The NBA Draft Lottery is less than 24 hours away and many teams and their fans are already on edge as they wait to see if the ping pong balls bounce their way, landing them a top-three pick.
For the Los Angeles Lakers, if they are jumped by at least two teams and fall from the No. 2 spot to either fourth or fifth, their first round pick will be conveyed to the Philadelphia 76ers. So for them, it’s top-three or bust.
For LSU forward Ben Simmons, he appears to have a similar mindset heading into the 2016 NBA Draft. According to The Vertical’s Nick DePaula, Simmons and his camp are hoping he is back in purple and gold next season.
Projected top pick Ben Simmons and his agent, Rich Paul, are now changing course and plan to wait until after the NBA’s draft lottery on Tuesday to decide with which shoe brand to sign, sources told The Vertical.
The thinking from Simmons’ camp is straightforward and simple: It’s the Los Angeles Lakers or bust.
In the report, DePaula talks about the offers being made by Adidas and Nike to Simmons, and also notes that Nike upped their offer to D’Angelo Russell after he was drafted by the Lakers last year in order to keep him away from their rival.
A lot of chips have to fall into place before Simmons can realistically think about angling his way to Los Angeles to join Russell, his former high school teammate. The Lakers might not even have a first round pick after Tuesday night, forcing them out of contention for this year’s top prospects.
Simmons and Brandon Ingram are the consensus top-two picks, so even if the Lakers had the second or third pick in the draft, the LSU forward may already be off the board. Ingram is a much more ideal fit with the Lakers’ young core as well, meaning they could certainly lean towards taking the Duke small forward if they were to have the No. 1 pick.
Simmons has made it clear for awhile that he has a desire to reunite with Russell in purple and gold. Early in the season, a snapchat video of him saying people could catch him on the Lakers next year. He also made a habit out of wearing a Lakers jersey to LSU football games last fall, and when Los Angeles was in town to play the New Orleans Pelicans, Simmons was there (via Silver Screen and Roll).
At this point it seems fairly obvious that Simmons wants to be a Laker next season, and they would love to have the chance to draft him. But before any of that talk can realistically gain any traction, we have to simply wait and see if lady luck is on the Lakers’ side again this year. Come this time tomorrow, we will know if Simmons’ desire is an actual possibility or not.