BOSTON (CBS) — As soon as the Lakers landed the No. 2 overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, the franchise deciding to select UCLA point guard Lonzo Ball became a fait accompli.
But now with the draft just a little more than a week away, the basketball world is not so sure.
That’s come to the forefront recently, after Ball reportedly appeared to be out of shape during his pre-draft workout with the Lakers. A report from the Orange County Register said that the Lakers weren’t impressed with Ball’s conditioning, and suggested that the lack of conditioning prevented Ball from running through everything the Lakers wanted to see.
This news got Fred Toucher thinking. Here’s the theory he espoused Wednesday morning on Toucher & Rich:
At a point, Lonzo Ball you would have to think would say, ‘Well why am I on TV so much, and why is it never about me? I look at Markelle Fultz, who’s going to get taken ahead of me, and he’s barely on TV. And if he is, it’s for a commercial he’s getting paid for. If I look at Josh Jackson and these guys, they’re not getting peppered all over the place.
So he showed up for his Los Angeles Lakers tryout, at the time the only tryout that he was going to have, and for all accounts it was unimpressive and he was out of shape. Now they’re saying there’s a six out of 10 chance that the Lakers are going to take Lonzo Ball. That is the belief in the league.
I’m wondering if Lonzo Ball — who has been bred for this his entire life, who went to UCLA, played well enough to be considered the consensus No. 2 pick in the NBA Draft — goes to the Lakers, who are the one team his father desperately wants him to play for, and shows up out of shape, can’t get through all the drills, if this somehow is self-sabotage because he’s had enough.
Even if it’s not on his conscious mind, something subliminally has told him, ‘I gotta put the brakes on this crap.’ That it’s just enough. Because it doesn’t make sense, someone who’s been raised from birth — this is like a Todd Marinovich thing it seems to me, someone who’s been raised since birth by an overbearing father. But at least Marinovich’s dad, I don’t recall him being on TV every time that Marinovich talked.
And maybe it was just like, ‘You know what? Screw this. Why should I want to play for the Lakers? It’s just what my father wants. If I go somewhere else, my father can’t be there all the time because I’ve got a brother who’s at UCLA and another brother that’s in high school that’s going to UCLA. He can’t go around the country and follow me everywhere. Maybe the best thing for me would be to get away from him.’
Can you explain to me any other reason why Lonzo Ball would not be in condition to do a workout for the one team he supposedly wants to play for?
There’s guys that are working on skills that they didn’t have. All you do after you leave college is train specifically for these workouts. You put on muscle and it gets very serious. This is for your payday.
If he went to Sacramento and tried out and tanked it, you’d maybe go, ‘All right, it’s crazy to do it, but maybe he just really wants to play for the Lakers.‘ But to do it for the Lakers makes me think that this is the only way he can control anything.
He can’t come out and say, ‘I don’t want to play for you.’ But maybe he could go and screw it all up.
Hey, it’s an interesting theory. And Lonzo Ball’s comedic apperance in a Foot Locker ad which debuted Wednesday shows that the NBA prospect is at the very least aware of the unique influence of his father in his career.
Listen to the full audio in the player at the top of the post.