The NBA Draft is slowly inching closer and speculation is heating up about what the Los Angeles Lakers will do with the second overall pick. Most consider UCLA’s Lonzo Ball to be the likely choice, but recent rumors have thrown that into question.
Kentucky’s De’Aaron Fox and Kansas’ Josh Jackson are considered to be the main candidates to usurp Ball’s spot with the Lakers. There has also been speculation that the Lakers might trade down in the draft, which could be an interesting wrinkle if they feel that a talented player can be had later on.
The bottom line is that no one is truly certain of what the Lakers will do, and with just over two weeks to go until the draft, that includes the Lakers themselves. However, at an event for American Express, Miami Heat president Pat Riley shared the stage with Lakers President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson, and commented that Johnson will have to fight the urge to mentor Lonzo Ball in this great video from ESPN’s Arash Markazi:
Pat Riley said Magic Johnson is still a leader and is going to have the urge to go onto the court and be Lonzo Ball's mentor next season. pic.twitter.com/0LvtL18U8n
— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) June 6, 2017
It’s possible that Riley was simply looking to get a reaction out of the crowd, and if that was the case, then mission accomplished. Riley and Johnson are longtime friends, but since they work for competing organizations, it’s unlikely that Johnson would tip his hand about which way Los Angeles is leaning in the draft.
Then again, if Riley is privy to what Johnson and the front office are currently thinking, then perhaps he just gave away some real intel. Rumors are flying, but we won’t know which way the Lakers went for sure until their pick is announced on June 22nd.