UCLA freshman point guard Lonzo Ball is going to be one of the top picks in the upcoming NBA draft. That much we know.
What we don’t know is where he’ll land.
Ball is considered to be one of the top point guard prospects in a draft loaded with them, and has a resume that features accomplishments such as leading the country in assists, guiding UCLA to a 31-5 record, and possessing a court vision that not many other prospects can claim. He could go anywhere from No. 1 to No. 10. But it’s more likely to be in the upper level of that range.
Given the option on where he’d like to go in the draft order, Ball says he’d rather fall to the Los Angeles Lakers in the draft than be taken No. 1 overall. Seriously. When he was asked that very question on SportsNation, this was his response.
I’m going with the Lakers ... All my family is from L.A. so to be able to play in front of them, I think that would mean more to me.
Ball, a product of Chino Hills, would naturally rather play close to home. I totally get his angle of hoping to play around friends and family and not having to move across the country. But most high level prospects dream of being taken No. 1 overall and gliding across that stage to shake the NBA commissioner’s hand. It’s unnatural and weird to see him say he’d rather fall in the draft (likely to No. 3, where the Lakers will probably be picking). He’d likely be missing out on not only some endorsements that would go with being the top pick, but also the overall advantage of owning bragging rights of being the top pick.
I’ve never been a serious NBA prospect, but I’m sure that stuff matters. Apparently it doesn’t to Ball.
Ultimately, he won’t get to call his shot, as we all know. If the Celtics or the Suns fall in love with him and pull the trigger before he falls to the Lakers at No. 3, he doesn’t get a magic veto button that just sends him to L.A. He knows that. But before teams make their decisions they’ll be hanging on these players every words. For a guy openly campaigning to fall to the Lakers, those types of comments likely don’t go unheard.