The 2016 NBA Draft is only a few weeks away and the Los Angeles Lakers are preparing to bring in another talented young player with the second overall pick.
At this point, only two players appear to be in the running for the Lakers come draft day with the Philadelphia 76ers, who hold the first overall pick, controlling the team’s fate. LSU’s Ben Simmons and Duke’s Brandon Ingram are considered to be the top two players in the draft with Los Angeles more than likely ending up with Ingram, as the 76ers are rumored to be leaning towards Simmons.
Last year, the Lakers went with D’Angelo Russell with the second pick in the 2015 NBA Draft. Ironically enough, the Ohio State product has some history with the potential first pick in this year’s draft with Simmons and Russell being former teammates at Montverde Academy. Russell recently spoke about Simmons making the jump to the NBA level this year, via L.A. Times’ Broderick Turner:
Russell and Simmons won a high school national championship together at Montverde Academy in Florida.
“He’s got a changing life experience coming up,” Russell said. “He’s got to be prepared for it.”
It would be safe to assume Russell wouldn’t mind being reunited with his high school teammate in Los Angeles next season. The two up-and-comers dominated the competition during their time at Monteverde together and would an entertaining dynamic duo for the Lakers, but all signs point to the storied franchise ending up with one of Mike Krzyzewski’s prized pupils instead.
The consensus as of right now is Simmons will be headed to Philadelphia on draft day leaving the Lakers with the obvious choice of Ingram. The Lakers brass will continue their evaluation of Ingram this week with the former Blue Devil going through a private workout and dining with team officials in Los Angeles later this week, via Turner:
The Lakers draft second overall and are expected to take Duke’s Brandon Ingram, who is scheduled to have dinner with team officials Wednesday night and then have a private workout for them Thursday.
Although anything can happen between now and June 23, it appears to be nearly a foregone conclusion that Ingram will be suiting up alongside Russell for the NBA Summer League next month.
The real uncertainty for the Lakers will be in NBA free agency. There’s no telling whether the 16-time NBA champions will be able to convince big-name free agents like Kevin Durant, Hassan Whiteside, or Al Horford to join a talented young team still in a rebuilding phase, but the Lakers are determined to make a splash this summer.