Don't Be Fooled: Lonzo To LA Is Lock
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Don't Be Fooled: Lonzo To LA Is Lock

Don't kid yourself.

The NBA Draft is Thursday, which means fans of NBA bottom-feeders have had their Twitter feeds inundated by rumor after rumor after rumor concerning not only their favorite team, but all of the teams slotted to select above them.

Me? I'm a Sixers fan. I've been hearing all about who Boston likes at 1 (hint: it's Markelle Fultz) and who the Lakers are eyeing up at two. Actually, for Philly fans, it's even a bit more complicated than that because there's been talks of trading back (maybe 3 for Sacramento's 5 and 10 so the Kings can land Fox?).

Every year, it's a wild ride. But, if I've learned anything from Sixers Twitter since the famous June 2013 night where Hinkie dealt away Jrue for Nerlens Noel... You can't trust anything leading up to the draft.

Pretend that in your fantasy football draft, you have the third overall pick. All July and August, you're researching, monitoring training camps, looking at rankings - all in preparation for the draft. Why would you, ever, tell the guys who you're looking to take at 3?

I mean, it's ok to throw around some feelers: "I like this guy, I think he's primed for a breakout season," or "This guy's definitely a sleeper." But why would you ever tell your buddy, who has the second overall pick, "I'm taking player X." Then, that guy knows where your head is. He can threaten to take your beloved player X if you don't cough over something else in return.

In the 2013 Draft, Hinkie had the 10th pick. The Magic were picking 11th. Hinkie knew he wanted Dario Saric, the Croatian stretch-4 - but he also knew that the Magic were bullish on Elfrid Payton, the PG from Louisiana-Lafayette. He called Orlando and threatened to keep Payton unless the Magic paid a price.

That price ended up being a 2017 top-11 protected first round pick (which won't convey) and a 2015 second round pick. So, just by playing his cards right, Hinkie got the player he wanted at 10 anyways (Saric) and was gifted a second rounder. All because he knew the Magic were (too) high on Payton.

That is why teams not only try to keep their pre-draft preferences quiet, but they even use media outlets and reports to deceive other teams, especially the ones drafting ahead of them.

Here are a couple examples:

Lonzo to the Lakers makes entirely too much sense. The Lakers don't need another project. They have Randle. They have Ingram. They have D'Angelo Russell, who isn't just a project, but appears to be better off as a 2 guard.

Now, they need the glue to come in and bring it all together. Ball is, by a country mile, the best glue guy in this draft. Not too mention, LA needs a point guard. And Ball is... you guessed it, a point guard.

It's not that I'm egregiously high on Ball - some think he's the next Jason Kidd or Magic Johnson. I'm not willing to even go there. I think his jumper is whack and I'm hesitant to ever call him a 20 a game guy in the league. But he's a hell of a facilitator. I don't think he's a lock at 2 for any other team... but he just makes too much sense in LA.

Of course, the Lakers can't come out and say, "We're taking Lonzo," because even Magic is savvy enough to realize Danny Ainge is picking right above them, and he's had somewhat of a history of luring teams into unforgiving trades. They're wheeling and dealing and angling and telling the media things like "he's maybe, sorta out of shape" and "someone promised Josh Jackson something" and whatever. It's all bullshit.

Lonzo is not only the obvious pick for LA - he's the right pick. No one else makes sense. I will be appalled if the Lakers select anyone else at 2. All of this Twitter fodder is just the Lakers covering their bases and trying to keep their poker face for just another week.

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4 Reasons To Love LaVar Ball

The most talked about dad in America.

No one likes the parent who talks trash at the Little League game or the dad who threatens to fight the high school ref after the Friday night football game. They are seen as over emotionally and takes the focus off their child who is actually playing in the game.

That being said, no parent has embodied the stereotypical, annoying soccer mom/dad then LaVar Ball, the father of UCLA star freshman guard Lonzo Ball. As a freshman at UCLA, Lonzo has led the Bruins to one of their best season in a decade. However, too many times, the Ball that has made the headline isn't Lonzo, but his father LaVar.

LaVar, a former collegiate basketball player, professional football player in Canada as well as a practice squad player in the NFL, has told the media how he could defeat Hall of Famers like Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley in games, demanded a billion dollar shoe deal for his sons Lonzo and LaMelo before thhe steps foot on the NBA stage, and compares his son to some of the best players in the NBA today.

This has led to LaVar to draw the ire from social media, coaches, parents, and former players. But let's look at why the criticism LaVar receives is a hill compared to the mountain of genius and brilliance from the patriarch of the Ball family.

1. His sons are getting full rides to universities.
Whether or not Lonzo Ball becomes as great as Steph Curry or a bust in the league, he has reached a level very few have made thanks to the guidance of his father. The same can be said over the next few years with the his other two sons, LiAngelo and LaMelo. Like Archie Manning with his sons Peyton, Eli, and Cooper, LaVar Ball has mentored his sons to become some of the best athletes in the world.

