After losing Klay Thompson (to an ACL injury) and Kevin Durant (who decided to go to the Brooklyn Nets), Golden State went through a mini-rebuilding phase. They held the league’s worst record (15-50) the following season and were guaranteed to make their first top-five pick selection in the draft since 2002.
Luckily for the Warriors, the odds were in their favor as they got the 2nd pick despite only having a 13.4% chance. This was a huge boost for Golden State because the corresponding draft class in 2020 happened to be filled with promising talents such as Anthony Ewards (who was selected number 1), LaMelo Ball, James Wiseman, Tyrese Haliburton, and Issac Okoro, to name a few.
When LaVar Ball entered the picture
There was no doubt that LaMelo Ball seemed like a hit-or-miss prospect at that time. Not many were certain that Ball would eventually blossom into an All-Star caliber player except his father, LaVar Ball — who knew that the Warriors were hesitant to select his son. In an interesting turn of events, Golden State eventually chose James Wiseman out of the University of Memphis, which caused the rift between Ball and Kerr.
According to LaVar, he never wanted the Warriors to draft his son anyway because he felt LaMelo wouldn’t thrive under the Warriors’ pristine motion offense. The outspoken father of 3 sons even went as far as criticizing Kerr for his coaching methods and said that he’s the Milli Vanilli of coaching.
“He called me the Kardashian of basketball,” LaVar said in a radio appearance for ESPN LA. “All he had to do was call me LaVar Ball and we woulda been fine. I call him the Milli Vanilli because you ain’t coaching, you just standing up. I could coach them with my eyes closed,” Ball added.
Two years later, the Warriors’ pick backfired
Looking back to 2 years ago, it made sense why LaVar was extremely confident about his son’s potential. While it may be too early to claim whether a pick is a bust or not 2 years in, it seems Ball is off to a better start compared to Wiseman. The Warriors center hasn’t found his stride in the Warriors’ system to the point that he’s constantly being sent to the G League to work on his game. Meanwhile, Ball (who also has durability problems) has already shown his potential and has a lot of room to grow.
Regardless, it already seems like the rest of the league is happy that the Warriors selected Wiseman instead of Ball. Can you imagine what this Warriors team would look like if they selected Ball instead? With all due respect to Kerr, LaVar got the last laugh, but at least Kerr has the rings to prove that he’s not the Milli Vanilli of basketball.