A new report indicates that the Los Angeles Lakers’ decision to draft Lonzo Ball with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft was partially due to the prospective storyline connected to Ball.
Bill Oram of The Athletic looked at how other potential 2017 draftees, such as Donovan Mitchell and De’Aaron Fox, were ignored by the Lakers in favor of Ball.
“‘It was looked at from Magic [Johnson] and others’ perspective as being too good of a Hollywood story to pass up,’ said one league source who was familiar with the Lakers draft strategy preparation,” Orem wrote. “‘This has to work out because it’s a perfect story. Because it’s Hollywood.’
“Another source close to the Lakers agreed with that characterization, saying, ‘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.’”
The pressure placed upon Ball worked against him. Over his first two years with the lakers, Ball recorded statistical averages of just 10.0 points, 6.4 assists, 6.2 rebounds and 1.6 steals per game. While such numbers weren’t bad, the hype that preceded Ball made them seem below average to the Lakers’ fan base.
So, when Anthony Davis indicated that he no longer wanted to play for the New Orleans Pelicans, Ball became part of the eventual trade package that brought Davis to the Lakers.
Ball’s statistical numbers in his second season with the Pelicans are somewhat similar to those of his days with the Lakers and offer some doubt as to whether he’ll ever achieve greatness.
Ball’s brother, LaMelo, is in his first season with the Charlotte Hornets after having been the third overall pick in last November’s draft.
LaMelo Ball is making a strong case for Rookie of the Year honors and has much less pressure on his shoulders than his older brother had.
In addition, he got an up-close look at the circumstances of his brother’s time with the Lakers, which has given him invaluable wisdom in dealing with his own NBA career.