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.
With that, there is still a lot of mystery surrounding who the Lakers might select with their #2 overall selection. The presumptive pick, for months, has been UCLA guard Lonzo Ball. However, in the past week and a half, Josh Jackson’s name has been gaining more traction. It is seeming more and more likely the Lakers will choose between these two players and, according to Broderick Turner at the LA Times, there is a divide in the team’s front office on who should be pick come June 22nd:
But according to several NBA officials who were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter because no decision has been made yet, the Lakers are split over whether to use their No. 2 pick in the NBA draft on Ball or Jackson.
The Lakers, the officials said, have been having a healthy debate on which course to take because they are intrigued by the talents of both players.
With the June 22 draft still more than a week away, the officials said, Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson, general manager Rob Pelinka, coach Luke Walton and his staff will keep talking.
The Lakers are being diligent, and bringing Jackson for the workout at their practice facility showed how serious they are about him. The Lakers saw Jackson work out in Sacramento last Thursday.
The reporting of a “split” is not new, we mentioned in our write-up on Jackson that ESPN’s Chad Ford had heard similar things last week. This is where the workout process could start to play a bigger role and the fact that the Lakers have brought in Jackson to LA after seeing him in Sacramento last week shows they are going to do all they can to make an informed decision.
In saying that, though, Jackson will not be the only one to get a second look. Turner, among others, is also reporting that the Lakers plan to bring Ball in for a 2nd workout as well, though the final date has not yet been determined.
In many ways, this process reminds me of the 2015 draft where there was a clear top pick (Karl Anthony Towns then, Markelle Fultz now) with several other players vying for the #2 slot. That year the Lakers bucked conventional wisdom by selecting D’Angelo Russell instead of taking Jahlil Okafor. Okafor had been the presumptive pick from the beginning of the draft process, but workouts then shifted things towards Russell (emphasis mine):
It didn’t help that, according to team sources, Okafor’s second predraft workout with the Lakers was a distinct drop-off from the first—whereas Russell was channeling Stephen Curry’s velvety stroke in his follow-up workout with the team.
The above is from a Kevin Ding report from the day of the draft, essentially breaking the news to fans hours ahead and telling us was to happen that evening. Ding’s report also serves as a reminder that the Lakers taking more than one look at potential draftees — especially ones in the top 5 — isn’t exactly new. And it seems especially true when there are multiple players worthy of being selected that high. Remember, too, that after attending an “open” workout held by Kristaps Porzingis, the Lakers brought him in for his own separate workout at their facility later (very similar to what has occurred with Jackson).
It’s hard to know how much of what occurs at these workouts should shape the perception of these players and their future prospects. Former Blazers and Sixers front office man Ben Falk, at his site Cleaning the Glass, wrote a great piece on this recently and noted that, in several ways, workouts offer a unique danger if prescribed too much value:
Anyone who’s worked in the NBA for any significant length of time has heard dramatic stories of workouts that completely threw an organization off. If they weren’t part of a story like that themselves, they’ve at the very least seen first-hand a workout that was not at all representative of the player that prospect would become. The cautionary tales abound. There is no executive, then, that believes a workout is the be-all-and-end-all of a decision. Different decision makers place a different emphasis on how much the workout matters to them and on how much they believe they can learn from the process, but I haven’t met anyone who thinks that it should be anywhere close to the sole basis for their opinions.
Yet, even with this awareness, workouts remain the riskiest part of draft evaluations. Their very nature makes them incredibly difficult to properly weight. Every piece of information in the draft process can be misinterpreted, of course, but workouts are uniquely dangerous for a few key reasons: samples are small, context is hidden, results are subjective, and, most importantly, it’s the last evaluation a team makes before the draft.
I suggest you read Ben’s entire piece as it provides more context for what happens at these workouts and how front offices can use them for better or, in some cases, for worse.
That said, I must say, I am getting anxious and ready for next week to get here already. I’ll have more looks at a couple of other prospects in the coming days, but, in all honesty, I am simply ready for the draft to happen and for the Lakers to have their newest player(s) in house.
Who do you think the lakers should draft?
I really want Dennis Smith, Jr.
A Horse With No Name says
Smith is likely going top five. He’s a board climber. If the lakers could swap the second for the fifth and tenth from Sacto, pick DSJ and snag Zach Collins (he’s going top ten), that would be a tempting haul. Strictly on talent, DSJ is in the top four.
