For the second time in the last three years, the Los Angeles Lakers drafted a point guard with the No. 2 overall pick, as they selected Lonzo Ball out of UCLA.
Unlike D’Angelo Russell, who has since been traded to the Brooklyn Nets, Ball is known to be a pass-first point guard who cares more about getting his teammates open looks than himself.
Ball’s ability to make his teammates better is what was so appealing to the Lakers, whose front office is run by Hall of Fame point guard Magic Johnson, who had the same reputation when leading the Lakers to five championships in the 1980s.
At the recent NBA Rookie Photo Shoot in New York, NBA.com surveyed 39 rookies, asking them seven questions about their fellow draftees. One of the questions they asked was who is the best playmaker in the class, and the rookies overwhelmingly voted Ball the best in that category, as he received 71.8 percent of the votes.
Top overall pick of the Philadelphia 76ers Markelle Fultz received the second most votes at just 7.7 percent, while three other players tied for third at 5.5 percent.
Ball led the nation in assists in his lone season at UCLA, averaging 7.6 to go along with 14.6 points and 6.0 rebounds.
He was equally impressive in the Las Vegas Summer League, taking home MVP honors, averaging 16.3 points, 7.7 rebounds and 9.3 assists, which again led the league.
Ball will be given the keys to the Lakers offense this season as the team’s starting point guard, so it will be interesting to see if he is able to repeat the success he had in college and the summer league.
The rookies also voted for who they believe will win the Rookie of the Year award this season, and Ball received the second-most votes behind only Dennis Smith Jr. of the Dallas Mavericks.