Since the moment the Lakers landed second in the lottery (or maybe sooner, if you ask LaVar Ball), most have assumed the Lakers will draft Lonzo Ball.
Ball, a California native who attended UCLA last season, not only fits the needs of the Lakers, but has the added bonus of being a hometown kid, meaning the storylines essentially write themselves.
“I absolutely do not think it’s a foregone conclusion, I actually think it’s probably 50/50, 60/40 in favor of Ball in the Lakers front office. Guys love De’Aaron Fox in that front office, because what’s there not to love? The kid is one of the best athletes in the draft. He’s 6’4, I know he’s skinny but he’s got good length. [Kentucky Head Coach John] Calipari will tell you he’s as fast as John Wall with the ball.”
“Josh Jackson they love too, and so do I. So there’s three really good guys you’re going to be looking at at number two.”
This mirrors what was reported prior to the NBA Draft Lottery by Bleacher Report’s Kevin Ding in which he said the Lakers were locked in on four guys: Markelle Fultz, Ball, Fox and Jackson.
With Fultz likely off the board and the likely top pick of the draft, the Lakers closing in on the remaining three makes sense.
According to Geeter, Fox took a big step in the right way during the Draft Combine when he ‘wowed’ the Lakers’ brass in an interview that included head coach Luke Walton. General manager Rob Pelinka and president of basketball operations Magic Johnson were also in attendance when Fox scored 39 points in Kentucky’s win over Ball and UCLA.
All that being said, none of this is to suggest Ball still doesn’t have a solid chance at being the number two pick in the lottery. McGee
“I’ve talked to Luke about Lonzo Ball [and he] loves him, absolutely loves him and has watched him play a few times.
“The workouts and those interviews are going to be huge, and Lonzo is going to have to have a great workout, and he’s going to have to say the right things in the meeting, and they’re going to have to get a great feel for him to be the guy,. I don’t think it’s just ‘Lonzo, hey let’s go.'”
The situation feels similar to the one surrounding the draft in 2015. At the Draft Lottery and in the immediate aftermath, most assumed the Lakers would be drafting Jahlil Okafor and not D’Angelo Russell.
However, a poor workout from Okafor, a strong workout from Russell and a mixture of other factors led to Russell being the choice, a move that looks to have been the right one so far.
In this case, Ball, Jackson and Fox are currently rated second, third and fifth on DraftExpress and all fill vital needs for the Lakers. Should they move in any direction, the ability to add another premiere prospect to the young core is a net positive for the franchise.