I agree with you on Zach Collins…love the kid. He can play either a stretch Four or Center. Zach had the highest (college game translated) PER for any draftee, although he did average only 19 minutes a game. For those concerned with Randle’s offensive and defensive shortcomings (I raise my hand) Collins feels like such a better fit.
Radiated Boartrarian (@basquiatball) says
I have a legit, non-sarcastic question. When David Aldridge reports “A few sources tell me that Ball has not had great pre-draft workouts”- has Ball even had any other workouts? Has he worked out for the 76ers or Phoenix? I know he refused Boston, and can’t find any references to any other workouts, so what other workouts has he been not great in?
Great new Foot Locker commercial featuring potential draftees but particularly Lonzo, who is poking fun about his dad’s influence. It’s worth a look!
I have to admit two things: i) I’m partial to Lonzo but ii) don’t know what the heck I’m talking about. I will root for Magic and Pelinka’s choice, regardless, but the suspense is killing me.
I wonder how much business will influence the decision. Ball’s workout showed how much media attention he will demand. With Ball as the Lakers’ starting 1 next year, the team is instantly appointment television again. Spectrum would be thrilled. More national games scheduled too. And Ball is the face of the franchise for better or worse. Jackson’s rookie year might be a lot like Ingram’s. Would he even start? Would not move the needle in the same way. With both players equally talented in different ways, business could put Ball in front.
Ball is the choice, especially if your looking to get PG13. We don’t need another 3.
Guys, there are a TON OF GREAT RESOURCES out there that will conclusively educate you about Lonzo, and these other players. Most of them, I’ve found from this site, by listening to the podcasts. Here are my recommendations, if you want to get HIGHLY educated about Ball and why Darius and his buddies mostly love him…
1. Go back to the podcasts featured here… I’d start with http://www.forumblueandgold.com/2017/05/25/podcast-lakers-draft-primer-with-draft-express-mike-schmitz/
… and I’d start here because Schmitz is amazing… also you need to go to Draft Express and watch ALL of his videos and commentary on Ball, and Fox and Jackson. Next, I’d hit
Next, I’d recommend
You also want to bookmark Lakersfilmroom.com, and especially watch their twitter feed. They came out with a great article about Lonzo’s apparent weaknesses, and why they’re really not weaknesses, yesterday. In that article, there is a link to a google doc, 2 pager, which breaks down the results of all of Lonzo’s pick and rolls and their outcomes, including detailing EVERY SINGLE TURNOVER he committed during the season… all of which shows he’s almost certain to be an elite pick and roll handler in the NBA, which should end the concern about his halfcourt scoring.
Third, I’d recommend
Now, there is also a lot of Brandon Ingram discussion going on there, and most people think he’ll still be excellent, I think Schmitz predicting long-time all star (Duncan, I think is not on board).. but you get some great commentary from Darius as well as his colleagues.
Finally, I would highly recommend Darius’ article from June 6th..
Remember, I know these podcasts are long, but once you click on the soundcloud link, you can listen in your car as you drive around.
My summary of it all is that there is a ton of reasons to expect that Lonzo will be an elite player, with about 100% guarantee he will succeed as a transition/fast break leader, about 90% success rate as an off ball shooting guard who cuts, and makes hockey assists, and insta-passes, about 75% success rate as a defender (less consensus here), once he bulks up a bit… (it’s agreed he’ll be elite as a help defender by anticipating steals in the passing lanes, and filling in space, and Mike Schmitz’ video has a great breakdown of his “twitchy feet”, which is amazing to watch… it’s how he keeps the man sort of in front of him, and how he fights through screens, or around them but trails the defender aggressively with length.
The ONLY real dig on Lonzo is his halfcourt offense, and that’s where the excellent work by Lakers Film Room blows the narrative apart. They point out that the dearth of mid-range jumpers is due to Lonzo’s ability to get shots at the rim and 3 point line, which is a mark of dominant and high IQ shot selection. He was 4-8 on mid-range, which is a worthless sample size, but certainly doesn’t bode poorly. And finally, his pick and roll percentages were elite as a passer, still solid as a finisher. This highly trumped number about a 30% turnover rate on pick and roll finishing amounts to 1 turnover every 3 games, because he didn’t finish that much as he’s such an effective passer.
I think he’s superstar material, and NOBODY is going to be able to do what he can do as a super non-ball dominant elite passer and transition guy. And he’ll be good that the rest.
But I’ve provided the above information so that you can load up on the high quality content.
