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Liberty Links: Remember Lonzo Ball for his game, not for his family

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People should Lonzo’s play do the talking.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-First Round-Kent State and UCLA Bruins Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Check out the links!

Looking Back at Lonzo Ball, College Superstar - The Ringer

Mark Titus discusses how the narrative surrounding the Ball family’s antics has superseded the conversation about Lonzo Ball’s ability on the court:

I want to talk about that guy, because over the last few months the narrative surrounding Lonzo has had little to do with his basketball-playing ability and everything to do with the reality show that his family has become. The guard who averaged 14.6 points and 7.6 assists per game last season while shooting 55.1 percent from the field and leading UCLA (who went 15–17 in 2015–16) to a 31–5 record has somehow gone from being a fascinating prospect to a name for talking heads to scream at one another and a cog in whatever clusterfuck of a branding machine his father is building.

I’m with Titus here. I’ve shifted my opinion on Ball over the last month or so. I was weary of his actual play, given his weird shot mechanics and potential defensive issues, not to mention that it felt like I couldn’t turn on the TV without hearing his father LaVar speak. I got away from that though.

His passing instincts are phenomenal. How much fun would it be to watch him fling the ball around the court in the transition game? Then there’s the matter of his father. He’s definitely self-aware about it, as his recent Foot Locker commercial indicates. If Ball ultimately is the star some see him as, it won’t matter how much LaVar mouths off to the world. Lonzo’s play will be what does the talking.

Vasilije Micic signs with BC Zalgiris - Twitter

Micic, one of the Sixers’ two international stashes at the moment along with Furkan Korkmaz, will play for Zalgiris in the Lithuanian Basketball League and the EuroLeague. Micic averaged 13.3 points and 3.9 assists per game while shooting 46.0 percent from the field and 38.9 percent from three in 24 games this past season for Tofas of the Turkish Basketball Super League.

NBA Mock Draft: Philadelphia 76ers Select Josh Jackson From Kansas - Ridiculous Upside

SB Nation has been doing a blogger mock draft ahead of the real thing next Thursday with Ridiculous Upside then providing some analysis of each pick. This is what they said regarding the Sixers and Josh Jackson:

There’s so many different directions that the 76ers could go with this 3rd overall pick, whether it’s selecting a top-flight point guard prospect (De’Aaron Fox or Dennis Smith) or just simply going with the best player available (Josh Jackson or Jonathan Isaac). Although they still probably need a point guard, Liberty Ballers did a good ob with this selection of Josh Jackson. Aside from Fultz, Jackson might be the most well-rounded player in this year’s draft class due to his ability to contribute in a variety of different ways. From being able to defend multiple positions to being a dynamic cutter, Jackson should be a great fit next to versatile studs like Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons.

Las Vegas Summer League schedule announced - Twitter

Can’t wait to see [insert player] from the Sixers take on Markelle Fultz and the Celtics!

Knicks’ other Carmelo option if Jackson can’t pull off trade - New York Post

The new collective bargaining agreement, which kicks in July 1, still contains the stretch provision clause, which few teams ever use. The clause involves waiving a player and spreading his cap hit out beyond the seasons for which he is under contract.

The 33-year-old Anthony has two years and $54.1 million left on his five-year pact. If Jackson were to cut Anthony between July 1 and Aug. 31, under the provision, the $54.1 million would be spread evenly onto the cap across five years.

I can’t think of a more fitting end to Carmelo Anthony’s tenure with the Knicks than seeing him get cut. I also think it would pretty foolish. The Knicks aren’t going anywhere the next two years. If I was running the show there, I’d much rather pay him for just the next two seasons as opposed to the next five, which would creep into more unnecessary financial commitments during Kristaps Porzingis’ prime.

3 reasons why Lonzo Ball, and not Markelle Fultz, should be the No. 1 pick in the 2017 NBA draft - SB Nation

While I certainly don’t agree with this, I do respect JZ Mazlish’s draft opinion a lot. His argument intrigues me even though it doesn’t convince me:

The best thing I can say about Lonzo Ball is that when he touches the ball, the offense ends up in a better place when it leaves his hand. If he’s shooting the ball, it is almost always a high-efficiency look from three or at the rim. His 67 percent true shooting mark is simply unheard of for a guard. If he’s passing the ball, he’s moving it to the right player, in the right spot.

I am not arguing that Ball is anywhere near likely to become a revolutionary NBA star. Instead, I'm saying it's more likely than Fultz doing the same. The league has seen pass-first point guards be top-five players, but honestly has never seen a star in the mold of Lonzo Ball. It may be wise to bet against something we have never seen before, but that is an easy way to miss on true game changers.

Liberty Ballers Big Board 3.0 - LB

Check out our final big board from yesterday!

Here’s my personal top five:

  1. Markelle Fultz
  2. Jonathan Isaac
  3. Lonzo Ball
  4. Frank Ntilkina
  5. Josh Jackson

Be sure to remember that so you can tweet me in three years and tell me how dumb I am!