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March 18th, 2017

Report: Executives Believe LaVar Ball’s Comments Won’t Affect Lonzo Ball’s Draft Stock

JD Shaw @JShawNBA
Lonzo Ball

Lonzo Ball and LaVar Ball. (Richard Mackson/USA TODAY Sports)

Current UCLA guard and projected top-three pick Lonzo Ball is leading his team in the NCAA tournament right now with a focus on winning games and maintaining a respectable status for June’s NBA Draft.

His father, LaVar Ball, has made it somewhat difficult in the minds of fans. His ludicrous comments on a variety of subjects in recent weeks, such as saying he would beat Michael Jordan 1-on-1, that his son is a better player than Steph Curry and requesting a $1 billion shoe deal have resulted in poor attention for the Ball family.

The public perception is that LaVar’s nonsensical comments may negatively affect the draft stock of son Lonzo, but according to a report from USA Today’s Sam Amick, executives aren’t exactly thinking this way:

For all the recent focus on LaVar and his one-man media tour – the endless string of interviews full of cocky claims and premature promises, coupled with insults at everyone from Stephen Curry to Charles Barkley and Michael Jordan – the  consensus among front office executives who discussed the matter with USA TODAY Sports this week was that his draft stock won’t be harmed by his father’s controversial style. As one general manager put it, and many other executives confirmed in various forms when consulted on the matter, “No one’s paying attention to Ball’s father.”

It certainly helps that personal branding has long since become an accepted part of today’s NBA. So when Lavar talks about his family’s “Big Baller Brand” company (the Triple Bs) growing into something on par with the Jordan brand under Nike, it doesn’t scare teams off like it might have a few decades ago. Among the dozen executives who were contacted, only two expressed any belief that LaVar’s ways could negatively impact Lonzo’s draft standing. As one of them noted, the LaVar factor could come into play if a team is torn between him and another prospect when the draft buzzer is about to ring.
“That could be the thing that tilts the balance,” he said.

The 2017 NBA Draft is set to fall on Thursday, June 22nd this year. Lonzo is expected to be chosen in the top-three, regardless of the comments his father makes.

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