The NBA Draft Lottery is less than three weeks away with the Los Angeles Lakers set to learn the fate of their first-round pick on May 16. One top prospect that will be keeping a close eye on where the Lakers land is UCLA’s Lonzo Ball.
Ball, and his controversial father, LaVar, has publicly stated his desire to play for his hometown Lakers. The Bruins star would prefer to stay close to home during his NBA career and may have that opportunity with the Lakers potentially in a position to draft him.
The 19-year-old once again talked about possibly playing for the Lakers and his reasoning for wanting to do so, via Shams Charania of The Vertical:
“The Lakers are in L.A., and they’re close to home,” Ball told The Vertical. “This is where all my family is. Hopefully, they have a nice pick and they have a chance to get me. I want this to be realistic. Just being very family-oriented, to play in front of them would mean a lot to me. The Lakers are a young team and they have a lot of young talent.”
Along with wanting to wear purple and gold to begin his NBA journey, Ball also talked about watching old footage of Magic Johnson while he was growing up. Ball tries to emulate Magic’s game, via Charania:
“I watched tape on Magic when I was young,” Ball told The Vertical, “and it’s why you can see it in my game. He liked to pass, I like to pass. He was a big point guard, I’m a big point guard. And I feel the way the game is played means a lot to him and me.”
The Lakers and Ball seem to be a perfect match. The UCLA product is a very talented player and a true point guard, which is something the Los Angeles franchise desperately needs moving forward.
Although D’Angelo Russell was thought to be the point guard of the future in Los Angeles, the 21-year-old can easily make the transition over to shooting guard as he did late in the 2016-17 NBA season for head coach Luke Walton. He seems to be better suited for that position.
A Ball-Russell backcourt with Jordan Clarkson coming off the bench could prove to be the way to go for the Lakers. It could possibly set up the future with Brandon Ingram at small forward, Julius Randle at power forward, and Ivica Zubac holding down the paint at the center position.
Even though it is a promising look at what may be on the horizon for the Lakers, the fact remains the future is very much uncertain. The team has a 46.9 percent chance of retaining their top-three protected pick and there’s no guarantee Ball will still be available even if they do end up at No. 2 or 3.