Although Lonzo Ball to the Lakers felt like a foregone conclusion for months, enough noise has been building to suggest there are other options on the table for Los Angeles. The latest concerns Ball’s workout with the west coast outfit, and claims he may not have come in with a chiseled physique.
Word comes from Mark Medina of the Orange County Register:
Many qualities have made the Lakers impressed with Ball, including his leadership potential, passing and scoring. They are not impressed, however, with his level of conditioning.
Some observers of Ball’s workout last Wednesday thought he came in out of shape. Ball acknowledged that the “drills get you tired, so you got to stay focused.
Behind wingspan, basketball IQ, and athleticism, the all important measure of “did this guy wear a t-shirt under their jersey in college?” is a really important evaluation tool. But while you can clearly see Ball has a long way to go in terms of bulking up, being in or out of shape did not appear to be an issue for him at UCLA.
Take this sort of report with an entire shaker of salt. There are 10 days between now and the NBA Draft, and teams are incentivized to lie through their teeth in order to misdirect the other 29 franchises. It’s entirely possible Ball drops to the No. 3 spot, but that’s something the Sixers can deal with if it happens, and the choice of whether to select him or not isn’t going to hinge on extraneous reports from LA.
We heard repeatedly before the 2015 NBA Draft that the Lakers were all set to take Jahlil Okafor, and that turned out to be complete nonsense. Though the Lakers are under new management and tend to float more free agency rumors than draft stuff—someone is drafting a story right now about how [Good Player] would “consider” L.A.—anything from their neck of the woods should be treated with skepticism.
If Ball falls to three, the Sixers will have increased leverage in trade talks and/or an opportunity to snag one of the most unique players in the draft. No need to overthink it beyond that.