The Los Angeles Lakers franchise has gone through some drastic changes over the past couple of years. The team saw their face of the franchise, Kobe Bryant, retire after 20 years and president Jeanie Buss recently relieved Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchak of their positions in the front office to make way for Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka who are now running the show in Los Angeles.
Along with all these changes, the team was fortunate enough to keep their lottery pick in the upcoming 2017 NBA Draft. Los Angeles will draft a player at second overall for the third straight year with all indications pointing to the team going with UCLA’s Lonzo Ball with that selection.
According to David Aldridge of NBA.com, Ball provides a marketing appeal to the Lakers and his arrival will likely permanently bump D’Angelo Russell, who they may not have given up just yet, to the shooting guard position:
For the third straight year, the Lakers will have the second pick in the Draft. But this time, they’re likely to strike (Forum blue and) gold with whichever of the remaining top point guards is still available after Boston picks first. Cali-born and UCLA one-and-done Lonzo Ball has been linked to L.A. for months. His outspoken father, Lavar, has all but threatened famine and pestilence to come to SoCal if the Lakers don’t take his kid. But it would make all the basketball sense in the world to take Lonzo Ball; while the Lakers haven’t given up on D’Angelo Russell, his NBA future looks more off the ball than on it, and Ball’s outstanding and willing passing eye is going to be hard to pass up. And he is a natural marketing fit, something I understand is of some importance out in LaLa Land.
The Lakers brass has a month to figure out which player they’ll take with the No. 2 pick in the draft. Over the course of the nex few weeks, the Lakers are expected to host some of the top prospects in this year’s draft class to make their decision.
It’s not beyond the realm of possibility that a trade or trades could be on the horizon with the team either dangling the No. 2 pick, Russell, and or other valuable assets on the roster. Russell was recently mentioned in trade rumors and the team landing Paul George at some point has been a hot topic of discussion.
Although anything can happen, it seems as though Ball and Russell could be a backcourt duo for the Lakers next season and possibly the foreseeable future.