As is well known by now, the Los Angeles Lakers will only keep their first-round draft pick if it lands in the top-3. At 18-36, the team currently has the third-worst record in the NBA so holding on to that pick is a major question mark.
This draft is believed to be one of the deepest so the Lakers holding on to the pick, whether they pick someone or use it as trade bait, is important. If they do keep it, the draft is full of guards with Washington’s Markelle Fultz and UCLA’s Lonzo Ball viewed as the cream of the crop.
There has been some discussion about how those guards could fit next to current Lakers point guard D’Angelo Russell and in his latest mock draft, ESPN’s Chad Ford had the Lakers selecting Ball:
“Ball is especially appealing to the Lakers. His elite passing ability combined with his unselfishness has the potential to make everyone on the roster better and allow head coach Luke Walton to play the sort of game at which the Warriors have excelled. Russell can swing to the 2 and, along with Ball and Jordan Clarkson, would give the Lakers three ballhandling guards.”
There is no doubt that the Lakers and their fans would be thrilled if they could come away with a talent like Ball. He is an outstanding passer and shooter and would give Luke Walton another player who could play both guard spots. He and Russell together would make a devastating pair.
All of this is still dependent on the Lakers keeping the pick. Walton recently made a move to give more minutes to the youth on the roster, starting Brandon Ingram and Tarik Black in place of Luol Deng and Timofey Mozgov. Of course, as they grow and develop, the kids could get some wins down the stretch of this season as well, as they showed with Monday’s performance against the Knicks.
The Lakers are in a delicate situation in regards to their pick, but getting another big-time talent would be huge for this franchise.