- I've thought a lot about this. I slept on it. I watched a lot of the Laker game last night. And I've come to this conclusion. I think Magic's dilemma, Magic Johnson's dilemma, his make or break early decision as he's taken over the Lakers is not LaVar versus the organization or LaVar versus Luke Walton. I think it's coming down to Lonzo versus Luke Walton.
I'm convinced it was troubled from the start. What have those three kids been taught, as old school as they are, as much as they sort of fear and respect their father and they do what dad says, they were all taught it's the coaches fault.
- And it's in large part because they were all coached by their father early on. And they all believe, I think in their heart of hearts, that the only man alive who's really capable of coaching them is their father. And in this case, I believe in Lonzo's eyes Luke Walton declared war on him early on and burned that bridge to the ground.
SHANNON SHARPE: He sit him in the fourth.
- Yeah. Sat him six times in the fourth quarter early this year. He started yanking him mid first quarter, not late first quarter, mid, like six minutes to go in the first quarter, you're out. And he's just breaking a sweat, and that's what LaVar said. And I believe LaVar is speaking into existence what Lonzo's been telling him all along. I just don't love this guy.
So, again, maybe I'm making an excuse for Lonzo, you can accuse me of that if you want to, but I don't think I am. All I know is I'm going eye test. I'm going the Lonzo I watched last year at UCLA and the Lonzo I watched this summer in the Summer League. And what happened in the Summer League as you always point out, a lot of people are playing out there who aren't even going to play in the NBA.
But I'm going to remind you, a bunch of kids were playing out there who are really, really good. Who have shown you already they're going to be really, really good NBA players. Donovan Mitchell was out there. And Dennis Smith Jr. was out there and Jayson Tatum. And the guy you love, Josh Jackson, and De'Aaron Fox, they were out there in the Summer League. And who was the MVP? Lonzo Ball.
What did I see? I saw passion. I saw desire, I saw energy. I saw freewheelin, freestyle, push the pace basketball featuring Lonzo and the coach was Jud Buechler, who is probably irrelevant. Maybe Lonzo was kind of coaching the team. Maybe LaVar was behind the scenes. I don't know.
But the point is once it started with Luke, I couldn't even recognize Lonzo for a while. And I told you, I thought this team was pretty good in a year in which we've seen nothing but disappointment in The West. The West is just top heavy now.
I thought we were going to go into a Western Conference that was about as deep as we'd ever seen it, did not happen. Because there are far more disappointments in The West--
SHANNON SHARPE: I agree.
- Than there are pleasant surprises. I don't even see any pleasant surprise, do you?
SHANNON SHARPE: No.
- Oklahoma City is a disappointment.
SHANNON SHARPE: Yes.
- The Clippers, The Jazz, Denver, The Pelicans. Go look at their records. These are bad basketball teams or mediocre at best.