Kristine Leahy she needs to "stay in her lane" (ehh...). All of this is uncomfortable. It's been this way for a while. It will probably continue this way at least through the draft, and maybe beyond. But with that throat clearing out of the way, here is a take: if the Lakers keep this pick, they shouldn't draft Lonzo Ball—and it has nothing to do with his dad. If the Lakers think Ball is the second-best player in the draft, or a future franchise cornerstone, or the point guard to bring them to the next level, they should take him. But I don't think he fits any of those criteria. If anything, the noise surrounding Lonzo's dad has helped distract people from valid questions about the UCLA star's game. As a prospect he's got a high floor—bigger Ricky Rubio—but there are reasons to be skeptical about his ceiling. We never really saw him score in the halfcourt at UCLA. It's not clear that he can create his own shot against NBA athletes. While he's incredible in transition, pushing the pace will be tougher in the NBA than it was against, say, Utah in the Pac-12. His shooting numbers are good, but they begin to look a little more questionable upon closer investigation. His work in the pick-and-roll is underwhelming. Defensively he's long enough to potentially hold his own, but he doesn't have the athleticism to ever excel on that end.
The Lakers Should Draft De'Aaron Fox, Not Lonzo Ball
SI | May 19