Lonzo Ball to the Lakers is seeming like less and less of a certainty with every day that passes before draft night.
According to Bleacher Report’s Kevin Ding, “Ball did not blow the Lakers away or seal any deal in the time he spent with their officials Tuesday and Wednesday.”
According to Ding’s sources, Ball said all the right things over dinner between himself and the Lakers front office, and performed well enough in the solo workout, but wasn’t spectacular enough to guarantee the Lakers choosing him with the second pick in the 2017 NBA Draft.
The Lakers are apparently still high on Ball, but are taking a closer look at other high profile prospects, such as De’Aaron Fox out of Kentucky, Josh Jackson out of Kansas, and of course, the Celtics number one target, Markelle Fultz from Washington, who has been rumored to only be working out for Boston, something which the Lakers are trying to change.
The main reason for Ball’s less that spectacular performance in front of Laker officials can be put down to the format of the workout, as Ball had no one to go up with against to showcase his expert passing skills, his pick-and-roll game, or his defensive toolkit due to the nature of a solo workout. All Ball could do was shoot, which I guess is fine, but if you’re pinning the hopes of your franchise on the player you draft this year, only letting him show you how well he can stroke it from outside isn’t going to give you much information on how well he can defend a 2-on-1 fastbreak.
Seeing as though Fultz, arguably the best talent in the draft, will go first overall to the Celtics, the Lakers have kept a close eye on Ball, as has been well documented, as well as Fox and Jackson, Jackson reportedly ranking higher as he has already had his own solo workout with LA, which consisted of a lot of shooting drills as well, something Jackson is a little less well-versed in compared to Ball.
The goal for Lakers coach Luke Walton is for LA to be playing ‘positionless basketball’, much like Walton’s former team, Golden State, have been doing with Draymond Green, allowing the Lakers young core of Russell, Clarkson, Ingram and Randle to all bring the ball up the court and initiate plays. Therefore, a pick based on position (Ball, Fultz and Fox being guards, whereas Jackson plays primarily small forward) will not be an issue for Magic Johnson and company.
Interesting to note, after Ball’s workout with the Lakers on Wednesday, Lonzo stated to reporters that LA “needs a leader, a point guard, and I feel that I can bring that to the team.” Could that be a jab at current LA PG D’Angelo Russell?
All will be revealled at the NBA Draft on June 22.