Los Angeles Lakers President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson is more than just an NBA executive. He’s also one of the best players in NBA history, so Johnson comparing a prospect to himself is no small praise.
Therefore when Johnson does offer up such a big endorsement (as he did Thursday morning), it’s worth paying attention to.
The Lakers have been projected to draft Ball since basically the second they found out they would have the second overall pick in the draft, and comments like this from Johnson will only continue to fuel that fire.
Is Ball a Magic-like prospect, though? In some ways, it’s easy to see why Johnson would say so. Both players’ mentality can fairly be described as “pass-first,” and both made huge impacts on their NCAA teams as freshman.
That may be where the comparisons end, however. Ball is used off the ball much more often than the ball-dominant Johnson ever was, which isn’t necessarily a knock on his game, more just a reality. To say a player isn’t Magic freaking Johnson is hardly an insult.
Johnson said Wednesday the Lakers were working to schedule a pre-draft workout with Ball in order for the team to look at him up close, as well as have the opportunity to interview him and get to know him as a person. It will be interesting to watch if Johnson feels the same way after that session, and that could play a large part in determining whether or not the Lakers select Ball after all.