LaVar Ball Antics Don’t Change Oddsmakers View of Lakers Chances
Posted on: June 28, 2017, 04:00h.
Last updated on: June 28, 2017, 02:11h.
The circus that is LaVar Ball has made it to the Big Top, but not everyone is buying a ticket to the show. After proclaiming on draft day that his son, Lonzo, who was picked second by the Los Angeles Lakers, would lead the team to the playoffs in his first season, oddsmakers were not moved by the prediction.
“Lonzo Ball is going to take the Lakers to the playoffs his first year,” he said on ESPN before his son was selected. “Come see me when he does. I’ll say I told you so.”
The storied Southern California team has not been to the postseason in four years. They finished last season with the third worst record in the league at 26-56.
The Westgate LV SuperBook is not swayed and the posted odds show the skepticism. They have the team as a minus-700 to play after the regular season and a plus-500 to make it.
The team began its slide while an aging Kobe Bryant was in the twilight of his career. His retirement in 2016 allowed for the team to get away from chasing pricey free agents and focus more on young talent.
There was a management change as well. General Manager, Mitch Kupchak was out, as well as Team President, Jim Buss. Hall of Famer Magic Johnson took over operations and named Bryant’s former agent, Rob Pelinka as general manager.
While those moves, as well as picking Ball in the draft, won’t change the squad’s fortunes right away. Westgate LV SuperBook’s manager, Jeff Sherman told the Las Vegas Review Journal success is still a ways away.
“I think Lonzo Ball is one of the most ready-made rookies coming in,” Sherman said. “He will have a big impact and make everyone better. But it’s his first year and he’s going to have to get adjusted to the speed and size of these players. It’s going to take him some time to get acclimated.”
Bravado or Blarney?
Don’t tell that to the proud papa, who is reminiscent of meddling parents, such as Venus and Serena Williams’ dad, Richard, or Earl Woods, father of Tiger Woods. Ball is not one to shy away from an outlandish statement and said in March Lonzo would be a better player than Golden State’s Steph Curry.
When his son’s team lost to Kentucky in the Sweet Sixteen in the NCAA Tournament in April, Ball told the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin it was because of his white teammates.
“Realistically you can’t win no championship with three white guys because the foot speed is too slow,” Ball said. “I told Lonzo —‘One of these games you might need to go for 30 or 40 points.’ It turned out that was the one game.”
Some of his other comments have not been as controversial, but they were equally provocative. He proclaimed that he would have beaten Michael Jordan one-on-one if the two played in their primes.
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