Lonzo Ball's Dad LaVar Talks Why His Son Should Be No. 1 Pick in 2017 NBA Draft

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistMarch 2, 2017

UCLA guard Lonzo Ball dribbles the ball during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Washington, Wednesday, March 1, 2017, in Los Angeles. UCLA won 98-66. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

In perhaps the least surprising news of the 2017 calendar year, LaVar Ball believes his son, UCLA point guard Lonzo Ball, should be the No. 1 pick in June's NBA draft.

"He's the only player in the draft that can make everybody else around him better, as you can see that with UCLA," LaVar Ball said Thursday, per Jovan Buha of ESPN.

"Why shouldn't he be No. 1? He's earned it. Nobody else is playing like him. Nobody else is doing what he's doing. He's selling out arenas, he's making all his players better. Why wouldn't he be No. 1? How do you start your franchise without that guy?"

Lonzo, widely considered one of the best players in the country, is averaging 15.0 points, 7.6 assists and 6.3 rebounds per game as a freshman at UCLA. The Bruins are 27-3 heading into their final regular-season game against Washington State, looking at a potential No. 1 seed.

Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report currently has Ball going No. 2 overall, behind Washington point guard Markelle Fultz. Kansas' Josh Jackson, Fultz and Ball represent something of a consensus loose top-three on most draft boards heading into March, though opinions vary on their order. 

Jovan Buha @jovanbuha

LaVar Ball on why Lonzo Ball should be the No. 1 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft: https://t.co/bl8UKSdZv0

Fultz is an smooth scoring threat who is putting up massive numbers at Washington despite the Huskies floundering to a 9-20 record. There are few freshmen in recent memory who have put up his impressive numbers at such an efficient clip; his three-point shooting off the dribble helps speak to his promise at the next level.

Ball has the team resume to go with his individual excellence, but his awkward shot and lack of strength make him a bit scarier as a pro prospect. Players have survived NBA life with unorthodox shooting strokes in the past; it's just rare for them to come from a primary ball handler.

While heartening in some ways, LaVar Ball's faith in Lonzo and his sons has created almost as many headlines as they have. LaVar had to clarify statements earlier this week when he seemingly stated Lonzo would only play for the Lakers.

"I'm not trying to say he won't play for a different team," LaVar said, per ESPN.com. "But I'd like him to play for the Lakers because it's home, and I'd love him to learn from Magic [Johnson]. He's the best guard ever to me, and nobody better for Lonzo to learn from than Magic Johnson."

In the same interview, LaVar also said he was going to "speak [Lonzo playing for the Lakers] into existence." What's abundantly clear is that the headline machine is going to keep turning anytime you put a hot mic into LaVar Ball's face.


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