Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error EL SEGUNDO >> Before the Lakers fulfilled the Prophecy of LaVar, drafted a hometown hero and hit reset on a rebuilding effort that has come in fits and starts, Luke Walton understood what fans believed would reclaim the city’s hardwood heritage.Lonzo Ball. Whenever Walton stepped outside his Manhattan Beach home, fans told him who the Lakers needed. Lonzo Ball.“They were going nuts for him before the draft happened,” Walton said Thursday night.With a cross-country phone call originating from the Lakers’ headquarters in El Segundo shortly after 4:30 p.m. Thursday, the Lakers reshaped this city’s struggling franchise, drafting Ball, a sweet-passing point guard from UCLA and Chino Hills. “When he was a baby,” LaVar bellowed, before going on to say that his other two sons, LiAngelo and LaMelo would follow suit: star at UCLA and get drafted by the Lakers.How would he make that happen?“Ball control!”Hollywood now has, at least, another showman. Fans will like LaVar, he speaks their language. He guaranteed the Lakers would reach the playoffs next season with Lonzo playing point guard.Walton heard the voices of those fans he said he encountered around town, imploring the Lakers to draft Ball, a 19-year-old who did not leave home for college and now won’t have to for the NBA.“He’s a hometown kid,” Walton said. “You would imagine most fans are behind him.”They will be behind him because ever since the Steve Nash-Dwight Howard-Kobe Bryant “super-team” failed, Lakers fans have thirsted for something to get behind. The team that plays beneath 16 championship banners in Staples Center has suffered the four worst seasons in franchise history, cycled through four coaches in five years and hung its hope on draft picks.Believe in the young players, the Lakers said. Then, on Tuesday, they changed course and sent one of those cornerstone players, D’Angelo Russell, to Brooklyn to grease the wheels of a deal that also freed them from the burdensome contract of a veteran center named Timofey Mozgov.There is a bigger plan at play here, as the Lakers stockpile assets and financial flexibility to chase superstars like Paul George, the Indiana forward whose agent has made it clear the Palmdale native wants to come home. In another year, they will pursue the ultimate trophy in NBA free agent big-game hunting, LeBron James.Other teams want LeBron, too. And that’s where the plan gets muddy. Incestuous.That’s because at the beginning of a week that changed basketball in L.A., the patriarch of all that Lakers glory, Jerry West, sat in front of a stanchion draped in blue and red and delivered a crushing shot at those who claim to bleed purple and gold.West had a hand in every championship this city’s preeminent franchise won from the time it arrived from Minneapolis. Hired this week as a Clippers consultant, he leveled his focus on his new team and said, “They’ve had the best team in town for seven straight years.”Those words cut deep and the purple and gold plasma flowed.It cut so deep because it was true. And that says more about the Lakers than it does the Clippers, who despite five consecutive 50-plus win seasons never advanced past the second round of the Western Conference playoffs. Never truly seized control of this city’s wanting basketball imagination.For decades, a generation even, L.A. has been a two-team town in name only.The Clippers have made significant efforts to change that. They have cultivated a subculture of fans who have come to embrace the sacrifice that must eventually beget success.Last week the Clippers announced they had taken the initial steps to explore building their own arena, one that would house no banners until they earn their own. Then came West.The two teams of Los Angeles are waged in a heavyweight prize fight, at least at the managerial level.Magic Johnson vs. Jerry West? Vegas drools; Mayweather/McGregor can’t hold a candle to that.The question is whether that rivalry trickles down to the court, where the Clippers have won 14 of the past 15 games, including a 48-point romp in 2014 that was the most lopsided loss in the Lakers’ storied history.By all tangible, reasonable measures, the Clippers are the best team in town — just like West said. But there is something about the history of the Lakers, the confidence that comes with having risen to every challenge, to never staying down for long.The Lakers and their fans believe they have sacrificed; the Clippers may scoff, but by their standards it’s true. Fans accustomed to championship are tired of losing.Come on, they say, let’s have a Ball. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with PackersIf not for a father who speaks in guarantees and breathes only fire, Ball might be most often described as mild-mannered, soft-spoken and humble instead of as LaVar Ball’s son.To be honest with you, I don’t think I really say anything too crazy,” Lonzo Ball said in a conference call with L.A. media.After the Lakers drafted Ball, the next piece of the Lakers’ evolving puzzle did a quick handshake with his younger brother.While Magic Johnson’s first draft choice began hours-long media obligations, ESPN’s cameras and reporter sped to LaVar in the audience. When Lonzo grabbed a Lakers hat off a stand, his dad pulled out head-wear of his own: a purple and gold cap emblazoned with “BBB” the initial’s of LaVar’s entrepreneurial vehicle, “Big Baller Brand.”When did he have that made?