Espo: Lonzo Ball Becoming Intriguing Option For Suns

Lonzo Ball Suns

With the fourth pick in the NBA draft the Phoenix Suns select … Lonzo Ball, guard, UCLA.

If that’s the scenario that plays out when NBA commissioner steps to the dais in Brooklyn on June 22 it should no longer be a panic moment for the Phoenix faithful. In fact, it may be the best case scenario.

I get it. That’s a vast departure from the last stance I took on the subject a month ago. In a world of hot takes, I’m going to do something that isn’t usually popular, evolve my opinion.

If the Suns had landed the No. 2 pick in the draft lottery, selecting Ball would still be the wrong move. But if he’s available when they make their pick at four that means a few things have happened.

It means that Lonzo has been spurned by the Lakers, a team he’s wanted to play for since he was a kid. That single factor makes him more appealing in Phoenix. If you select him before LA has a chance he views you as ‘the team that kept me from the Lakers.’ If you take him at four you’re now the team he views as ‘the organization that believed in me when the Lakers didn’t.’ It means he now has extra motivation to prove Magic Johnson’s team, and the other teams who passed on him, wrong. It won’t guarantee after his rookie deal that he doesn’t want to sign with the Lakers, but it does at least make it a little less likely.

The other thing this does is it, in theory, is a shot to LaVar Ball’s ego. For the last year he’s stepped in front of any mic he could saying his son will only be a Laker and, since the draft lottery, that there is no way LA passes on his boy. A dose of reality like this may be just what is necessary. It could be a wakeup call. Back here on earth though it, in all likelihood, just angers and emboldens him. Gives him another issue to complain about and a few more hot takes to share with the world.

It’s a gamble the Suns are going to have to decide if they’re willing to take because, as long as there are local media willing to take even an innocent tweet and trying to turn it into clickbait, LaVar will be a lightning rod and everything he says will become a story. It’s obvious he’s using Lonzo’s success to make up for the fact that his basketball career never earned him the fame and fortune he thought it would bring. What Ryan McDonough and the Suns front office will have to discern is if they’ve built a strong enough culture centered around Earl Watson’s leadership to sustain whatever waves the father creates without capsizing the organization and the foundation they’ve built.

One thing that makes that decision a little easier is Lonzo’s willingness to make light of his father’s remark. He took to Twitter recently to laugh at Bleacher Report’s take on LaVar in their “Game of Zones” series.

Then, as part of a Footlocker Father’s Day ad, Lonzo directly makes jokes about his father’s overbearing nature.

Sure, he was paid for the ad, but it shows a willingness to poke fun at LaVar. Something you wouldn’t do if you weren’t comfortable disagreeing with him at some point as well.

Sometimes the best way to change your future is to take a major chance in your present. Lonzo’s skillset is one that could complement Booker perfectly. His shot is one that needs work. His father could make it all come crashing down. In just a week we’ll see if it’s a question the Suns have to answer.