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On Lonzo Ball, Suns GM says parental involvement would not impact draft

UCLA's Lonzo Ball reacts after scoring against Southern California during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in the quarterfinals of the Pac-12 men's tournament Thursday, March 9, 2017, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
LISTEN: Ryan McDonough, Suns' General Manager

Much has been made of the rather bold claims LaVar Ball has given regarding a variety of topics.

Be it that his son, Lonzo, is better than reigning NBA MVP Steph Curry, or that he himself would have beaten Michael Jordan in his prime, it seems as though you can’t really get away from the elder Ball’s words.

Normally what he has had to say would not garner much attention, but given that Lonzo is a star freshman for UCLA and a likely top-3 pick in the upcoming NBA Draft, some have been wondering if the player’s father may give some teams pause in drafting the point guard.

On Tuesday, Suns coach Earl Watson told Doug and Wolf on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM that he would not avoid Lonzo because of LaVar, and on Wednesday, Suns GM Ryan McDonough told Burns and Gambo essentially the same thing.

“We’re not supposed to talk about specific players,” McDonough cautioned. “What I would say, generally, is any familial involvement, parental involvement — especially in terms of wanting their son to do well, pushing their son, supporting their son, helping him develop as a basketball player — that’s certainly not something that would disqualify us from drafting a player.”

McDonough added that NBA players come from all sorts of different backgrounds, some of which make it all the more impressive that they get to the highest level of the sport.

“I think as far as having a very involved family member who pushes a player, no, that certainly would not impact our decision-making at all; it certainly wouldn’t affect who we would take in the draft.”

At 22-45 entering play Wednesday, the Suns hold the third-worst record in the NBA. Ball, who has averaged 14.6 points, 7.7 assists and 6.1 rebounds while shooting 41 percent from three-point range is projected to be one of the top few picks should he enter the draft.

He would seem to be a prime candidate for the Suns, though there is, as is the case with most any prospect, some doubt as to whether or not they should take a chance on him.

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