Thanks for the podcasts and excellent work and collaborations, Darius !
A Horse With No Name says
Great job in putting all that together. Ball is an analytics savant–at the college level. Do his skills and the needs for his skills carry over to the NBA? I think this is part of what the lakers are weighing about his strengths. To whit, Luke’s system relies more on making the right pass to open shooters than the next level pass that leads to easier scoring (mostly transition). The system will take care of scoring. We are already seeing that with this young team. Rebounding the ball and getting up court quickly to find the open shooters or driving it in are pretty routine plays for players like Draymond Green or Julius Randle, for example. Brandon Ingram and a prospect like Jackson can also provide the necessary ball movement. The name of the game is elite shooting.
It’s a very different game in the half-court, however. The playoffs have a way of exposing weaknesses and revealing who has the superstar abilities. Anyone watching the finals this year should ask themselves how would a player like Ball, Fultz, Dennis Smith or Jackson fare in those contests? The games weren’t about next level passing. Those are mostly highlight plays during the regular season. They were about great shot-making and the ability to break down defenses by driving and scoring. Most importantly though, the Warriors ability to switch defensively by playing long, athletic, multi-positional defenders (sans Curry) made scoring very difficult for Cleveland. This is what Jackson can provide at a much higher level than Ball, along with high level ball moving and the ability to get to the rim and the line.
For the record, if the lakers pick Ball he very well might be the player many here (I’m calling it a “region-cy” bias) believe him to be and I will eat my sun faded purple and gold lid, and thank the Multi-Verse for the greater wisdom around me. But there’s enough doubts about Ball that the savvy laker scouting department apparently isn’t sold on him just yet.
Horse: Your argument for Jackson is that he’s able to play multipositonal D at a much higher level than Ball and that Ball’s skills won’t translate both seem far off to me.
First, the offense does NOT take care of itself. The Lakers had a mediocre offense. Golden State had a league leading elite offense. Walton can’t make a Golden State offense out of players like Clarkson and Ennis. He CERTAINLY won’t be able to by adding a non shooting, bad touch passing player like Jackson. It’s a mistake to conflate a player like Jackson, who can handle the ball and then pass off for assists, like Randle, with a guy like Ball who makes the quick pass without the ball sticking. You need guys who swing the ball, like Lonzo, to facilitate the defense, and this, by the way, is a half court skill.
Furthermore, players like Lonzo, or Kidd, or LeBron, or Magic, who can take the ball off the rebound or quick outlet (and definitely I’m not comparing Lonzo to any of them on talent or any other way), and lead a coast to coast fast break can do that and do so even in the playoffs, though it’s a bit less common.
Also, Lonzo is a far better half court player by virtue of his elite off ball work cutting both for catch and shoots, ducks to the rim nanda and swing passing. What you DON’T see on the Warriors, at least not as a successful part of their offense, is a non shooter who doesn’t have elite passing skills. So Jackson isn’t really a guy we can have confidence in translating… Yes there’s Iguodala, but he’s been elite in both defense and passing, and even he doesn’t fall among the top 4-5 offensive players on Warriors .. And we would have to consider him Jacksons ceiling.
As regards multipositonal, Ball is a multipositonal defender more so than Curry, and maybe even as much or more than Klay. He will be able to guard 1-2 for sure, man’s eventually 1-3. 6’6″, with a 6’9″ wingspan is HUGE for a point guard. Jackson is about one to two inches taller, with a wingspan of maybe 1 inch more. Don’t see Jackson being able to cover most 4s… Maybe half… Blake Griffin, Randle, Kevin Love all are undersized for defense at the 4, and are all taller, longer wingspan, and stronger built than Jackson. So he’s just an1-3 guy too, reliably, anyways.
I dont think Jackson has even close to the ceiling of a guy like Ball. You draft Jackson because you don’t believe in Ball, NOT because you believe in Jackson. In other words, the moment you draft Jackson, you are giving up on the superstar sweepstakes and instead going for a possible two way plus player.. Maybe even a very good one.. Heck, Kris Middleton.. Maybe a tad better.
Lakers don’t draft him they will be like Portland with and Sam Bowie even though they had Clyde because clyde and mj could have played together without a doubt. Because Clyde was 6″7 or 6″8
I still prefer Ball over the other candidates (assuming Fultz goes #1) because I think his special kind of court vision/passing is difficult to find and nearly impossible to teach. Poor shooters can be taught shooting technique. Bad defenders can make up for some of their deficiencies with effort and intelligence. Understanding when/where/how to place a pass which maximizes another player’s opportunity is something few ballers ever develop.
