While he’s still considered the favorite to be taken with the second overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, reports continue to emerge about the Los Angeles Lakers’ lack of confidence in selecting UCLA point guard Lonzo Ball.
Ball worked out for the Lakers earlier in the week, and spent time with team officials on Tuesday and Wednesday. While his workout went well and the 19-year-old was commended for his humble attitude, a report from Bleacher Report’s Kevin Ding says Ball didn’t do enough to convince the organization he should be their choice with the No. 2 overall pick.
He very well might be the Los Angeles Lakers’ draft pick in two weeks’ time.
Yet Ball also didn’t blow the Lakers away or seal any deal in the time he spent with their officials Tuesday and Wednesday, according to sources.
The Lakers remain intrigued by Markelle Fultz and Josh Jackson, and to a lesser extent De'Aaron Fox, along with Ball for their No. 2 overall pick.
They are hopeful they can get Fultz in for a workout despite speculation that he would work out only for the Boston Celtics, who hold the No. 1 overall pick. Lakers officials just went to meet and scout Jackson in Sacramento on Thursday, and Fox is coming in to see the Lakers on Tuesday.
The first thing worth pointing out about any report during this time of year is that it is misdirection season, and any piece of information that emerges about a team’s interest (or non-interest) in a player should be questioned. It’s quite possible that any rumored fascination in players like Josh Jackson or De’Aaron Fox could be an attempt into coaxing a team to trade up. The Sacramento Kings’ link to Fox could make them a potential trade up candidate, although the team has been granted a workout by Markelle Fultz’s camp, making it possible that the team could leapfrog the Lakers to move up to No. 1.
All this news is confusing to track, and that may be part of the point. Eventually, the lines between what’s true and what’s phony eventually get blurred, and a team is forced to make a gut decision based off how much they like a certain player.
Which brings us back to Ball’s workout with the Lakers. A one-on-zero workout should not be enough to dramatically adjust a team’s opinion on a player, and if it is, they have done themselves a great disservice. While sitting down with a player for an interview to find out what makes them tick should hold a little more weight, the Lakers should already know what Ball’s deal is both on and off the court, especially because he’s been living and playing in their own backyard.
If the Lakers weren’t sold on Ball when his freshman season concluded in late March, then there’s very little that can be done to change that in the next 13 days before the draft. Ball still seems likely to land in Los Angeles, but if he doesn’t, he would be extremely tough for the Sixers to pass up on with the third overall pick. His fit with Ben Simmons would be nearly as perfect as Markelle Fultz.
A Jackson-Ball debate at three would be difficult, and my feelings on the choice could change with whatever way the wind blows, but if the Lakers decide to take Jackson, then the decision should be a no-brainer.
All of this scuttlebutt makes it worth reiterating how good the Sixers situation is right now. Having the opportunity to select Fultz would obviously be fantastic (and they technically still could if they’re willing to pay the price), but the Sixers are going to have a really good player fall into their lap at three.
Who that might be is just a little more blurry now than before.