Lonzo Ball facing extra scrutiny as NBA career approaches

UCLA point guard Lonzo Ball earned the distinction of being one of the country’s best college players in 2016-17. His athleticism, length, and dazzling floor vision make him one of the most intriguing prospects for the upcoming NBA Draft.

Ball, a California product, has his sights set on the Los Angeles Lakers, who own the No. 2 pick in the Draft. The Boston Celtics, who select first, seemingly wouldn’t need a pure point guard, making Markelle Fultz the likely first overall pick.

Ball is set to face even more scrutiny than the average No. 2 pick. His father, LaVar Ball, has repeatedly put himself in the spotlight with outlandish claims. Those claims will follow Lonzo, though.

Most recently, LaVar Ball went onto Colin Cowherd’s radio show and–in addition to offending women–proclaimed that he would only listen to the major shoe companies if the starting offer was $3 billion. That’s right, billion with a ‘b’. A friendly reminder: Lonzo Ball has yet to step onto an NBA court, and from all indications, he’s the superior player when compared to his two younger brothers.

Nevertheless, LaVar Ball is touting his “Big Baller Brand” sneakers at $450, mocking those who can’t afford them. In the long run, the public’s disdain for the loud-mouthed father could bleed over to the well-intentioned son.

Lonzo Ball won’t play in anonymity, either. He’s the consensus No. 2 pick in the Draft, and Magic Johnson of the Los Angeles Lakers would likely covet Ball’s court vision–a hallmark of Johnson’s career.

In the Lakers’ locker room, however, Lonzo Ball’s teammates will not share the same opinion as the father. The player, at some point, is going to have to play–and succeed. Talk will only go so far.

LaVar Ball already proclaimed that the Lakers would make the playoffs next year. The Balls are setting themselves up for a massive plate of crow.

The Lakers, and other teams should they be interested, will need to realize that this Draft involves a package deal–for better or worse. "Dad is never going to go away,” LaVar Ball told Cowherd. “I'm always going to be his dad. Just like people say, I need to fall back. I don't walk behind my son, I walk on the side of him, so I'm always going to be on the side.”