Lonzo Ball's draft stock stays strong with Lakers watching

Duke small forward Jayson Tatum

"Yea, this is insane", Ball said in a media room at the Barclays Center, where he sat as the focal point of a conference call with reporters back at the Lakers' facility in El Segundo. "I'll have another hat on that say, 'I told you so'". I'm happy to be home.

Ball is a true Los Angeles product, having played his high school ball at Chino Hills and then playing his one year of college at UCLA.

The Lakers selected Ball with the second overall pick in the National Basketball Association draft Thursday night, staking a big portion of their future on the UCLA playmaker with an attention-grabbing father.

In the second round, Los Angeles welcomed another Bryant.

LaVar Ball has vowed that oldest son Lonzo would end up with the Lakers for two years, believing he could speak his dream into existence. If I live on what ifs, I will never get to where I am at.

The day began at 5 a.m. when Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka woke up so he could make phone calls with Eastern Conference teams starting their workday at more conventional hours.

"Time with (the Ball) family really helped crystalize our decision", Pelinka said late Thursday night, after the draft had wrapped up. "So we're going to be relentless with the work and we're going to pursue every opportunity until we reach our goal".

Tina Ball recently sufferred a stroke. Come see me when he does.

Pressed further, though, Walton admitted LaVar's comments, while perhaps not affecting the rest of the team, will focus the spotlight more intently on Lonzo. "There's something very, very special about his basketball abilities". His elite court vision and ability to make everyone around him better are highly valued by the Lakers, and they should be.

It was wonderful. I talked to Rob Pelinka, Magic (Johnson), Coach (Luke) Walton, it was awesome.

"We've said from the beginning, we aren't looking for an endorsement deal", LaVar Ball told ESPN then.

"I'm sure he'll fit into our culture", Walton said before adding to his thought.

"He's the type of player that, when he's on the floor, all four guys that are out there with him become better instantly", Lakers coach Luke Walton said.

In February, CBS reported on how Mr. Ball compared the branding power of his eldest son Lonzo to that of Michael Jordan and Nike.

"Definitely. That's how I've played my whole life. All I can do is go out there and play".

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