2. His sons are worth the hype.
Lonzo is a top three pick in the upcoming NBA draft even if he doesn't play another game for the Bruins. LaMelo's shooting range has drawn comparisons to the Splash Brothers and has scored 92 points in a high school game. LiAngelo has already committed to replace his brother at UCLA next year. It's not bragging or arrogance when you have the goods to back it up.

3. He understands the business of basketball.
The NCAA and the NBA are businesses, no matter what university presidents, fans, coaches, or anyone says. And when it comes to businesses, agents have to speak large and loud about their clients.

Right now, LaVar has played the role as an unofficial agent for his three talented sons, building their brands early and giving them a head start compared to other young players who make it to the Association. The more he talks, the more eyes are on the sons and the more people get to watch their talents shine on the hardwood for endorsements and shoe deals.

4. He's a dad.
You know, as weird as it may sound, maybe LaVar is speaking big about his sons because Lonzo, LiAngelo, and LaMelo, because they are his sons! Parents tend to get a little emotional when it comes to their children. (I remember my mom being pissed for a good three days when I didn't make the All-Star team in Little League!).

Here, LaVar is seeing his boys go from toddlers in diapers to on the cusp of reaching the highest basketball league in the world, something he could not achieve. One could imagine how proud he is of his three sons. So maybe when he compares Lonzo to Stephen Curry, LeBron James, or Michael Jordan, he might be a little biased.

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The Best of Kobe's Last Game

The Internet wins again.

Wednesday night marked Kobe's final game in the NBA after 20 seasons. There were tributes to the Black Mamba from everyone who's anyone in the league, ranging from funny to heartfelt.

Then Kobe decided that people were going to remember his last game for a different reason. He had the greenest light of all-freakin'-time and dropped 60 points on 22-for-50 shooting.

That's no typo; he shot the ball 50 times. For reference, Stephen Curry's highest one game shot total for this season is 29. Kobe wanted last night to be about Kobe, and that it was. It was the most Kobe way to end his career.

Luckily for us, the Internet is a glorious tool that brings great #content from great #brands across the country. Here are some of the best on Kobe's goodbye to basketball.

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Luke Walton Has It Made Next Year

Not to mention his dad is basketball royalty.

New Los Angeles Lakers head coach Luke Walton has been living large, and his life is about to get larger. For the remainder of the Golden State Warriors season, Walton will be a part of their coaching staff; a staff he was in charge of in place of Steve Kerr for 43 games this season. During that 43 game span, Walton was 39-4.

The ironic part about Luke Walton's hiring is the fact that a monkey could have done his job. A drunken bum could have done it. Sitting on the sidelines watching Steph Curry nail 10 threes a game doesn't look too tiresome.

The fact is, Luke Walton, the son of legend Bill Walton, the former Laker himself, who by default lead the Warriors to a great run, is going back to the city of angels to coach the most famous team in all of basketball.

How can somebody get so lucky to be hired as the head coach of the Lakers at the age of 36? Luke Walton has it made, and he has the opportunity to become a Laker legend. At 36, Walton has a chance to bring the Lakers back to the top, with young talent and high draft picks ahead of the team. Walton will shortly be cruising around in his brand new convertible, sunglasses on, being praised as the new golden boy in LA.

The greatest thing about Walton's life will be that Kobe Bryant is finished his illustrious career. The headlines of the Los Angeles media can focus primarily on the face of Luke Walton. Other than the dump that Kobe left Walton, his life should be pretty smooth.

D'Angelo Russell is a young talented point guard, and in a guard's' game, his game should begin to thrive. There's nothing better for a brand new coach than a couple of recent high draft picks, along with a possible top three pick this summer.

Unfortunately for LA, if that pick is outside the top three, it goes to the Philadelphia 76ers, in which case Luke Walton should just pack his bags and leave the Lakers, because they're going to need all the help they can get, Luke Walton or not.

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Kevin Durant Has Options in Free Agency

Will he "transfer" or stay where he's always been.

There are times in life where people want change. That can be switching up what you order at Chipotle, deciding you are going to get that haircut to look like just enough like a combination of a soccer player mixed with Macklemore mixed with that guy in that one frat who's kind of cool, or deciding to transfer to another school.

Well, Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder will have a summer where he can choose to stay in the place that he has grown accustomed to in tornado alley or he can choose to sign with another team that could offer him a much different pace to life than what he has now.

In college terms, KD has the chance to transfer to a new school that can offer him different things. Before he decides to declare for free agency, KD needs to think about what "transferring" to these other "schools" would bring him:

The Party School-The Los Angeles Lakers
Going to the party school is always the first thought anyone transferring has! Why sit in a house in the middle of nowhere when you can sit poolside in the Hills with Kobe Bryant in your ear and a Kardashian on your arm?!

Luke Walton is the new, cool coach in town and his schemes for KD will be as smooth as the Armani suits he'll wear courtside. KD can stroll into the clubs with Nick Young like Vaughn and Favreau in Swingers. He would have the chance to bring the Lakers back from the basement of the West and back where they belong in the Western Finals every year.

