For the first time in five years, the Los Angeles Lakers will not have a lottery pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. Regardless, they seem to be putting a lot of thought into who could be picked at the top of this draft.
According to ESPN’s Kevin PeltonAccording to ESPN’s Kevin Pelton, the Lakers are “rumored” to be interested in Luka Doncic, the European phenom widely expected to be atop-three pick this season. (h/t Christian Rivas of Silver Screen and Roll):
“The Lakers have rumored to be high on [Doncic], which makes sense considering his potential fit alongside Lonzo Ball, but they don’t appear to be positioning themselves to trade for a top-five pick.”
Doncic is viewed as arguably the top European prospect ever and is in the process of finishing out a season where he wins multiple MVP’s in Europe’s top leagues at the age of 19. Most people expect the Suns to draft him with the first overall pick, having just hired one of his former coaches as their manager.
Pelton’s verbiage is important here with the word “rumored” implying that his sources are outside of the Lakers organization. But it’s not shocking that the team is interested in Doncic. A player with that high of a draft stock will already garner lots of views and the Lakers have been very active in scouting European players for a while now.
That said, it seems highly unlikely that the Lakers will be able to conjure up the assets to move into the top-five and even that might not be enough to secure Doncic. Nevertheless, the Lakers’ interest is notable if only for the fact that they have their eyes on Doncic early and that can impact free agency and trades down the road.