The Los Angeles Lakers have been getting an up-close and personal look at Lonzo Ball this week, finally meeting with the widely-speculated No. 2 pick of the 2017 NBA Draft.
Ball dined with Lakers officials Tuesday night, allowing the front office to get a better feel for his personality and who he is as a whole. The Lakers then brought him in for his first and only official workout with an NBA team Wednesday morning, and Jeanie Buss is taking him out for lunch to follow-up.
The gears are turning for the Lakers, who seem to be inching closer to drafting Ball. One of the reasons there's any doubt about the pick is the presence of LaVar Ball, Lonzo's aggresively-supportive father and founder of Big Baller Brand.
It seems clear the Lakers' front office isn't concerned about LaVar's personality, and have already shown that they aren't going to do anything out of the ordinary with how they treat him. LaVar was not invited to the meetings, or workouts, with Lonzo.
The Lakers have been hosting lower-tier prospects in recent weeks and haven't allowed any parents of players into the building while they get to work. The treatment of LaVar was no different, and Magic Johnson and the rest of the brass have voiced their lack of concern of Lonzo's father.
Lonzo met with media following his workout with the Lakers and the inevitable question was asked: What did Magic and the Lakers have to say about your father? It sounds like, once again, there's more reason to believe LaVar will not sway the Lakers' decision on draft night.
"They said they love him. That’s about it," Lonzo said.
LaVar's over-the-top personality has made him a notorious figure, but Lonzo has thrived as a basketball player regardless. Ball's former UCLA head coach Steve Alford even went on record that LaVar never once interfered with anything related to the Bruins while Lonzo became a star.
Ultimately the decision the Lakers make will be a basketball decision, and Lonzo has the opportunity of a lifetime in front of him to become a superstar for the Lakers. That alone should help keep LaVar's focus on making sure his son isn't being distracted by anything, including his own involvement.
The NBA Draft is June 22, and Ball remains the likeliest player to be selected by the Lakers with the No. 2 pick. The young talent the Lakers have gathered in recent years could feature a dynamic backcourt featuring Ball and D'Angelo Russell in just a few weeks.