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NBA draft news: In shocking twist, Lakers plan to draft Brandon Ingram second overall


Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

In the biggest and most exciting twist of the lead up to the 2016 NBA Draft,  Chad Ford and Ramona Shelburne of ESPN report that "barring a last-minute blockbuster trade offer, the Los Angeles Lakers intend to select Duke freshman Brandon Ingram with the second pick in the 2016 NBA draft on Thursday night."

The prior sentence was facetious of course, as nearly everyone paying attention to the draft has been predicting this is the scenario that makes the most sense. With a well plugged-in source like Shelburne now reporting it, Ingram to the Lakers seems like essentially a foregone conclusion, especially in the wake of Ben Simmons reported promise from the Philadelphia 76ers..

While Shelburne and Ford caution that the Lakers could still trade the pick if "a last minute blockbuster trade offer from a team offering a young, veteran All-Star in return" materializes, it's hard to see such an offer materializing at this point. The Lakers are still interested in such a scenario if it were to be available, however:

The Lakers don't want to trade the pick and are bullish on Ingram. However, any chance to get a proven young All-Star now would have to be seriously considered by the Lakers according to sources. The team plans to be very aggressive in free agency in July and a young All-Star caliber veteran could help them lure other elite free agents.

If no trade shenanigans pop out of the woodwork, there's a lot to like about the Lakers just holding steady and picking Ingram. The sweet-shooting 6'9 forward with a ludicrous 7'3 wingspan is shockingly smooth for a player so gangly, and his length should eventually allow him to be a lock-down defender at the next level.

Basically, if the Lakers could grow a prospect in the lab this summer to fit perfectly with their young core of Julius Randle, Larry Nance, Jr., Jordan Clarkson, and D'Angelo Russell going forward, that Buss-enstein's monster would look a lot like Ingram. It's easy to see why the Lakers are "bullish" on him, and their fans should be too when he tries to stretch a purple and gold cap over his giant hair at the NBA Draft on Thursday.

You can follow this author on Twitter at @hmfaigen.

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