If Lonzo Ball had the option to skip college and play in some kind of American professional league, he would have done it.
“Personally, probably,” said Ball, who played one season at UCLA before the Lakers drafted him second overall. “If you know you’re going to be a pick, go ahead and get to play versus the top guys in the country and move on with your life.”
Although Ball took a conventional route to the NBA, his family is trying to change what’s considered a typical path.
First, they sent 16-year-old LaMelo Ball with his 19-year-old brother, LiAngelo, to Lithuania to play professionally. Now, family patriarch LaVar Ball said he is trying to start a league for top players who have graduated high school and want to play professionally right away.
The family company, Big Baller Brand, announced LaVar’s intention to start a league that would pay top high school graduate players up to $10,000 a month.
On this league’s logo? Lonzo’s image.
“They’ve been working on it for a while now. ... Finally announced it today. We’re excited to see what happens going forward,” Lonzo said.
The last time the Lakers visited Houston, the Rockets beat them by 39 points. Fuming in the postgame locker room, Corey Brewer said if the young players didn’t learn how to compete then they wouldn’t be in the NBA for long.
Brewer hadn’t been with the Lakers long at that point. The Rockets had traded him to Los Angeles, along with a draft pick, for Lou Williams.
The group that returned to Houston looked very different — Brandon Ingram was the only starter Wednesday night who was even on the team last season — and the mentality changed too.
That Brewer had such an influence in the Lakers’ win — he scored 21 points — and that he contributed to breaking the Rockets’ 14-game winning streak felt good.
“For me you know it feels great,” Brewer said. “It feels amazing. They didn’t want me so why not come win?”
Randle sits a lot
Julius Randle seemed to fall out of the rotation for Wednesday’s game.
Randle played only eight minutes and scored four points.
“I am sure he is a little frustrated and probably he didn’t think it was fair with how well he was playing for us which is a fair point by him,” coach Luke Walton said.
“But the team won and I know what kind of guy Julius is and I know at the end of the day he knows it is all about the team.
“He will probably be a little frustrated personally but happy about the team and ready to go Friday.”
Follow Tania Ganguli on Twitter @taniaganguli