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Is Lonzo Ball the Next Kobe Bryant?

Lonzo Ball is the best player in the draft; it isn't even close. The fact that he may be available to the Lakers with the number two pick is amazing. However, if the rumor mill is to be believed, the Lakers may be souring on him, in large part due to his helicopter parent dad.

We, of course, think this would be a silly move on the Lakers part. Young players, in general, are volatile and never a sure thing. That said, if you want the best chance for success, you should go for productive players with upside, and Lonzo Ball is that wrapped up in a bow. And players having tenuous family relationships is nothing new. As Chris Yeh noted on this week's podcast, the Lakers saw similar with Kobe Bryant! LaVar Ball claimed he was better than MJ? Joe Jelly Bryant said his game was good as Magic's! What about the odd shoe situation and refusing to work out for the Celtics? Kobe Bryant had Sonny Vaccaro working behind the scenes when he was drafting on behalf of Adidas. And part of this included convincing the Nets (the team's pick that the Celtics could use on Lonzo ...) to pass on Kobe! The only real difference now is that media coverage and social media have gotten much bigger in the last two decades.

We're not saying Lonzo Ball is a surefire pick. And we're not saying his relationship with his father won't cause problems. All we are saying is that volatile young players with baggage are nothing new in the NBA. Kobe Bryant had his fair of issues both on and off the court for two decades, but he still helped the Lakers win. If the Lakers want back in the playoffs, we say target the best players. And in the draft, if they can get Lonzo, they should get Lonzo.

My concern with his father is that his quotes indicate to me he might be the sort of guy who thinks his son can make it big without the NBA or some garbage like that. In other words, you end up with a player who never laces them up for your team, which is a wasted pick and a PR nightmare.

As such, if this were a Ball vs. Anthony Davis situation, where you have another likely star as an option, I might consider Davis.

But that isn't the case at all. Lonzo Ball is so clearly better than the rest of the field, it renders any and all intangibles moot. Add to that the fact a team that passes him up is likely to draft one of the massively overrated point guards in this draft, and I don't see how it's a decision.
The media Kobe grew up in and the modern media are night and day. Not just the advent of social media either. Even conventional sports media has a constant news cycle now. Lavar's platform is incomparable to 20 years ago.
Silly note: The preview text uses the word "unphased," which should probably be "unfazed".
Chris,
A funny, semi-related story. For year's I said "Wouldn't pass mustard." and only recently discovered it was "Pass muster." I've been typing/writing it "unphased" for years ... so ... yeah :)

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