Jeanie Buss pushed Magic Johnson to draft Lonzo Ball over De’Aaron Fox
The headache that LaVar Ball has caused the Los Angeles Lakers since the franchise drafted his son, Lonzo Ball, during the summer of 2017 probably makes the Lakers wish they had never drafted him to begin with.
But did Magic Johnson ever even really want Ball?
According to ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, it was Lakers owner Jeanie Buss who pushed Johnson to select Ball with the second overall pick of the 2017 NBA Draft:
“What I’m about to say, Magic Johnson would categorically probably deny,” said Smith on ESPN Radio. “That’s my friend, my brother. I love him. If Magic Johnson was sitting next to me on national television and he said opposite or contrary to what I’m about to tell you, I’d tell him, ‘That’s a lie, and you know it.’ Magic Johnson would not have drafted Lonzo Ball if were not for Jeanie Buss.”
Smith went on to add that Buss wanted Ball because of the box-office draw and because LaVar’s marketing wizardry had Buss—and Lakers fans—thinking that his son was better than he really is.
Also, in a since-deleted tweet from Nate Jones, who works for the agent Aaron Goodwin (which can still be seen here), Jones states that Magic did want a point guard in that draft, but that he had his eye on Kentucky product De’Aaron Fox; not Ball.
It seems safe to say right now that Fox would have been a better pick.
Or the Lakers could have gone with Jayson Tatum, whom the Boston Celtics took with the No. 3 overall pick and whom the New Orleans Pelicans are currently coveting in a return for Anthony Davis.