Most kids dream of playing for their hometown teams growing up. Very few are talented enough to do it, and even fewer possess the extra level of stardom necessary to try and maneuver their way to said team in the draft.
Lonzo Ball is one of the rare members of the third category, and while Ball said he’d play for any team that drafted him in an interview with Shams Charania of the Vertical, he also reiterated that his preference would be to stay in Los Angeles and play for the Lakers.
“The Lakers are in L.A., and they’re close to home,” Ball told Charania. “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.”
Ball is right that the Lakers have a lot of young talent, a grouping that would grow significantly with his addition.
However, it’s no sure thing they’ll have “a nice pick,” or even have a pick at all. The Lakers currently have a 53.1 percent chance to forfeit their top-three protected first-round draft selection to the Philadelphia 76ers in the lottery if it falls at the fourth-overall selection or below.
Even if they keep their pick, there is also no guarantee the Lakers select Ball. For example, Draft Express has Markelle Fultz rated higher than Ball, as do many other analysts, and there will surely be a back and forth over which will go first overall until draft day.
Ball and the Lakers will know if the latter has a pick before then, and the team surely just hopes Fultz vs. Ball is a debate they’ll get to have, instead of watching the Sixers swipe either of those two, or another player, out from under their nose.
Harrison Faigen is co-host of the Locked on Lakers podcast (subscribe here), and you can follow him on Twitter at @hmfaigen.