Posts for Lonzo Ball

Thank God the Sixers Passed on Lonzo Ball and His ESPN-Enabled Father

Tim Reilly - January 9, 2018

It’s fair to say that Markelle Fultz’s rookie campaign has not gone according to plan.

Fultz, a player whose talents so intrigued the Sixers front office that GM Bryan Colangelo traded in some of the team’s prized draft assets to move into the No. 1 slot in order to select him, was supposed to be the culmination of the organization’s multi-season rebuild. At the very least, fans expected him to play a significant role as the Sixers shifted from “The Process” to the postseason.

So far, the Sixers’ young slasher has been stuck in neutral. Fultz labored through a shoulder injury that affected his jump shot and ultimately pushed him out of the lineup after four games.

There’s hope on the horizon, however. Kevin Kinkead’s Sunday notebook included a lengthy update on Fultz’s progress. The rookie’s participation in a full contact practice suggests his return to game action is imminent. The Sixers would certainly stand to benefit from Fultz’s presence in the rotation as they look to make a playoff push during the second half of the season.

No matter what happens this season, the Sixers made the right choice when they drafted Fultz. Ever since the NBA modified its hand-checking rule in 2004-05, point guards have never been more integral to the success of a team. The space-and-pace revolution that has overtaken the game demands a team employ a ball handler who can take advantage of overextended defenses by driving and dishing to open teammates. He also needs to be a perimeter scoring threat on his own who, ideally, can play off the ball as well. After all, the organizations that are excelling in the modern NBA are attacking defenses with multiple athletes who can run the offense.

Fultz’s ability to penetrate and pass to open teammates will make him a good player. But the three-point shooting ability he demonstrated in college will make him special.

There’s still time for Fultz to refine his game, of course. He’s only 19, and in the collegiate one-and-done culture that has been created in the wake of the NBA’s minimum age requirement, more and more players are starting their professional careers as raw prospects. Fultz likely won’t begin to hit his prime until his second contract.

Looking back on the 2017 NBA draft, there was really only one other viable option that the Sixers could have considered with the first pick. They could have taken a chance on Lonzo Ball. Continue Reading

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LaVar Ball is Starting His Own Basketball League

Kevin Kinkead - December 20, 2017

Never one to do things the traditional way, LaVar Ball is building his own basketball league.

The JBA, or “Junior Basketball Association,” is for high school graduates who don’t want to go to college.

He’s even got a logo drawn up, swapping out legendary Los Angeles Laker Jerry West with legendary Los Angeles Laker Lonzo Ball:

Darren Rovell outlined some of the details in an ESPN article:

Ball’s Junior Basketball Association, which he says is fully funded by his Big Baller Brand, plans to pay the lowest-ranked player a salary of $3,000 a month and the best player $10,000 a month, Ball said. Ball is looking for 80 players to fill 10 teams that will seek to play at NBA arenas in Los Angeles, Dallas, Brooklyn and Atlanta.

“Getting these players is going to be easy,” Ball told ESPN. “This is giving guys a chance to get a jump start on their career, to be seen by pro scouts, and we’re going to pay them because someone has to pay these kids.”

League rules mirror the NBA and not NCAA hoops, meaning that there wold be four 12-minute quarters to go with a professional three-point line. Right now there are no players, no arenas, and no ticket sales, obviously, but you’ve gotta start somewhere I guess.

Ball is in the news every day, but the most meaningful item of the past month was the decision to pull his son LiAngelo from UCLA and send him to Lithuania to start his professional career.

And while the eldest Ball is oftentimes blustery and vapid, NCAA hoops has plenty of flaws, with players spending a year at Kentucky or Kansas or wherever before turning pro at age 19. Is contemporary “one and done” culture any more ridiculous than an entire league run by LaVar Ball?

Food for thought.