Markelle Fultz and Lonzo Ball have essentially be the consensus top-two prospects in the 2017 NBA Draft for most of the year, but according to Chad Ford of ESPN that could be changing.
While Ford reports that after the 2017 NBA Draft Combine “the majority of teams still have Washington's Markelle Fultz ranked ahead of UCLA's Lonzo Ball for the No. 1 pick,” he also says Ball may not even be the consensus choice at second overall anymore, and that “there also seems to be a growing movement among teams to rank Kentucky's De'Aaron Fox ahead of Ball. No one helped himself more in March than Fox did.”
Ford adds that Fox “has a chance to go as high as No. 2 or No. 3 in this draft.”
Before we mention anything else, it’s important to note that this is the time of year when prospect boards are constantly changing as teams decide and debate over what to do with their first round picks. There are going to be rumors and smokescreens all over the place as these front offices try to maneuver, so this could just be an example of that.
However, while Magic Johnson said Thursday that the way teams evaluate Lonzo Ball won’t be influenced by his father’s antics, it’s hard not to imagine that those are having at least some level of influence on these various teams rating Fox ahead of Ball after salivating over the latter all year.
Even having the debate would be a welcome problem to have for the Lakers, who will only keep their first-round pick if it stays within the top-three selections when the 2017 NBA Draft Lottery takes place Tuesday. We’ll see if whether or not they’re among the teams on #TeamBall or #TeamFox even matters then.