Celtics

LaVar Ball explains why Lakers, not Celtics, are best fit for Lonzo Ball

LaVar Ball explains why Lakers, not Celtics, are best fit for Lonzo Ball

BOSTON –  When Lonzo Ball and his camp “politely” declined to work out for the Boston Celtics who hold the top overall pick in the June 22 NBA draft, it was seen by many as a diss to the Celtics.

Who wouldn’t want to work out for the team with the top overall pick, right?

But after talking with Lonzo’s loquacious father LaVar Ball, his son turning down a workout for Boston while working out for the No. 2 pick Los Angeles Lakers (the team most expect will draft Ball) was actually a compliment to the Celtics and yet another keepin’ it real moment by LaVar in relation to the Lakers and his son.

“Team-wise, the Lakers are a better fit,” LaVar Ball said on the CSN CelticsTalk Podcast with Kyle Draper and A. Sherrod Blakely. “They (Lakers) really don’t have a leader. Boston already went to the playoffs. They have a leader.”

And LaVar Ball reiterated what most draft experts and league executives believe will happen on June 22nd, which is that the Celtics will select Markelle Fultz with the number one overall pick.

“I think Markelle is a better fit for Boston,” LaVar Ball acknowledged. “He’s more of a scoring guy.”

And while Lonzo Ball has shown the ability to score the ball, his greatest strength is in the role of playmaker which is a role he won’t be able to star in that much with the Celtics courtesy of two-time All-Star Isaiah Thomas.

“Check it out; you’re gonna have the ball in Isaiah’s hands or the other guy’s hands and Zo could possibly slide over to the two at some point,” LaVar Ball said. “But he’s a one (point guard). So just as a pure fit, you really wouldn’t know who’s team it is if he’s in Boston.”

But the Lakers, he said, is an entirely different story.

“Now going straight to the Lakers, they’re super-young,” LaVar Ball said. “It’s Lonzo’s team; that’s my opinion of it. Everybody else might think about it differently or something. But I’m just being realistic and thinking about it. He would be a better fit with the Lakers instead of Boston because (the Celtics are) already established and on their way up.”

LaVar has made it known for as long as a microphone was within the sound of his voice, that he wants Lonzo to play for the Los Angeles Lakers.

“It’s just my belief … I kind of feel this is lined up a long time ago,” LaVar Ball said. “And not saying that Lonzo wouldn’t play for the Celtics. I just had this vision of my boy playing for the Lakers (a long time ago) and I’m just going to speak it into existence.”

And when several Mock Drafts and league experts pegged Lonzo as the No. 2 prospect in this draft – and later the Lakers wound up with the No. 2 overall pick – it seemed all the stars aligned themselves for the former UCLA guard to be exactly where he and his family wanted – close to home, playing for the Los Angeles Lakers.

But LaVar knows anything can happen between now and draft night, even when the seemingly best-laid plans are in place.

So yes, he has embraced the idea that Lonzo’s first NBA home may not be in Los Angeles with the Lakers.

“If it doesn’t happen, I won’t be like, ‘goddangit, ah man, life’s over,”’ LaVar said. “Zo’s main goal was to play for the NBA; to get to the NBA. Whatever team he plays for, is fine. Now we go on … let’s say you have a dessert. And your preference is chocolate cake. But if you bring me an apple pie, I ain’t gonna send it back. It’s the same thing. He’s still gonna play so we’re good. Dessert is dessert; NBA team is an NBA team. But if he has a choice and can pick one, I ain’t gonna be afraid to pick one.”

LaVar Ball is a straight-no-chaser kind of guy, a brash-talking father who isn’t the least bit coy about letting anyone in the world know just how talented he believes his sons are when it comes to basketball.

And with his son Lonzo just a couple weeks away from being among the first names called in the June 22 NBA draft (a top-5 selection most likely), LaVar knows there will be established veterans as well as young up-and-comers in the NBA gunning for his son.

“That’s the thing. You want to be a target when you’re good,” he said. “When you’re sorry you ain’t no target. It’s just like a boxer. You don’t want to fight all these contenders. You want the main guy to come and try and kill you. That’s how I want my boys. I want people to come at them.”