I think the Lakers would benefit from Lonzo Ball’s talent in this area
Mike Tyson said it best everybody got a plan until u get punched n the mouth. Everybody can play until u go up against the best. Josh j -JJ
Is for real 150 percent not 100 or 110
Renato Afonso says
From the previous thread…
Well, Darius is going to have a field day with this but… Maybe the Lakers should pick Ball. I don’t follow the NCAA like you guys do but I’ve been trying to watch as many games from Fultz, Lonzo and Jackson as possible (full games, not just the highlights) and I came to a conclusion:
Jackson is obviously the safest bet in the draft as he is ready to guard NBA wings. The Lakers need individual and team defense more than anything and Jackson would be a great addition to Ingram. A starting lineup with Russell, Ingram and Jackson can be competent enough to vault the Lakers to an average defensive team in the NBA. If the Lakers pick based on team need (and there are plenty), Jackson is the only choice possible as it provides help on the team’s weakest field. However, Ball may be the best player in this year’s draft. Like it was said above, he is the high risk high reward type of player and maybe it is time to swing for the fences. He’s long and has a good basketball IQ and as long as he improves physically he can, at least, be a “neutral” defender.
His shot form is a concern but the ball goes in, so his shot must be respected at all times. Furthermore, the “force him to drive to the right and he can’t pull up” thing is a bit overblown. I’ve seen tape of him pulling up while cutting inside from left court. Obviously, his form requires a greater separation from the defender but he is longer than most PG in the league and his form can be fixed.
Fultz seems like every other PG in the league but he doesn’t have the IT factor you could see on others. He’s probably going to be a good player and without a doubt a starter but I just didn’t see any particular skillset that was elite. Maybe I’m wrong but from what I’ve seen (it took a while) the order is #1 Ball, #2 Jackson and #3 Fultz. Either way, any player they pick from those three is a good pick.
Note: Regarding off court distractions, Jackson’s issues are far greater than Ball’s. There is no trouble surrounding Lonzo Ball except for his very vocal father who wants to promote his brand. Ball will most likely be a model professional and a good addition to any team. Jackson’s behaviour, if it all really happened as the media portrays, is terrible and as a father of a little girl this is something I cannot understand or forgive. If both players talent and potential ability was the same, this would be enough to give Ball the edge.
Good post, Renato.
Renato Afonso says
It’s definitely going to be nerve wracking considering what the options are. Various sources of info stated that LB’s workout was disappointing regarding Lonzo’s conditioning.
The one thing about this disappointment for me was that Lonzo only had one workout compared to the other draftees who had to fly cross country and perform several workouts for different teams. He didn’t prepare enough for management to lock him in as their guy. Fatigue and lack of preparation for one workout and team should never be accounted for.
Take for example Kobe. All the workouts for teams including Boston blew everyone away. Kobe killed it so bad for the Lakers against Coop and other draftees that Jerry West cut it short and knew right away that Kobe is their guy.
Lonzo had months to prepare for ONE workout and the front office came away disappointed. Another thing to consider is that if D’Angelo did well, there wouldn’t be any talk of Lonzo and instead we would be talking various trade scenarios like possibly proposing a deal with Sacramento where we would get their 5 and 10 ’17 first rounders along with a top 3 protected ’18 pick for our #2. Since next year we would have to give up our pick to the Sixers to put an end to that bad Nash trade.
D’Angelo has potential but I feel like he has way too many distractions in LA to keep him from being the point guard we all wished he could be. And because of that I don’t think he will be the leader of the team and reach his true potential. If I were DLo, I would be working out with Kobe at 4 am and establish a new routine, even move down to Newport Harbor area and stay away from LA’s temptations like Kobe did.
How he isn’t taking full advantage of a valuable resource like Kobe makes me think that he’s not fit to be the Lakers PG/ leader. What any of us would do to know and have an incredible resource like Kobe and achieve the kind of success he had in his HOF career. Even Magic came out and said no one is protected from any trade scenarios except BI. That’s more than enough to whip me into shape and get my basketball life in order.
So unless Lonzo and D’Angelo make much needed changes to their work ethic, I’m not sure if any of these guys are what this team needs. Jackson has questionable character issues stemming from that incident with the female athlete at KU.
