NBA

LaVar Ball: ‘Lonzo Ball is going to take the Lakers to the playoffs in his first year’

PHOTOGRAPH: TonyTheTiger/Wikimedia Commons | Lonzo Ball of the UCLA Bruins

Lonzo Ball is now officially a member of the Los Angeles Lakers after being selected as the second overall pick in the 2017 NBA draft. After his son was drafted, LaVar Ball made a not so surprising proclamation on the national television.

“Lonzo Ball is going to take the Lakers to the playoffs in his first year,” LaVar told ESPN’s Jeff Goodman. The 2016-17 NBA season marked the fourth season the Lakers missed the playoffs. As a result of tanking, they acquired multiple players who can help them bring the team back to title contention.

Coach Luke Walton reacts on LaVar Ball’s comment

Lonzo Ball doesn’t see anything wrong with his father’s comment and revealed that it’s part of his plan to help the Lakers end their playoff drought. However, Lakers head coach Luke Walton believes LaVar’s comment will apply pressure to his son.

“I think it will make it more challenging, a little bit, but I think every top draft pick that comes in has a target on their back,” Walton said. “The best players in this league want to set the tone with these young players early, to let them know what it’s like here. I know when I was a young player, I had a target on my back from my own teammates because of things my dad [NBA great Bill Walton] said, but it ended up working out.”

Like every second overall pick, the expectation is high for Lonzo Ball. As of now, Walton wants to see him help the Lakers win games in the summer league. With the departure of D’Angelo Russell, Ball is expected to be the Lakers’ starting point guard next season.

Coach Luke Walton doesn’t see any problem on Lonzo Ball’s father

In the past months, LaVar Ball has been the center of attraction because of his antics and choice of words. Some people believe LaVar will be a headache for the Lakers once they drafted Lonzo Ball. Coach Luke Walton doesn’t see anything to be worried about LaVar, believing they made the right choice in drafting his son.

“He’s his own man,” Walton said. “He’s going to do what he does and we’re going to do what we do and we’re going to get after it here. We’re not going to change anything. I’m sure [Lonzo will] fit into our culture. He’ll help improve our culture with the way he plays, the way he passes, his selfless nature, and that’s why we took him.”

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