Orlando Magic Senior Vice President Pat Williams is 77 years old and has seen it all over the last half century and beyond.
Well, everything except LaVar Ball.
Indeed, Lonzo Ball might be the best point guard prospect in a generation, but LaVar Ball is perhaps the most opportunistic parent in parenting history – not to mention a potential headache for whichever team selects Ball in the NBA Draft in June.
“I have seen it all, but not this,” Williams said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “Over almost 50 years in the NBA, (I’ve) never seen anything like Mr. Ball. We have never seen that maybe in all of sports. But if it’s your turn to pick and Lonzo Ball is the best player there at the moment, you take him. You take him. You do not pass talent because of a father.”
Ball averaged 14.6 points, 7.6 assists, and 6.0 rebounds and led UCLA to the Sweet 16 in his lone college season. LaVar, however, seemingly garnered more headlines than his son.
But as Magic Johnson observed, teams are investing in Lonzo, not LaVar.
“Lonzo Ball is a very good player, and he’s going be better in the pros, and he’s a great kid,” Williams said. “Everything we read about him and hear about him, everybody is very fond of him and high on him. And so, you take him.”
And then you hope that LaVar doesn’t cause any problems.
“It’ll be interesting,” Williams said. “Do you lay some rules down with Mr. Ball? Do you tell him that practices are closed, Mr. Ball, to parents? I don’t know, but it’s going to be very, very interesting. Does he just say, ‘I’ve got my son into this. We’ve got him wired up and he’s doing everything just fine and now I can start focusing on my next son’? Does he say that? It’s going to be fascinating. But I don’t think any NBA team just passes on Lonzo Ball because of his dad. I don’t see that happening.”
We’ll know more about Ball’s future whereabouts after the NBA Draft Lottery, which is Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. ET.
Orlando, which went 29-53 this year, has won the lottery three times: in 1992, 1993, and 2004. The Magic used those picks on Shaquille O’Neal, Chris Webber, and Dwight Howard, respectively. Webber was traded to Golden State for Penny Hardaway and three first-round draft picks just minutes later.