Your Lakers fulfilled their basketball destiny Thursday night by drafting UCLA standout Lonzo Ball with the second overall pick, but that's not all.
The purple and gold didn't just make LaVar Ball's wildest dreams come true by taking his son to lead the Lakers into their next era. Los Angeles got the best player in the 2017 NBA Draft class — a superstar in the making who could vault one of the Association's premiere franchises back into championship contention sooner than you think.
Everyone has the same criticism of Ball (you know, other than questions about his dad): How will his unorthodox shooting form work at the next level? It's all too easy to envision one of the NBA's elite defenders shading Ball as he dribbles, then reaching out and plucking the ball right out of his hands as he takes three seconds to load up his shot.
Yet all that focus on Ball's one glaring fault has overshadowed the simple fact that he does literally everything else well.
Take that same outside shooting. For whatever reason, Stephen Curry convinced us all that every primary ball-handler must be able to shoot 40-plus percent on off-the-dribble 3-pointers. The Warriors point guard is the only player in the NBA with that ridiculous skill, though; in fact, it's what elevates him from the realm of "dangerous floor-spacer" to "two-time MVP."
Ball can't emulate Curry's best, and you don't want him to try. He'll enter the NBA as one of the best catch-and-shoot scorers from beyond the arc, and that's his strength as a scorer. He's an absolute menace to basketball society when he spots up for a shot off a pass after he creates a play for a teammate, forcing the defense into an impossible decision.
Good luck trying to guard a guy who can drill a 3 in your eye as you close out on his shot or put the ball on the ground and blow by you to get to the rim like he's Kyrie Irving.
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Now, No. 1 overall pick Markelle Fultz has those same qualities. To a degree, he's an even better scorer and shooter than Ball, and he's probably a more skilled pick-and-roll ball-handler.
The difference between the two top picks comes on the defensive end of the floor. Both have the physical tools to become phenomenal defenders at the point guard position. They're tall, long, and move exceptionally well from side-to-side.
One player is actually engaged on defense, however, while the other looks completely disinterested. Can you guess which is which?
Here's a hint — the lackadaisical defender's team went 9-22 during the 2016-17 college basketball season and spent the NCAA Tournament watching the games from the couch.
Fultz showed up when Washington played UCLA, outperforming Ball in that one game. But one game doesn't make an NBA career, and the fact that Fultz only wanted to get up for the biggest competition is a glaring mark against the first pick.
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There are no questions about motivation with Ball. He's a leader who wants to win — games, championships, tiddlywinks, whatever the competition might be.
It's not just that he's unselfish to a fault, although that's true. He does prefer to pass the ball instead of getting his own buckets, like that LeBron James guy in Cleveland. Ball sees the game three steps ahead, and more importantly, he wants to make the most of that court vision.
Ball is the ultimate floor general, always looking to put his teammates in position. His ability to push the ball in transition before the defense is set is something you see out of the Golden State Warriors' superteam, not a rookie who's yet to play his first NBA game.
All in all, he's the polar opposite of his father, who has served as one of the most boisterous hype men in modern sports-dad history. Ball wants to let his game do the talking, because his game has quite a bit to say.
And the best part? The Lakers came out of the 2017 NBA Draft with all their major assets still in the fold.
They didn't have to surrender any pieces as they prepare to add Paul George in free agency next summer, outside of clearing the deck for Ball to step right in as the starting point guard this season. (Sorry, D'Angelo. Hope you enjoy Brooklyn.)
Magic Johnson & Co. simply had to wait for the world to give them the franchise player they so richly deserved. When you're the Lakers, things tend to work out in your favor.