When the Los Angeles Lakers selected Lonzo Ball with the second pick in the 2017 Draft, they knew what they were getting themselves into.
LaVar Ball, Lonzo’s dad, had already proven to be a loose cannon and a potential distraction.
But, the Lakers felt as though the UCLA standout was simply too talented to pass up. So far this season, he has struggled to score the ball efficiently, shooting an embarrassingly-low 35.6 percent from the field and 30.3 percent from three-point range. But overall, he is averaging 10.2 points, 7.1 rebounds and 7.1 assists over 33.9 minutes.
Although Lonzo’s potential is sky-high, the words and actions of his father have essentially made his play less of a talking-point.
"You can see they're not playing for Luke no more," Ball recently told Jeff Goodman of ESPN. ”Luke doesn't have control of the team no more. They don't want to play for him."
"That's a good team," he added at the time. "Nobody wants to play for him. I can see it. No high-fives when they come out of the game. People don't know why they're in the game. He's too young. He's too young. ... He ain't connecting with them anymore. You can look at every player, he's not connecting with not one player."
After he uttered those words, NBA coaches rushed to Walton’s defense, as did rookie Kyle Kuzma. But, Lonzo was silent.
Via a recent report by Bleacher Report’s Ric Bucher, the organization is getting fed up with Lonzo’s lack of support for the organization and his coach.
“While the Lakers front office, coaching staff and players have not turned on their rookie teammate for his father's indiscretions, a league source said, they are not happy about them,” Bucher reported.
"They are frustrated that he can't stand up to his dad, but they really like him," a source told him.
Other anonymous league executives also weighed in with the same general message.
"The kid could stop all of it," one VP said. "All he has to say to the media is, 'He doesn't speak for me. If you want to talk about the Lakers, speak to me, don't speak to my dad.’"
"If the kid is ever going to be a real player that is taken seriously, he will have to put his dad on ice," an Eastern Conference general manager said. "My guess is it will take a number of years before that happens."
If he wasn’t as talented as he is, one Western Conference executive said that Lonzo might be out of a job by now.
"Are you more valuable than your problems?" the executive noted. "With Lonzo, he's probably more valuable. ... The more narrow the gap in talent, the more you look at other factors. If a guy is a late first-round pick, are you willing to take on the same problems? Probably not."
Another Eastern Conference general manager had even stronger words.
"The dad has verbally fought all his fights for him," he explained. "The kid is in the habit of retreating and saying, 'OK, I guess he's got this.' The parent is trying to out-do the kid. You could argue that LaVar is a bigger name than Lonzo. There's a tragedy in that, and we're watching it unfold.”
It remains to be seen if Lonzo will ever break away from his father's antics. If he doesn’t, he runs the risk of not reaching his potential based on the clear distraction that LaVar has already proven to be.News Now - Sport News