If we are to try and emulate the type of success that Warriors have, we must take into consideration the work ethic and character of each person. Everyone has flaws, skills and personality wise, but what will it take for the on/ off court chemistry to be good in order to increase the chances of success for the Lakers? For many years I feel like the previous regime overlooked these two very important traits and that has led to the demise of this franchise.
I guess we’ll just have to wait until next week to find out what happens.
I`m would be really disappointed if Ball hasn`t used the last 2 months to get into NBA shape,and work on his weaknesses. You would think his father.would drive him hard with everything at stake. I still think it will be Ball,but his next workout might be the clincher,one way or the other.
This is an article, regarding Lonzo Ball, I saw many weeks back. I cut out the excerpt thinking that I would make a post with it and then forgot about it. My apologies as I can’t recall the site/article I took it from. It does, however, share interesting insight from Fran Fraschilla and Don MacLean.
“He’s as good a passer as anybody who’s come into the league in the last 40 years,” Fraschilla said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s Magic, Jason Kidd, Ben Simmons, this kid has transcendent passing ability. He sees teammates who are open before they even realize they’re open.”
A first-team All-American, Ball transformed UCLA during his only college season. He’s the reason the Bruins went from 15 wins in 2016 to 31 last season. An athletic 6-6 point guard, he averaged 14.6 points, 6.0 rebounds and 7.6 assists. And even with an unorthodox shooting form, he made 41.2 percent of his 3s, many of which were contested.
“If there’s a dilemma, it’s can he get his own shot with a low shot clock?” Fraschilla said. “Because he’s going to be in that situation anywhere from 15 to 25 times a night, where the ball’s in his hands in a low shot-clock situation. That’s the reality of the league. And that’s a key question for him.”
For such reasons, MacLean compares Ball to Kendall Marshall. Like Ball, the former North Carolina point guard was an elite distributor, but his game didn’t translate to the NBA. The Suns chose Marshall with the 13th pick of the 2012 draft. Five years later, he was out of the league.
“If you’re starting a college team, you want Lonzo Ball to be your point guard,” said MacLean, who also helps players train for the draft. “If you’re starting an NBA team, you want Fultz or De’Aaron Fox. Here’s why: His game as a pro, to me, doesn’t translate as well because he’s never run the screen-roll game. He doesn’t shoot any shots between the rim and the 3-point line, and that’s a problem.”
Ball last season shot an incredible 73.2 percent inside the arc, which ranked fourth nationally, but many of those opportunities came in transition or through penetration. According to DraftExpress, which used Synergy technology, Ball rarely looked for his own offense in pick-and-roll situations, passing 75 percent of the time. In addition, he took only 35 jumpers off the dribble all season, and many of those were step backs.
“You got to shoot runners, floaters, pull-ups, and he doesn’t have it,” MacLean said. “He’s got a catch-and-shoot deep 3 and he can get to the rim. Against NBA defenses, his straight-line drives through the defense, DeAndre Jordan’s waiting for that, and he’s sending that back. You get to the rim in the league by beating defenders and finishing before the defense can rotate. You’re never driving from the 3-point line all the way to the rim and getting away with it.”
At the same time, Ball’s star potential might be too hard to ignore.
“Really, someone’s got to tell me they’ve seen a better passer in the last 40 years than him,” Fraschilla said. “We could argue about Jason Kidd and Magic. OK, fine. They’re both Hall of Famers, so if someone says he’s No. 3 behind those two? That’s still pretty high praise.”
Maclean is way, way off. He didn’t watch Ball play. His premise was that Ball didn’t win a screen and roll game in the half court, and that he can’t hit mod range shots. Here is why he’s wrong…
UCLA ran 51% of their pick and rolls through Ball. He had about 119-121 pick and rolls her ran, producing in the high 80th-90th percentile of points per play, depending upon whether he finished or passed, etc. If Maclean doesn’t want to do his research, or know his facts, that’s his prerogative. But his conclusions are the kind of garbage that comes from bad factual understanding.
Similarly, Ball was 4-8 on midrange jumpers. How does that establish he can’t make them? Again, it’s a tiny sample size, which apparently means Maclean holds it against Ball because he plays offense with elite shot selection, hitting 72% from 2, and 41% from 3, and avoided the worst shots in the game.
Me? I consider intelligent play an asset. Not looking for the next Monta Ellis.
Ball and Fultz are in the top tier, over anyone else. People get caught up in smoke screens or new flavors, or March madness performances, or single head to head matchup.
