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Lonzo Ball would rather be drafted by the Lakers than No. 1 overall

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Ball would prefer to play in front of family.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-South Regional-Kentucky vs UCLA Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Lonzo Ball, a projected top-five pick who took over the college basketball world at UCLA this season, would rather be drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers than be picked No. 1 overall in the upcoming 2016 NBA draft, he said in an appearance on ESPN’s SportsNation.

“I’m gonna go with Lakers,” Lonzo Ball said when asked. “All my family’s in LA, so just to be able to play in front of them, I think that would mean more to me.”

Ball didn’t ignite a beef with projected No. 1 pick Markelle Fultz, after previously saying he thinks he’s better than Fultz.

“I think I can lead a team better than him,” Ball said. “But as far as his response, that’s what he should say. He feels he’s the best. I feel I’m the best. We’ll leave it at that.”

The comments spawned a brief Twitter rivalry, and we hope it’ll start a real one once both players reach the NBA. But Ball is totally right — both players should feel like they’re the best. That’s a totally normal reaction for high-level athletes, and nobody’s faulting either of them for it.

As for Ball’s hopes to play for the Lakers, they’re looking worse than they did last week after Los Angeles won a couple of games. They now have the third-worst record in the league, not the second, which gives Los Angeles a 47 percent chance to land a top-three pick (about 15 percent for each top spot). However, if the Lakers fall out of the top three, their selection transfers to the Philadelphia 76ers. It’s all going to come down to the lottery selection in May.