Rumors surrounding the Los Angeles Lakers heading into the 2017 NBA Draft have been running rampant over the last few days. One thing that hasn’t cleared up yet is which way the Lakers are leaning with the second overall pick.
The Lakers are said to have been torn between UCLA point guard Lonzo Ball and Kansas wing Josh Jackson. Ball would give the team a true point guard and improve the team’s shooting while Jackson is arguably the best two-way player in the draft and would give the Lakers a hard-nosed defender.
Now it looks as if the Lakers are leaning towards selecting Ball, according to Chad Ford of ESPN:
Sources in L.A. say that the Lakers have been moving closer and closer to selecting Ball in the past 48 hours. More than ever, he’s the heavy favorite to get his wish to play for his hometown team.
Ball was always believed to be L.A. bound once the Lakers landed the second overall pick, but the road has been anything but smooth. His conditioning was reportedly disappointing in his first workout and a 1-on-0 workout is hardly the best atmosphere to show off Ball’s outstanding court vision and passing.
What Ball brings to the table is obvious, however, as he helped turn around a UCLA program that was below .500 the year before he arrived. His passing is contagious and would be a perfect fit for Luke Walton’s offensive system.
Jackson reportedly didn’t have an excellent second workout with the Lakers which could also be contributing to this as well. While his defense and athleticism is outstanding, his lack of shooting and average ball-handling are concerning.
There is still plenty of time before the Lakers have to make their final decision and things could absolutely change before then, but it is starting to look more and more likely that Ball could see his dream come true of suiting up for his hometown team.