Welcome to “Everybody’s Superpod,” a Kentucky basketball podcast presented by SEC Country, hosted by Kyle Tucker. Today, we’re joined by ESPN college basketball analyst Seth Greenberg to talk SEC hoops, the Wildcats’ latest roster and even a little NBA Draft.
LEXINGTON, Ky. — While many keep brushing off the possibility, it lingers: What if the Los Angeles Lakers pick De’Aaron Fox over Lonzo Ball at No. 2 overall in the 2017 NBA Draft?
SB Nation went there this week in a mock draft meant to predict some inevitable chaos on the night of June 22. SEC Country explored that hypothetical with ESPN college basketball analyst Seth Greenberg.
“They’re two different players,” he said. “If you have big, athletic wings, Ball advance passes the ball, has good vision, sees over the defense. He’s a good player. Having said that, De’Aaron to me is really intriguing. He’s going to be able to guard the quickest guy on the court. He’s not only a defender, he’s a disruptor, and I think that’s important. His speed in the open floor with deeper outlets is ridiculous. He’s got a middle game a floater, and we saw that in the UCLA game.”
Greenberg means the Sweet 16 meeting between Fox’s Kentucky team and Ball’s Bruins in March. The Wildcats won and Fox far outshined Ball, pouring in 39 points, beginning the conversation about whether he might actually be the better player. Lakers president Magic Johnson was in the front row that night.
“It’ll be interesting to see if Magic gets seduced by Ball being an L.A. kid and a UCLA kid,” Greenberg said. “But if he goes to the Lakers, people are going to try to compare him (to Magic). The problem is the kid doesn’t play with a lot of personality.”
That might be another point in Fox’s favor.
“I’m interested to see if they do bring in Fox (he reportedly will work out for the Lakers in mid-June) and in those interviews if Magic says, ‘You know what? This kid’s got something. He’s got something we need. He’s got a passion, an energy, a bounce to him that might be different,’ ” said Greenberg, who noted the big question about Fox is shooting. “I think De’Aaron is going to be a good shooter. He’s got to lock that thing in a little bit. He gets loose with his elbow when he brings the ball back, but if he can set that thing with his elbow under the basketball, I think he’s going to be a good enough shooter.”
Most mock drafts still have Fox going fifth overall to the Sacramento Kings, but he’ll work out for the Lakers (No. 2 pick) and Philadelphia 76ers (No. 3 pick) before the draft and get a chance to convince them he’s worthy. One thing he won’t have to do is explain away an overzealous father like LaVar Ball.
Not surprising: De'Aaron Fox plans to work out for Lakers and Sixers. Lakers' workout likely to happen mid-June (week of 11-17)
— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) May 27, 2017
“Obviously the variable with Ball is the old man,” Greenberg said. “Now look, the NBA is not dealing with that. Whoever drafts Ball, real quickly they’re going to bring in the old man and say, ‘You’re out. You can come to the games, support your son — you’ve done a great job preparing your son — but you don’t talk about our team, you don’t talk about other players, you don’t critique what we’re doing.’ Then you get three or four veterans to grab the kids and say, ‘Look, you’re a pro now. Your dad’s done a great job with you and he’s always going to be a part of your life, but we don’t bring this baggage into our locker room.’ ”
Of course, by drafting Fox you avoid all those uncomfortable conversations that LaVar Ball might simply ignore anyway. Meantime, here are a few other topics Greenberg covered on the latest episode of Everybody’s Superpod:
- Breaking down the 2017-18 Kentucky roster, the impact of Hamidou Diallo’s decision and returning sophomores Sacha Killeya-Jones and Wenyen Gabriel — plus what to expect from John Calipari’s latest top-ranked recruiting class.
- How valuable is it that Calipari is coaching USA Basketball’s under-19 team this summer? He’ll have a handful of players from next season’s UK team in camp, plus a few of his top 2018 recruiting targets. That’s precious access and practice time.
- Did SEC basketball really turn the corner last season with five NCAA Tournament teams, four winning a game, three in the Elite Eight and South Carolina making the Final Four? How good will the league be next season?