Archives For Draft

If you’ve been having daydreams about the Lakers and Paul George, that’s understandable. If you’ve been thinking about ways for the Lakers to try to get their hands on a second lottery pick this draft, I also would not blame you (even though that’s not very likely). But as we inch closer to Thursday’s NBA Draft, the focus will start to narrow on who the Lakers will select with their number 2 overall pick.

According to ESPN’s Chad Ford, it’s looking more and more likely Lonzo Ball will be that player. From Ford’s latest mock draft:

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While the latest round of Paul George rumors turn into a blazing inferno, the Lakers continue to work angles related to this week’s NBA Draft. The latest report has them looking to add another pick to their coffers, preferably in the lottery. From ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne:

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In our final podcast before the NBA Draft, Pete and I take one last look at some of the prospects, answer a bunch of listener questions, touch on the most recent LeBron/Lakers rumor, and have a spirited discussion about Jerry West’s leaving the Warriors for…the Los Angeles Clippers? Yep, that actually happened.

Click through to listen to the entire episode.

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Whether it’s smokescreen season or not (and it is), there is still information to be gleaned through the actions of the Lakers and all the other teams who are gearing up for the NBA draft. We are now in the home stretch and this is the last chance to get prospects in for workouts and interviews before selections are made.

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“With the #2 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, the Los Angeles Lakers select…Josh Jackson, University of Kansas.”

There is a real possibility that exact sentence is uttered by Adam Silver at next Thursday’s NBA Draft. Jackson, the do-it-all F out of Kansas, reportedly has his supporters in the organization, with Chad Ford noting that the organization might actually be “split” between drafting the presumptive #2 Lonzo Ball or selecting Jackson:

I also think it reflects a genuine split within the organization about whom the best long-term candidate is. Ball was a clear favorite of the prior administration run by Mitch Kupchak and still has his fans within the organization. But the Lakers also took note on how Fox outplayed Ball in their head-to-head matchup in March. And Jackson has always been another favorite in the organization.

While the feeling is that Ball is a good fit with the Lakers offensively, Fox and Jackson are gritty defenders and vocal leaders on the court, something the Lakers feel the team is lacking. Jackson in particular seems to have some strong supporters in the organization who think defense should be the priority.

I still think they lean toward Ball, but I’d put the odds somewhere like this: Ball 40 percent, Jackson 35 percent, Fox 25 percent.

I’ve covered Ball’s game and fit already, so I won’t get into that too much now. My simple summary, though: Ball’s offensive game and, specifically, his approach to playing the game (fast, fun, making the right play consistently) offer an almost perfect alignment with how Luke Walton wants his team to play. Combine that with Ball’s considerable ceiling and I think he’s the prime candidate for the #2 pick (assuming Markelle Fultz is drafted #1).

Saying all that about Ball, however, shouldn’t diminish the qualities Jackson brings to the table. Nor should they overshadow that Jackson, with his potential as a two-way difference maker, is also a very good fit for the Lakers in both the short and long term.

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From even before the time the Lakers secured the #2 pick in the upcoming NBA draft, the Lonzo to the Lakers train was steamrolling down the tracks. Whether it was Lonzo’s father, Lavar, trying to “speak it into existence” or Lonzo himself stating outright his desire to play for the Lakers (and be mentored by Magic Johnson) while staying close to home in Los Angeles, the UCLA star becoming a Lakers’ one seemed like destiny.

Now that the Lakers actually have the pick, this all seems even more preordained. Even reports about Lonzo not being a lock are at least partially prefaced with him still being the favorite to land with the Lakers. Yes, other prospects are worth selecting #2 and the Lakers will do their due diligence. They reportedly really like Josh Jackson and De’Aaron Fox and will work both out in the coming weeks. But Lonzo is the name we keep coming back to; he is the default name.

There is good reason for this. Lost in some of the bluster about his father or other “distractions” we should always remebmer that Lonzo Ball is an excellent basketball player and, in my opinion, one of the more intriguing prospects to come into the league in some time. Note, I’m not saying he is the best one — after all, he’s not even the top player in this class. But his profile is a unique blend of basketball IQ, size, skill, and a strict adherence to playing to his strengths that doesn’t often come in any prospect, much less one who can play point guard and/or initiate your offense.

When you add it all up, it combines to make Ball the prospect who seems to almost perfectly align with how the Lakers want to play under Luke Walton and one who should not be defined by any of the noise that surrounds him or his game.

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In this episode of the Laker Film Room Podcast, Pete and I talk with Cranjis McBasketball (aka Tim, aka @T1m_NBA) to take a look at the top of the NBA draft using analytics from their college seasons. Tim breaks down why he has Lonzo Ball as the obvious pick at #2 (assuming Fultz goes #1), why he’s skeptical about De’Aaron Fox, and we also get into why we have Josh Jackson as the 3rd best prospect even though there are concerns about his offensive game.

We also discuss some options at #28 and how, in general, some of the numbers don’t always align with what the eye test says. It’s a good conversation with some particularly good insights about the top guys from this past college season. Click through to give it a listen.

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In this episode of the Laker Film Room Podcast, Pete and I are thrilled to have Mike Schmitz of Draft Express on to talk about prospects for the upcoming draft. The first part of our discussion focuses on Lonzo Ball, Josh Jackson, and De’Aaron Fox. We get into strengths, weaknesses, and potential fit on the Lakers should they select any of them at #2.

We then move into who Mike likes in the later part of the 1st round and who he might select at pick #28 for the Lakers. Pete also goes into a “lightning round” of prospects who might be available at #28, with Mike giving his insight into each guy. We cap off the discussion with Mike talking some about Brandon Ingram’s growth throughout the year and why Mike remains so high on Ingram as a player.

This was a worthwhile discussion with a lot of great information for Lakers fans to consider as we get ready for the draft. Thanks to Mike for coming on and being so generous with his time. Click through to give the entire episode a listen.

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