None of us remember how Kwahi Leonard did in his college matchup or March madness. I remember a UCLA team with Love, Westbrook, Collison, Mbah a Moute and others flame out in final four. They turned out all right.
Basically anybody using the Fox vs Ball argument is short sided and glad they’re not my GM. They are 19 year olds I’m random college games. Pretty sure I remember Ball outplaying Fultz twice but nobody talks about it.
I think the real savants know that Ball is a legit threat to go #1, hence the smoke screens leaking out and silence from Lavar. He’s potentially a generational talent. Fultz is legit too, but honestly a 6’4″ solid point guard is dime a dozen. We don’t want a Lowry, Holiday, Beverly etc. We want Hollywood version of Jason Kidd in his prime. All of Ball’s shortcomings are fixable. What he does elite is all natural and can’t be taught.
Lakers need talent, bottom line. The whole draft a defender argument is also a little laughable at this stage of the rebuild. Continue developing the core. DAR, Nance , Zubac, Ingram have been trending up on D over the course of the season. Let’s not expect a bunch of 19-20 year olds be super duper 2way players.
Anybody remember Sidney Moncrief? Jack Kent Cooke wanted to draft him #1. He went #4 and was a good NBA player, but he was no Magic Johnson.
It is time for a high risk, high reward pick.
Moncrief was a 5 time All Star and 2 time DPOY who labored in Siberia, basically, for his entire career.
Quibbling aside, I really like your post and your points are well taken, I mean, no doubt Magic was the high risk/ultra high reward choice.
I have to think the old man would roll the dice on L. Ball as well.
We also can’t overlook that Ball is 19 while Jackson and Fultz are 20. I haven’t looked at the months, but would we even be having this discussion if we were able to compare 19 year old Josh Jackson and 19 year old Fultz? When you’re that young, 6-12 months of development make a big difference.
LT Mitchell says
I’ve seen plenty of Josh Jackson’s entering the league and we’ll see plenty more. I haven’t seen many Lonzos entering the league, and we might not see another one for a while. A PF who can’t spread the floor is a liability in the modern NBA, and soon, the same concept will apply to the center position…yet people want a wing player who can’t shoot to be a cornerstone of the Lakers? Say what?
Everyone please calm down. There is no way that Magic will pass on Lonzo. These two are a match made in Laker heaven. If the Lakers really want Jackson, they’ll trade Russell for him. I love the idea of trying to trade Russell for the 5th and 10th pick even better, but rest assured, Lonzo will be a Laker.
After six years as a special consultant, Jerry West is leaving the Golden State Warriors to take a similar job with the Los Angeles Clippers, SI.com has learned.
Sad that Jeanie could not work with Magic/Pelinka to bring Jerry home. Can’t help but think this is about who gets the credit for turning the Lakers around.
There goes Ryan West to the Clippers.
Then there is this, filed under ‘the rich get richer’: Gordon Hayward’s wife recently posted a picture of the couple’s son on Instagram. The boy is wearing a t-shirt with a shamrock on it, the shirt says “Go Green”.
A month or so ago I wrote a post looking at two sides of the coin, ‘Are the Celtics going to dominate the Eastern Conference for the next decade?’ With Fultz and Hayward the Celtics take another major step forward next season. They still have the Nets pick next year, a draft that is top loaded with centers. Plus they have two big men that are well regarded (Zizic and Yabusele) playing overseas.
I think its safe to say that the answer to that question is, ‘Yes.’
I give credit to Ainge for always looking ahead, and by that I mean many years ahead and stockpiling assets and draft picks. in the 13/14 season both the Celtics and the Lakers stunk. The Celtics won 25 games and the Lakers won 27. It should be noted that was also the year that Ainge hired Brad Stevens and made the infamous trade with the Nets.
For years our previous FO only looked ahead to the next off season. Why trade DHoward (and Pau for that matter) when you knew he was not going to resign? A trade may bring back draft picks but you’d also have to take back matching contracts. Far better to save that cap space so you can sign multiple max free agents in one summer and immediately reload. Putting together an actual rebuilding plan is far too much work.
As an organization the Lakers have dug themselves quite a hole.
Yeah I’m afraid the Celtics may dominate more than just the East over the next decade.
With Fultz in hand, who knows what they might do with I. Thomas? Keep him for another season to see how Fultz develops, then re sign and keep him or trade him for … geez, who knows what? Picks and roll players maybe?