After weeks of posturing and providing all sorts of smoke screens, the Los Angeles Lakers made the move many anticipated they would from the moment they landed in the second spot on Draft Lottery night as they selected Lonzo Ball with the second pick of the 2017 NBA Draft.
Ball and the Lakers have long been seen as the likely pairing, but the Lakers did their due diligence along the way.
Even prior to the draft lottery, the Lakers had locked in on four players in Markelle Fultz, Ball, Josh Jackson and De’Aaron Fox. The Lakers brought in each of the four in for individual workouts, including Ball.
While initial reports surfaced that the team may not have been impressed with his conditioning in the workout and that he did not separate himself, the Lakers were intrigued enough to schedule a second workout with Ball.
For a time, there appeared to be a genuine split within the Lakers as whether to draft Ball or Jackson, but as the Draft approached, the Lakers began settling in on Ball as their man.
Trade rumors regarding the pick surfaced, ranging from the Lakers looking to trade for the top pick to the Suns looking to trade up to the second spot to draft Ball. However, rumors equally persisted that the Lakers did not want to include the second pick or Brandon Ingram in any trade talks, specifically for Paul George.
With UCLA last season, Ball had a standout year as a freshman, averaging 14.6 points, 7.6 assists, 6.0 rebounds and 1.8 steals while shooting 41.2 percent from three and 55.1 percent from the field.
Ball was named a consensus First Team All-American and was a finalist for the Naismith Award and Wooden Award, both honors given to the top player in the country. He was named the U.S. Basketball Writers Association Freshman of the Year and was a Player of the Year finalist for them as well.