Lonzo Ball is the favorite to win NBA Rookie of the Year next season. (Frank Franklin II/AP)
Despite competition including two No. 1 overall picks, former UCLA point guard Lonzo Ball has the best odds to win the NBA’s Rookie of the Year award next season.
The No. 2 overall pick of the Lakers at Thursday’s NBA draft was given 5/2 odds to win the award by oddsmaker Bovada. Ben Simmons, the 2016 No. 1 overall pick who missed all of last season due to injury, has 3/1 odds and is followed by 76ers teammate Markelle Fultz, the 2017 No. 1 overall pick at 5/1 odds.
2017-2018 NBA Rookie of the Year – Odds to Win
Lonzo Ball, Lakers (UCLA) – 5/2
Ben Simmons, 76ers (LSU) – 3/1
Markelle Fultz, 76ers (Washington) – 5/1
De’Aaron Fox, Kings (Kentucky) – 7/1
Josh Jackson, Suns (Kansas) – 9/1
Jayson Tatum, Celtics (Duke) – 9/1
Jonathan Isaac, Magic (Florida State) – 16/1
Malik Monk, Hornets (Kentucky) – 16/1
Dennis Smith, Mavericks (NC State) – 16/1
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It no longer has to be spoken into existence. Lonzo Ball has been drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers.
Anticipation that has been building since Ball’s banner season at UCLA – and spiked when NBA draft lottery netted the Lakers the No. 2 pick – finally delivered.
After the Philadelphia 76ers selected Washington’s Markelle Fultz with the No. 1 pick, the Lakers landed their point guard of the future.
“It’s a dream come true,” Ball told ESPN. “It’s crazy. I couldn’t ask for anything more and to be able to learn from (Magic Johnson) every day is truly a blessing.”
Ball, UCLA’s highest selection in the NBA draft since David Greenwood was the No. 2 pick in 1979, changed out of his black dress shoes into purple and gold Big Baller Brand shoes a few minutes before he was selected. Continue reading “Lonzo Ball UCLA’s highest NBA draft pick since 1979” »
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” »
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.
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” »