The Los Angeles Lakers may have dropped to third-best chance of winning this summer’s draft lottery, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t still land a future franchise player. With D’Angelo Russell thriving as a shooting guard, it appears that the stage is set for the Lakers to add one of the exciting young point guards that populate the 2017 NBA Draft.
In particular, Lonzo Ball from UCLA seems to be determined to end up in purple and gold. He went to Chino Hills High School and badly wants to stay in Southern California. He showed as much in his recent appearance on ESPN’s SportsNation, when asked whether he would prefer to be the number one pick, or join the Lakers:
I’m going with the Lakers … All my family is from L.A. so to be able to play in front of them, I think that would mean more to me.
As refreshing as it is to hear a player so eager to play for the Lakers (especially since the number one pick provides a high salary than any other selection), it’s going to take some serious help from the basketball gods for Los Angeles to find themselves in a position to make that happen.
Thanks to an incredible tank job by the Phoenix Suns, who have now lost 13 straight games, plus some unexpected wins for the Lakers, the chances of landing a top-three pick have plummeted to just 47 percent. If the Lakers do not land in the top-three their first round pick (as well as their 2019 first rounder) will be lost, which means that a lot is riding on the ping pong balls during the draft lottery.
Complicating things further is the fact that Ball is widely expected to be either the first or second pick in the draft. Los Angeles only has a 16 percent chance of landing first overall selection, which would guarantee the ability to select Ball, and roughly the same odds to land the second pick. In total, the Lakers only have a roughly 31 percent chance of getting a top-two pick, which appears to be necessary to draft Ball.