BOSTON (CBS) — While Washington guard Markelle Fultz appears to be the most likely selection for the Celtics with the No. 1 overall pick in this summer’s NBA Draft, Danny Ainge has been known to surprise people. Few people saw Jaylen Brown coming at No. 3 in 2016.
That’s why it can’t necessarily be ruled out that Ainge would be more interested in UCLA point guard Lonzo Ball, a native of Anaheim, California who could very well be the pick for the Lakers at No. 2. But that’s not what Ball’s father LaVar exactly wants to happen.
LaVar said on Fox Sports 1’s Undisputed on Wednesday that he hopes the Celtics take Fultz first overall instead and let Ball fall to the Lakers for the second pick. He agreed that he would actively discourage the Celtics from drafting his son if he had to.
“Discourage them? Yes. I hope [the Celtics] don’t take him,” said LaVar. “Markelle Fultz is the perfect pick for them. He’s the best player. Take him.”
The boisterous, highly outspoken LaVar Ball has been a lightning rod for controversy on a wide range of topics related to his son Lonzo, including the guard’s status in the 2017 NBA Draft. LaVar admitted during the interview that he withheld Lonzo from workouts for the Celtics. In fact, he recently said that Lonzo would only work out for the Lakers.
It certainly appears to make perfect sense for the Celtics to go with Fultz, the most popular pick among experts and prognosticators for the No. 1 pick, and let Ball fall to the Lakers. But if Ainge wanted to get as much value as possible for the No. 1 pick, it could behoove him to convince the Lakers or 76ers (No. 3 pick) that they want Ball and would be willing to make a trade.
If the Celtics showed any kind of public interest in Lonzo, this would only be the beginning of LaVar making potentially incendiary public comments. But luckily for LaVar, it’s quite possible that the Celtics agree with him on Fultz.