Pretty much anyone even casually following coverage of the 2016 NBA Draft knows the Los Angeles Lakers are widely assumed to be taking Duke forward Brandon Ingram with the second overall pick, so in that selection, Chad Ford of ESPN's (likely) final mock draft before the picks come in is no surprise.
Ford writes that while "the Lakers loved the charisma that [Buddy] Hield brings to the table," they were ultimately swayed by the rare talent and tools combination Ingram brings to the table.
"Ingram's advantages were too much for Hield to overcome," writes Ford. "You don't find small forwards with 7-foot-3 wingspans every day."
Ford is right about that. Ingram's length, in combination with his shooting ability, are huge parts of what make him such an intriguing prospect. If all goes according to plan, the Lakers are going to end up with a good one on draft night.
Far less certain in the choppy waters of the late first round and early second round is who the Lakers will select with their 32nd overall pick. Ford expects them to take Diamond Stone from Maryland:
Stone is super talented. He has a great low-post game and can even shoot the 3. His lack of elite athleticism is what's holding him back.
Now you might be asking yourself (as I did) "who?" For those that are unaware, I asked Silver Screen and Roll's resident draft expert, Ben Rosales, for a quick scouting report on Stone. He is less than enthused with the projected pick:
Stone is a hallmark of a different era: a big who wants to score almost exclusively on the block. For the purposes of the current league, it makes him an anachronism, and not in a good way.
He's a terrible defensive rebounder, is lost whenever he's asked to step out and defend in space, and his overall feel of the game is putrid, as indicated by his microscopic AST%.
He perhaps might be useful for a team that wants bench scoring and can hide his flaws, but that's not the Lakers and he makes especially no sense if Chinanu Onuaku or Stephen Zimmerman are available at #32.
Ford's picks are (obviously) not guaranteed to reflect the Lakers' actual selections, so fans will just have to tune in for the draft to see which players the team actually decides to add to their young core.