Let’s just go ahead and say it: LaVar Ball is crazy. In a way, it’s maddening. In a way, it’s endearing.
But it’s also, perhaps, misunderstood.
“I think all of this conversation with LaVar, how crazy his statements have been – and they are crazy, don’t get me wrong – have also taken away from the fact that he’s been a fantastic father, a guy that’s supported his kids,” Fox Sports1 college basketball analyst Casey Jacobsen said on CBS Sports Radio’s The Doug Gottlieb Show. “They’ve lived in the same home in Chino Hills since 1992. They’ve never played for an AAU program. They’ve done it their way. They’ve stayed in public schools. I got a lot of love for that and respect for that.
“But I have big problems with one thing,” Jacobsen continued. “He said all of his kids are going to be one-and-done. That is wrong. LiAngelo Ball, who’s a senior and going to be a freshman at UCLA, he is nowhere near a one-and-done prospect. He is nowhere near an NBA prospect. I think it’s unfair to heap upon him that responsibility of being that type of player – because he’s not going to be. And Melo, who’s 15 years old and a sophomore right now, he’s good, but I don’t know how good he will be.”
Lonzo is a different story. The UCLA freshman is a sure-fire lottery pick. In fact, he could be drafted in the top three.
“Fantastic,” Jacobsen said, when asked about Ball’s ability. “UCLA was 15-17 last year. I didn’t want to watch UCLA play last year. I know TJ Leaf is also going to be a lottery pick, is also on that team, and he’s a good player. But they aren’t winning and doing what they’re doing without Lonzo Ball. They were 35-0 last year, his senior year at Chino Hills, won the mythical high school national title, and they’ve only lost four games at UCLA. It’s very rare that we get a superstar that could average 30 points a game but actually chooses not to and genuinely loves to get other people involved. That, I don’t see very often. When Lonzo has had the opportunity at UCLA this year, when they’ve needed a bucket, when they’ve needed him to score, no one can guard him.”
Some NBA analysts, though, worry about Ball’s jumper – not the result, but the mechanics.
“Yes, (his shot) is unorthodox,” Jacobsen acknowledged. “It is not how I would teach my kids how to shoot a basketball. But it is going in. It’s a quick release, and it’s consistent. There have been guys in the history of basketball who have not had textbook jumpers. Larry Bird was not a textbook shooter. Reggie Miller was not, either. But they had quick and consistent strokes with the basketball every single time and they perfected their own jump-shot. Although I’m not going to say that Lonzo is as good as those two shooters I mentioned, he is good enough that you’re going to have to guard him at the NBA level.”