The Academic School-The San Antonio Spurs
Why party when you can study and dominate? Yeah, Nick Young has fun but he tends to forget the ball moves better down the court when you actually pass it to someone. KD can hit the books and learn from the greatest coach of our generation, Greg Popovich, and be the heir to the throne that Tim Duncan built.

Sure, it's San Antonio, but that Tex Mex tastes a lot better with a few rings on your fingers. Studying that much harder always makes you a better student than those other guys who go out every night, plus they won't get to eat those southwestern grilled carne asada burritos.

The School Back Home-The Washington Wizards
Sometimes transferring back home is the easiest choice. You're back on your turf in your own city. As soon as you are back you can immediately get back to hanging out with all those friends you had before you left. You know the entire area like the back of your hand, plus your mom is there to give you sandwiches.

KD can bring Washington to relevance in the East. He can also give Kyrie, Love, and LeBron a run for their money as the best big three with Bradley Beal and John Wall. With President Obama getting ready to leave, KD can pick up right where the president left off and run that city.

Not Transfer at All-The Oklahoma City Thunder
Why leave what you have loved for the past few years? What would he do with all of the hoodies and shirts that he got from his first few seasons there? Yes it's Oklahoma City, but KD can still hang out with his best bud Russell Westbrook in wrangling cows or eating corn dogs or doing whatever else it is they do for fun in Oklahoma City.

The entire city loves KD and he would break its heart by leaving after the incredible success they have had. There is a very real possibility that the Thunder can always compete with the Spurs and Warriors to make it back to the Finals and win one with him and Russell on the court.

Kevin Durant has a big choice with deciding where and if he wants to "transfer". The entire landscape of the NBA can be changed by one simple decision in free agency.

KD is one of the premier superstars of the league, it is his decision to continue being the chosen one for an entire city in Oklahoma or skipping town to go home, study or fist bump Jack Nicholson 41 times a year.


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Lonzo To The Lakers Is A Touch Of Death To LaVar Haters

Why should he stop being obnoxious?

Unlike usual, much of the pre-draft broadcast on ESPN was not spent focusing on the NBA draft itself. In fact, it really wasn't focused on any of the draft's players in particular either.

Instead, it was focused on the father of one particular player. LaVar Ball, Lonzo Ball's father, has actually been in the spotlight for some time, and this year's NBA draft was no exception.

LaVar has been able to manipulate both the media and the public with his obnoxious and sometimes offensive way of presenting his thoughts to the public. Whether it's claiming he could beat Michael Jordan one-on-one in his heyday or blaming UCLA's loss in the Sweet 16 on the white players (of which two actually averaged more points per game than Lonzo), he's forced the media and public to pay attention to him, which is exactly what he wants, even if that attention is negative.

He knows people want to hate, and he knows that that hate gives him attention. It's a win-win.

Proof that he has successfully accomplished this manipulation is the fact that not only do people still talk and obsess over him, but the fact that through his "Big Baller Brand", Lonzo Ball already has his own $495 shoe at age 19. LaVar is getting what he wants, and nothing less, and he has been doing so for quite some time.

But despite being wrong with some of his predictions, like claiming that UCLA would win this year's NCAA basketball championship, his key prediction all along was that his son would play for the Lakers. In fact, he said that his son would ONLY play for the Lakers, and he claimed that he would not even work out for any other team.

He has said for months and months (or as he claims, since the day Lonzo was born) that Lonzo would end up as a Los Angeles Laker. And what do you know? The Lakers, despite not having the best odds to do so, won the #2 overall draft pick in this May's NBA draft lottery, and they selected Lonzo Ball with that pick.

So guess what happens next? LaVar Ball is going to continue remind everyone "I told you so," like he did when the Lakers selected Lonzo. And he's also going to continue his blasphemy, which reiterates why I now generally refer to him as LaVar Ball-abbermouth.

He's already made another bold claim that no one can disprove at this point, saying that Lonzo will lead the currently awful Lakers team to the playoff in his first season. While many may not agree and in fact may argue with that statement, it hasn't been proven wrong, and frankly won't and can't be until the Lakers are eliminated from playoff contention, if in fact they are, and they mathematically can't be eliminated until at least halfway through the 2017-2018 season.

Like his claim about Lonzo playing for the Lakers, despite the 29/30 chance of that not being the case, no one could disprove LaVar since the draft had not yet happened. Now the draft has happened, and it turns out LaVar was right. And now that he has made another bold claim about Lonzo leading the Lakers to the playoffs, he will continue to be in the spotlight of both the public and the media, taking hate from all sides, but getting the attention he desires in doing so.

To the dismay of many, LaVar Ball was right. Because of it, we may not stop hearing about him anytime soon, even with Lonzo now in the NBA as opposed to the NCAA. The Lakers' selection of Lonzo Ball with the second overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft is what literally all LaVar haters wanted NOT to happen. Well, it happened, and now we have to deal with the consequences.