Magic just might have a Jayhawk up his sleeve
Lavar Ball, father of UCLA star point guard prospect, has had a blast making outrageous statements.
He’s a laugh riot, provided you can laugh about a man blowing his son’s shot at a $20 million shoe contract because he started his own shoe company and came up with a $495 price tag for a pair of sneakers.
Anyway, one of Lavar’s headline statements came when he said that his son Lonzo would sign only with the Lakers. Sure enough, the lottery gave the Lakers the second pick and most mock drafts have them selecting the local prospect.
Not so fast.
If I’m the Lakers, I throw a wrench into that scenario and draft a player who brings such intense competitiveness and has such a well-rounded game that he could get to work at establishing a winning culture from Day 1 and do it with a smile and smoothness made for Hollywood.
Josh Jackson’s a smiling assassin, just as the man making the decisions for the Lakers now was during his playing days.
Magic Johnson has a great appreciation for basketball players who excel in all areas because that’s how he won championships. Ball does that too, although he doesn’t get after it defensively to the same extent as Jackson. Kentucky’s De’Aaron Fox, the draft’s quickest player, blew by him all day in the NCAA tournament.
Magic played at Michigan State and tried to get Jackson to do the same. He has known all about Jackson, his game, his fiery, competitive spirit and natural charisma for years. To know Jackson is to like him.
Magic's signature play was the no-look pass and now we're supposed to believe that now that everyone’s looking at Ball as the Lakers' obvious pick Magic’s going to telegraph a move for the first time in his life? Magicians, masters of illusion, don't let the rest of us behind the curtain.
Jackson would look great in purple and gold. His passes will remind Lakers fans of Magic's. His dunks will recall those of James Worthy. He'll defend the way Michael Cooper did. He'll play winning basketball in an unselfish way that will make veteran stars want to join him via free agency.
The draft isn’t until Thursday, June 22, by which time Lavar Ball might be planning to start a basketball league on Mars, one that charges $10,000 per ticket, excluding the cost of the roundball interplanetary roundtrip spaceship flight.
It will be a fascinating draft, especially if the Lakers pass on Ball and a few others do as well as the cameras zoom in on his father’s sweat beads.