On Thursday night, all the speculation and conjecture and mock drafts will play themselves out for real when the NBA Draft kicks off from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Yes, most of the anticipation revolves around the lottery, but arguably the most compelling part about the whole enterprise is those unsung sleeper players, the late first-round and second round guys who come in and make an unexpected and sometimes franchise-altering impact on the team that takes a chance on them.
The Los Angeles Lakers, for example, have the 25th and 47th picks on Thursday night, and they’re hoping to replicate the unbelievable good fortune that came when they selected Kyle Kuzma last summer at No. 27. And if the Ball family patriarch has any say, they’ll complete the next step in his grand scheme and take his son LiAngelo. The only problem is that his workout with the organization reportedly left them cold, and there’s a growing perception that he may simply not be good enough to hack it in the NBA and may very well go undrafted.
None of that has negatively affected his pop culture ubiquity. See, for instance, this new Foot Locker ad that features him in a starring role and even manages to make light of his high-profile international incident in China last summer.
And LiAngelo isn’t the only draft prospect starring in these new commercial spots. Here’s one featuring Trae Young.
If, in fact, it doesn’t work out for LiAngelo, he’ll always have a future with the Washington Generals, who drafted him today and who drafted his father LaVar last year. It turns out he may be more like his dad than he might think.