Is Bryce Alford a good enough shooter to be NBA material?


Bryce Alford was the most athletically disadvantaged of UCLA’s eight rotation players last season. He was the weakest on defense. He had the most trouble driving to the basket – he shot 46 percent at the rim, 18 percent less than the closest UCLA player.

But the 6-foot-3, 185-pound guard may find his way onto an NBA roster because his strength is the fastest-rising commodity in the league. Alford shot 43 percent from 3-point range his last season at UCLA. And as far as volume is concerned, he set the school’s single-season and career record for 3-pointers, surpassing the marks of nine-year NBA veteran Jason Kapono.

Alford has been invited to his share of workouts approaching Thursday’s NBA draft, including by both the Lakers and Clippers, and the Pacers from his native Indiana.

Alford’s assessment of his chances to be one of the 60 draft picks? He is right on the edge, meaning he could be one of the 60 or he may not. He was clear about where he wanted to end up.

“My dream has been the NBA my whole life,” Alford said following his workout with the Pacers. “I’ve never been interested in going over seas. That would be a plan C, plan D kind of thing. If I had to spend a year in the D League that would be fine. Or if I had to spend a year overseas to get a shot that way, whatever it takes for me to get to the NBA, that’s what I’m going to do.” Continue reading “Is Bryce Alford a good enough shooter to be NBA material?” »

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Lonzo Ball ramping up efforts for Father’s Day, NBA draft

In the last three days, Lonzo Ball has been part of two public Father’s Day tributes to LaVar Ball. ( Mark J. Terrill/ AP)

In the last couple of weeks, before he loses the tag of UCLA point guard and his name is prefaced by an NBA team, Lonzo Ball appears to be doing some targeted damage control.

The reputation his father, LaVar Ball, began to develop during Lonzo’s lone season at UCLA only continued to permeate the national media after the Bruins exited the NCAA tournament. The narrative eventually shifted to LaVar’s potential to hamper Lonzo’s draft stock.

With the NBA draft less than two weeks away – and Father’s Day around the corner – the family began to do something about it. Continue reading “Lonzo Ball ramping up efforts for Father’s Day, NBA draft” »

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Can Lonzo Ball be a transcendent player in the NBA?

Our Southern California News Group Lakers beat writer Mark Medina had me on his podcast, where I rambled about Lonzo Ball after his workout for the Lakers on Wednesday.

Among the subjects we tackled were Lonzo’s evolution from soft-spoken freshman to legitimate leader at UCLA, his potential to change the culture of a franchise, whether he can be a transcendent player in the NBA, the obvious holes in his game and, of course, LaVar Ball and Big Baller Brand.

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UCLA’s Kris Wilkes one of 28 vying for USA basketball roster spot

Kris Wilkes is doing a fine job building anticipation for his debut with the UCLA basketball team.

The most decorated member of Steve Alford’s 2017 recruiting class, which is ranked No. 2 in the country, has already worn a McDonald’s All-American jersey. He’ll don a USA Basketball one in a few weeks.

The incoming freshman small forward was among 28 players invited to Team USA’s U19 World Championship Team training camp June 18-25 at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. The first roster cut-down will happen after two days and the 12-member team will be determined by June 22. The final roster coached by Kentucky’s John Calipari will attempt to win a third consecutive gold medal during the FIBA U19 World Championships in Cairo, Egypt July 1-9.

UCLA rising senior Thomas Welsh was a member of the 2015 gold medal-winning team. This year’s roster will feature three of Calipari’s Kentucky players along with a couple familiar faces from the Pac-12, Continue reading “UCLA’s Kris Wilkes one of 28 vying for USA basketball roster spot” »

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Lonzo Ball works out for Lakers, sits down with team brass

Lonzo Ball at the LA Lakers training facility in El Segundo where he went through a workout and spoke to reporters afterward. (Photo by Brad Graverson/SCNG)

Lonzo Ball’s long-awaited workout for the Lakers wasn’t limited to the basketball court on Wednesday. Tuesday night, the former UCLA point guard had dinner with Lakers coach Luke Walton, GM Rob Pelinka and President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson.

After his 75-minute workout at the Lakers practice facility – followed by an interesting session with the media – Ball was whisked off to a lunch date with Lakers owners Jeanie, Joey and Jesse Buss.

Ball’s private workout included “typical stuff” on the court, but he had a few eyebrow-raising things to say afterward. As for his infamous father, LaVar, Lonzo said he was ensured at dinner that Lakers brass is far from worried.

“They said they love him,” Lonzo said. “That’s about it.”

LaVar Ball wasn’t present at the workout or at dinner Tuesday night in Venice. Neither were any of the current Lakers players.

READ: Lonzo Ball downplays criticism of LaVar, highlights leadership qualities 

Perhaps the most interesting thing Ball had to say indirectly referenced D’Angelo Russell, the team’s current point guard. Continue reading “Lonzo Ball works out for Lakers, sits down with team brass” »

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