Lonzo Ball Rumors: Magic Johnson, Lakers Drafted PG for 'Hollywood Story'

Blake SchusterSenior Analyst IIMarch 18, 2021

Magic Johnson, left, laughs as Los Angeles Lakers draft pick Lonzo Ball tells reporters he hadn't been born when Johnson played for the Lakers. during a news conference, Friday, June 23, 2017, in El Segundo, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

The Los Angeles Lakers partially fulfilled LaVar Ball's prophecy by drafting his oldest son, Lonzo, with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2017 draft. It may have been a marriage that was doomed from the start. 

In a new piece on the Ball brothers, The Athletic's Bill Oram reported then-Lakers president Magic Johnson became enamored with the idea of picking the California native out of UCLA more for the narrative than Ball's fit with the team. 

"It was looked at from Magic and others' perspective as being too good of a Hollywood story to pass up," a league source familiar with the Lakers' draft strategy told Oram. "This has to work out because it's a perfect story. Because it's Hollywood."

Another source told Oram: "It was too good to be true. I think the Hollywood story was the worst thing that could have happened to him looking back. You have the most storied franchise and the franchise's most storied player, arguably, proclaiming this guy to be the next big thing. Wow."

Now four years into his NBA career, Ball could be on the move again with the New Orleans Pelicans reportedly willing to trade the guard. 

In two seasons with the Lakers, Ball averaged 10.0 points, 6.4 assists and 6.2 rebounds over 99 games before he was dealt to New Orleans with Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and a few picks to acquire Anthony Davis. 

Ball did help L.A. earn a Hollywood ending—just not in the way it may have expected. 

The Lakers rode the duo of LeBron James and Davis to an NBA title last year while the Pelicans missed out on the postseason. 

Now 23, Ball is scoring a career-best 14.2 points per game, but his assists and rebounds have dropped to 5.5 and 4.2 per game, respectively. That's left the Pelicans wondering about his long-term fit with the club as Ingram and Zion Williamson continue to look like franchise cornerstones. 

Ball's own Hollywood ending may still be out there. He's young enough to prove his detractors wrong and skilled enough to play meaningful minutes in the NBA. His story began with the Lakers drafting him as a homegrown hero. 

That won't be where it ends. That part is still very much up to Ball.