Arizona great Luke Walton and his Los Angeles Lakers coaching staff that has an obvious Wildcats flavor must turn their attention to dealing with the circus that comes with Lonzo Ball’s father LaVar Ball.
The Lakers selected Ball of UCLA as the No. 2 pick overall in Thursday’s NBA draft. Walton’s staff includes former Arizona players Miles Simon and Jud Buechler and former director of basketball operations and video coordinator Jesse Mermuys.
Ball’s loquacious father LaVar drew as many reporters as his son after the pick.
He has already made a bold comment that Walton was forced to address after Lonzo Ball’s selection:
Luke Walton on LaVar Ball saying Lonzo Ball will lead the Lakers to the playoffs next season. pic.twitter.com/zPBrGKjiJ7
— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) June 23, 2017
Walton compared what Lonzo Ball must face with his father’s comments what he experienced when his father Bill Walton said bold things.
“I think it will make it more challenging a little bit,” Walton said of how LaVar Ball’s comments might make opponents motivated to shut down Lonzo Ball. “But I think every top pick has a target on their back. The best players in this league want to set the tone with these young players early to let them know what it’s like here.
“I know when I was a young player I had a target on my back from my own teammates because of the things my dad said, but it ended up working out.”
Walton played 10 years in the NBA and won two titles with the Lakers.
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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.