Kenny Smith: Lakers Will Overcome LaVar Ball Distraction, Make Playoffs in West

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 30: LaVar Ball attends a basketball game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Sacramento Kings at Staples Center on December 30, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images)

Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images

TNT NBA analyst and former NBA star Kenny “The Jet” Smith believes the Los Angeles Lakers will make the playoffs this season despite their struggles.

In an interview with TMZ Sports, Smith said he expects the Lakers to get themselves into playoff position, while the rival Los Angeles Clippers will fall out of the race.

Entering play Friday, the Lakers were 10th in the Western Conference at 28-27, 1.5 games behind the Clippers for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

Smith also addressed the potential tension between point guard Lonzo Ball and head coach Luke Walton due to recent comments made by Ball’s father, LaVar Ball.

With Lonzo’s name coming up in trade rumors ahead of the trade deadline, LaVar appeared on 98.7 FM in Arizona and said Walton was the “worst coach [Lonzo] ever had.” LaVar also said Walton turned his son “into a loser.”

No trade involving Ball was consummated, which means he will have to be reintegrated into the lineup when he recovers from the ankle injury that has kept him on the shelf.

With regard to whether LaVar’s comments will cause issues, Smith said Friday that they won’t have any impact on the team: “It’s not about dads and uncles and cousins in the NBA. It’s not like high school. … The relationship is only your agent and player. As long as the agent and the player doesn’t say anything, you’re fine.”

While the Lakers haven’t had a dream season thus far, LeBron James’ 17-game absence with a groin injury contributed to their struggles. Now that he is back in the fold, the Lakers have arguably the best player in the world to go along with young talent like Brandon Ingram and Kyle Kuzma.

If the Lakers manage to make the playoffs like Smith predicted, there likely won’t be any teams lining up to face them.

NBA News

via Bleacher Report – NBA http://bit.ly/2gMI6gF

February 8, 2019 at 07:12PM

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