For about as long as a top-three pick has been a topic of conversation among the Los Angeles Lakers’ fan base, Lonzo Ball has felt like the inevitable choice. Thanks to Bleacher Report’s Kevin Ding, fans can rest assured they haven’t made the decision well before they have to.
Per Ding, the Lakers have four players targeted with their top three pick — should they keep it of course. Those players: Ball, Markelle Fultz of Washington, Josh Jackson of Kansas and Kentucky’s De’Aaron Fox.
We’ve heard a ton about Ball. LaVar has made sure of that.
Fultz has been the consensus number one pick for some time now. That could obviously change throughout the draft process, but he’s starting with a bit of a gap between him and whoever is seen as the second-best prospect.
Jackson won the Big 12 Freshman of The Year and would give the Lakers options on the wing if Luol Deng continues to fail to live up to his contract and Brandon Ingram doesn’t pan out — or if the Indiana Pacers ask for a wing back in a Paul George trade.
Fox, also a freshman, is an athletic point guard who showed his potential when it mattered most, in the NCAA Tournament. One can’t help but think Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka being there to witness Fox shredding UCLA for 39 points (mostly guarded by Ball) has something to do with their interest at this point.
Ding does report that Johnson, Pelinka and Luke Walton plan on attending the draft combine this week, so it’s altogether likely their preferences at the top of the draft could change. Both Fultz and Fox will be there, while Ball and Jackson opted not to.
All this is moot, obviously, if the Lakers don’t keep their pick, which they’ll find out about exactly one week from today (Tuesday). It is good to hear that the Lakers haven’t made their decision before they have to, regardless of how good a story Ball might be.