Celtics vs. Wizards live stream: Watch 2020 NBA seeding game online

Celtics vs. Wizards live stream: Watch 2020 NBA seeding game online

The Boston Celtics will conclude their NBA seeding game schedule Thursday with an afternoon matchup against the Washington Wizards.

The C's have won four consecutive games and five of their second seeding contests overall, and the team's performance in these matchups has been pretty encouraging. The team's best players, including Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Gordon Hayward and Kemba Walker all have played well. Several of the team's younger players also have shown they deserve a look come playoff time, including second-year center Robert Williams.

Williams could get extended playing time versus the Wizards. He scored 10 points in just 14 minutes during Tuesday's win over the Memphis Grizzlies, and the 2018 first-round pick is averaging 13.5 points in the four seeding games he's played in. 

There are no playoff implications in Boston's last seeding game. The C's already locked up the No. 3 seed and will play the Philadelphia 76ers in Round 1. That said, this game against the Wizards is an important one for the C's to ensure they enter the playoffs firing on all cylinders.

NBC Sports Boston has you covered with complete coverage of Celtics vs. Wizards, starting at 11 a.m. ET with "Celtics Pregame Live". Tip-off is scheduled for noon on NBC Sports Boston, with complete postgame analysis after the final buzzer on "Celtics Postgame Live."

HOW TO WATCH

ANALYSIS AND REACTION

BEFORE THE GAME: At 11 a.m., Celtics Pregame Live presented by TD Bank gets you ready for the game with reports from Kyle Draper, Brian Scalabrine, Kendrick Perkins, Abby Chin, Chris Forsberg and A. Sherrod Blakely. Watch on NBC Sports Boston or click here for the live stream.

AT HALFTIME: Tune in to watch a breakdown of the first two quarters on Celtics Halftime Live. Watch on NBC Sports Boston or click here for the live stream.

AFTER THE GAME: As soon as the game ends, tune to Celtics Postgame Live presented by New England Ford for analysis, commentary and player reaction. Watch on NBC Sports Boston or click here for the live stream

Questions on our livestream? Get all your questions answered here on our Streaming FAQ.

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2020 NBA Playoffs: Celtics will play rival 76ers in first round

2020 NBA Playoffs: Celtics will play rival 76ers in first round

A new chapter in one of basketball's best rivalries will be written in the first round of the 2020 NBA Playoffs.

The Boston Celtics will take on the Philadelphia 76ers in Round 1. It will be the first playoff series between these teams since Boston beat Philly in a five-game Eastern Conference semifinals in 2018.

The matchup became official Wednesday night when the Indiana Pacers beat the Houston Rockets, which locked the Sixers into the No. 6 seed. The Celtics secured the No. 3 seed earlier this week. 

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Wizards, which begins Thursday at 11 a.m. with Celtics Pregame Live followed by tip-off at noon. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.

Boston will play the Washington Wizards on Thursday afternoon in its final seeding game. Philly has two more seeding games remaining -- Wednesday night versus the Toronto Raptors and Friday night against the Rockets.

The Sixers might not be at full strength against the Celtics in Round 1. All-Star point guard Ben Simmons recently left the NBA bubble to have surgery on his knee, and he's reportedly expected to miss the rest of the season. Philadelphia's All-Star center, Joel Embiid, injured his left ankle against the Portland Trail Blazers last Sunday and didn't play Tuesday, but he reportedly will return to the lineup Wednesday night.

Celtics Talk Podcast: Banner 18 in the bubble? Celtics' title chances getting stronger as postseason nears | Listen & subscribe | Watch on YouTube

Here are the updated seeds for the Eastern Conference playoffs. The Miami Heat and Pacers still haven't locked in their exact seeds, but they will be the No. 4 vs. No. 5 matchup in Round 1. Miami needs one win in its final two seeding games to clinch the No. 4 seed.

1. Milwaukee Bucks
2. Toronto Raptors
3. Boston Celtics
4. Miami Heat
5. Indiana Pacers
6. Philadelphia 76ers
7. Brooklyn Nets
8. Orlando Magic