NBA execs say LaVar Ball won't influence Lonzo Ball's draft slot

ByJeff Goodman ESPN logo
Friday, May 12, 2017

CHICAGO -- New Los Angeles Lakers president Magic Johnson says LaVar Ball and his provocative personality won't influence whether Johnson drafts former UCLA star Lonzo Ball.

"No effect at all," Johnson told ESPN at the NBA combine. "I think what you're drafting is the son and not the father. I think that you also are gauging and evaluating his son on his ability and what he can do not only on the basketball court but also what he can do for your team. How he can enhance and make your team better."

The Lakers will go into Tuesday's NBA draft lottery with the third-highest chance to get the top overall pick. If the Lakers don't get one of the top three picks, the selection will be sent to the Philadelphia 76ers.

Lonzo Ball is projected by most NBA executives to be selected in the top three of the June 22 draft.

"If we're fortunate to keep our pick, wherever that is, then you take a look at him," Johnson said. "Just like any team who would be drafting in the top four or five would take a look at him and the other players who are there."

The Phoenix Suns, who have the second-best chance of landing the top pick, will be drafting in the top five. Suns general manager Ryan McDonough, along with several other NBA executives, agreed with Johnson that the elder Ball won't hinder whether they select Lonzo Ball.

"Not really, no," McDonough said. "We evaluate the player, first and foremost. Every player comes from a different family situation. It seems like LaVar has been extremely involved in Lonzo's career, and obviously he's a polarizing guy, but on the court, in terms of development, it seems like it's helped Lonzo.

"As we try to weigh in all the factors, certainly having a parent who's very involved and cares a lot, we don't view that as a bad thing. It's a little bit different than certain situations, but it's certainly that we would not disqualify Lonzo for [his father], or really factor heavily in our decision."

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