The Los Angeles Lakers and Lonzo Ball finally circled their date with destiny, set to meet on June 7 for a workout that can change the course of the Lakers’ franchise. It sounds like the ball is in Ball’s court, though.
Ball is the heavy favorite to be drafted by the Lakers with the No. 2 pick on June 22, but that’s sounding more and more like it isn’t a given. There’s a “growing sense” that Lonzo will have to “blow the doors off” his workout with the Lakers when they meet, or he could end up falling in the draft, according to Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders.
The Lakers are said to be very intrigued with both De’Aaron Fox out of Kentucky and Josh Jackson out of Kansas, which makes plenty of sense. LA should look at all of its options with a pivotal pick in hand after lucking out on lottery night, but it’s hard to imagine the Lakers passing on Lonzo at this point.
The other side of the reports all point to Ball being the favorite, and listening to the various quotes praising his game from Magic Johnson, Luke Walton and even Jeanie Buss lines up with the notion. They’ve also all discussed why LaVar Ball’s loud personality isn’t something that they’re worried about while evaluating their options with the No. 2 pick, which adds even more fuel to the Lonzo-to-LA fire.
Here’s what he had to say about the situation in the latest Basketball Insiders dispatch on the draft:
With reports surfacing that the LA Lakers and former UCLA guard Lonzo Ball have finalized the details of a workout and face to face meeting in LA next week, there is a growing sense that unless Lonzo absolutely blows the doors off, he may not be the Lakers’ guy.
The Lakers are weeks away from needing to make their final decision, but there are many that believe the Lakers could go after both Kansas forward Josh Jackson and Kentucky guard De’Aaron Fox (who made my Mock at 2 this week) with the second overall pick. It’s become so real that Ball’s camp, which started the process saying he’d only meet with the Lakers, have expressed a willingness to meet with the Philadelphia 76ers and possibly the Sacramento Kings depending on how things go with the Lakers. Neither are expected to get a workout out of Ball, but both may get a chance for a face to face meeting.
Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times reports that Ball is also considering meeting with the Phoenix Suns. The stance from the Ball camp has quietly gone from only meeting with the Lakers to considering the next few teams that could draft him, which may point to there being at least some doubt that he’s a shoo-in at No. 2.
It could also just be leverage from the Lakers, agents for other players or other teams, or just Ball doing the practical thing to cover his bases just in case. The Lakers will definitely take a serious look at both Fox and Jackson, which has been the case since the moment they landed the No. 2 pick. Whether that means they’ll pick either prospect over Lonzo remains to be seen.
June 7 is a big day for Lonzo and the Lakers, with the young UCLA star with the chance of a lifetime to wear the purple and gold he’s so openly campaigned for the last several months.