Luke Walton isn’t worried about LaVar Ball‘s involvement with Lonzo Ball. Not yet, anyway. The head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers said someone will ask about Ball’s involvement at UCLA, but it’s not his job at the moment.
Walton spoke on The Dan Patrick Show on Friday and said every player the Lakers look at with the second overall pick in next month’s NBA Draft will get a full evaluation, whether that includes the way they interact with team managers or how their domineering fathers interact with those around the team.
Patrick asked why everyone assumes the Lakers will draft Lonzo Ball, which gave Walton a chance to rave about the UCLA standout’s abilities on the court.
Well obviously he’s from LA. He went to UCLA. And he’s an unbelievable player, I absolutely love his game. The way he passes, the way he makes everybody on his team better. It’s an unbelievable skill. It’s a joy watching him play.
He’s right now, on paper, a great fit.
It’s quite the endorsement from Walton, but the quote is broken up that way for a reason. Even with all that praise, the head coach stressed that every player they’re interested in goes through a lengthy evaluation process.
The reality of it is there’s a lot of really, really talented kids in this draft. Our scouts are evaluating every one of them, they’re putting together film edits for me and I’m watching my part.
And we’re going to dive into what they’re like. We’re going to call their schools and see how they treated the mangers on their team. We’re going to call the trainers. We’re going to see were they good when they came to the training room and needed to get healthy. Everything about them—you’re talking about draft picks this high, there’s going to be a lot of research done so that’ll play into who we draft.
Patrick asked if Walton would call UCLA directly and ask about LaVar Ball’s “involvement” at UCLA while Lonzo attended. Walton isn’t planning on it, but eventually someone on the Lakers staff will ask those kinds of questions.
“I wouldn’t personally,” Walton said. “But yeah, somebody in our organization will, absolutely.”
Considering UCLA is heavily invested in the LaVar Ball ecosystem, it will be interesting to see how those kinds of calls go. With his sons LaMelo and Liangelo already committed to attend the school, it’s clear UCLA will have a relationship with Big Baller Brand for years to come. If both sides are happy, that call from the Lakers to Steve Alford might be the final piece that lands Lonzo on the Lakers.