The 2017 NBA Draft order is finally official, meaning draft analysts around the Internet can now unleash the first wave of mock drafts that actually matter. The Los Angeles Lakers landing the No. 2 pick has seemingly made projecting the draft very easy.
ESPN’s Chad Ford, Ricky O’Donnell of SB Nation, DraftExpress, USA Today, Gary Parrish of CBS Sports and certainly other mocks all have Lonzo Ball going to the Lakers with the No. 2 pick. It’s not exactly rocket science pegging Fultz to the Boston Celtics and the Lakers going with the Inland Empire product who’s been campaigning for LA to draft him.
There seems to be one major obstacle that can keep Lonzo from reaching his dream of being a star for the Lakers: De’Aaron Fox. The Kentucky Wildcat is one of the four players the Lakers are reportedly locked onto, and Fox has a window of opportunity to overtake Ball to become the No. 2 pick
Here’s what Ford had to say about the Lakers drafting Ball at No. 2, along with the mention of how Fox fits into the equation:
Ball as a potential Laker has been discussed for months, and it appears to be destiny. He has that Showtime quality that the Lakers have been missing since Kobe Bryant retired. And D'Angelo Russell should have no problem moving over to the 2 full time.
It's unlikely, but one sleeper here is De'Aaron Fox. The Lakers have been enamored with him since he destroyed Ball in the UCLA-Kentucky game during the NCAA tournament. He could move ahead of Ball with great workouts.
Fox dropped 39 points on UCLA during the Sweet 16, sending Lonzo and the Bruins packing. Magic Johnson was actually in attendance for that game, something Fox has referenced already, and it’s clear that De’Aaron left an impression on the Lakers’ front office.
The Lakers are going to take a look at all of their options before their big draft day decision, and they’re hoping they can pit Ball and Fox against each other at some point during their workout process, according to Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress:
Will be interesting to see if the Big Baller Brand Camp agrees to a head to head matchup w/De'Aaron Fox, considering how the last one went.— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) May 17, 2017
Fox would seemingly have everything to gain, while that could possibly be a dangerous situation for Lonzo to put himself in as he tries to angle himself to land on the Lakers. He’s planning on working out exclusively for LA, not planning to give the Boston Celtics reason to consider taking him over Markelle Fultz.
Until workouts start and more chatter circulates, expect to see a lot of Lonzo-to-the-Lakers discussion. To be fair, that was the case even before the Lakers had secured the No. 2 pick, so carry on!