In the months leading up to the 2017 NBA Draft, it seemed inevitable the Los Angeles Lakers would end up taking Lonzo Ball with the No. 2 pick.
Ball seemed to have everything the Lakers wanted in a point guard and so when the Lakers ended up taking him, not a soul in the world was surprised. Former president of basketball operations Magic Johnson even went so far to promise that his No. 2 jersey would one day hang in the rafters at Staples Center.
Obviously, Ball has since been traded to the New Orleans Pelicans — along with Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, and multiple draft picks — in exchange for Anthony Davis. However, with the type of praise Ball received right out of the gate, it would seem obvious the Lakers never once had a negative interaction with him when he was still in college.
Ball actually confirmed the opposite when he said that the first pre-draft workout he had with the Lakers was one of the worst workouts of his life, via The LightHarted Podcast’ with Josh Hart:
“The workout with the Lakers was the worst workout I’ve ever had. Ever.”
Ball claimed the workout was so bad, the Lakers went all the way to Chino Hills to give him a second chance, which simply shows how dedicated they were to selecting Ball with the No. 2 pick:
“It has to be the worst workout for a No. 2 pick. It has to. That’s how bad. It was terrible. They had to come to Chino to watch me work out again.”
The Lakers had obviously been dead set on Ball for quite some time, meaning they were never going to let one workout change their mind. However, it is an interesting hypothetical to think about.
Ball clearly did well in his second workout with the Lakers, anointing him with huge expectations to be the next Johnson.
And for the first time in his career, Ball will now have a massive weight off of his shoulders as he gets the chance to play for a small-market team with a young, deep, and very talented roster. He’ll get to learn from Jrue Holiday and JJ Redick while playing alongside Ingram, Hart, Zion Williamson, Jaxson Hayes, and Nickell Alexander-Walker.
There isn’t a much better situation in the NBA for somebody like Ball to start over.