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June 03, 2017

Jerry Colangelo likes Lonzo Ball, just not 'the people around him'

Sixers NBA

On Friday, Sixers team adviser Jerry Colangelo, father of GM Bryan Colangelo, joined Chris Carlin and Ike Reese on The Carlin and Reese Show on SportsRadio 94 WIP to discuss the state of the organization as it prepares for this month's NBA Draft.

One of the prospects Colangelo talked about was UCLA guard Lonzo Ball, who is expected to be taken by the Lakers with the second-overall pick, one spot ahead of when the Sixers pick. However, there's no guarantee that Ball is off the board when Colangelo and Co. are put on the clock. And if Ball is still there, he's going to be the best player available. 

But while Ball's on-court skills make him a hot commodity, there are concerns about the company he keeps off the court – namely his father and agent, LaVar Ball – becoming a massive distraction. 

The elder member of House Colangelo seems to agree.

For once, I totally agree with JC. (For the record, so does head coach Brett Brown).

Here's what I wrote last week when Rich Hofmann and I discussed the possibility of the Sixers drafting Ball (should the Lakers pass):

It's hard to talk about Lonzo Ball™ these days without talking about his father (and, for our purposes more importantly, his agent) LaVar. In some markets, it might not be a big deal to have that big a personality speaking on behalf of your young star. But in Philly? Yeah, that would go well... 

Just think about what a big deal was made over the ridiculous rumors that Ben Simmons wasn't going to play this year because he wanted to still have a chance to get the Rookie of the Year bonus in his contract in 2017-18. Now imagine a new one of those every week. As a writer, it would be incredible job security (not to mention it would make my job so much more fun). As a fan, I would be a little nervous.

Like Colangelo, I then went on to say that his skills would outweigh any possible distraction from his dad. He's just that good. 

That being said, does anyone else see the irony of Colangelo, who oversaw the ouster of Sam Hinkie only to replace the former GM with his own son, criticizing the amount to which LaVar involves himself in Lonzo's (now-professional) life?

Oh, and you bet Colangelo was asked about Hinkie. 

“I respect the fact that he thought so much out of the box, which he really did, in terms of being the analytical guy that he is. And of course, people can look back on decisions that were made — good or bad — and most everyone’s track record is full of both and can come to their own conclusions.

“Since the change in management there’s much more of a defined game plan, in terms of going forward, and that’s very positive in my opinion for the franchise. Sam left some good stuff in place, no question about that. Along the line there was a lot of pain in terms of incredible losing and that could only be sustained for a period of time. And I think in Philly’s case, I think he probably ran out of time.”  []

You can listen to the full interview, here.

MORE ON LONZO BALL: What they’re saying: Lonzo Ball brings the Sixers both fit and upside | Sixers draft scenario du jour: What if the Lakers pass on Lonzo Ball? | What they're saying: Sixers a 'perfect fit' for Lonzo, trading Simmons and more | Ben Simmons’ sister annoyed with LaVar Ball, calls for her brother to dunk on Lonzo | LaVar Ball called disrespectful to women after telling radio host Kristine Leahy to ‘stay in your lane’ | Brett Brown says LaVar Ball won’t scare Sixers away from drafting Lonzo

Follow Matt on Twitter: @matt_mullin

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