With March Madness just around the corner, the hype surrounding the top college basketball players is beginning to build ahead of the 2017 NBA Draft.
One of those prospects that is projected to be one of the top picks this year is UCLA point guard Lonzo Ball. The freshman out of Chino Hills High School has helped turn a UCLA program that failed to reach the NCAA tournament in 2016 into one of the best teams in the country in 2017, at 27-3.
While Ball has been outstanding this season, leading the nation in assists at 7.6 per game, he is widely viewed as the second best draft prospect behind Washington point guard Markelle Fultz.
Ball’s father LaVar, who has been outspoken about a lot of things involving his son this season, recently said that he believes Ball deserves to be the top overall pick, via Jovan Buha of ESPN:
LaVar Ball on why Lonzo Ball should be the No. 1 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft: pic.twitter.com/bl8UKSdZv0
— Jovan Buha (@jovanbuha) March 2, 2017
LaVar also recently said that he believes Lonzo will be better than Stephen Curry, the point guard of the Golden State Warriors who is the NBA’s reigning two-time MVP.
In an interview with an Arizona radio station LaVar said that he only wants Lonzo to play for the hometown Los Angeles Lakers, although he later clarified that statement saying that he will play for whatever team drafts him, but he prefers it to be the Lakers.
Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson watched Ball play earlier this season when he hit a big three-pointer to help beat the Oregon Ducks, while head coach Luke Walton, Brandon Ingram and D’Angelo Russell were all in attendance Wednesday night when UCLA hosted Fultz’ Washington team. Fultz did not play due to a knee injury, so Ball was the only top prospect that they had a chance to see play.
While the NBA lottery doesn’t take place until May, the Boston Celtics currently have the best chance of landing the top pick as they possess the Brooklyn Nets first round pick in 2017. The Phoenix Suns and Lakers are currently battling for the second-worst record in the league, with the Lakers currently 0.5 games ahead of the Suns in the standings.