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Lakers Draft Rumors: Lakers prefer Lonzo Ball over Markelle Fultz, even if both available

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Even if the consensus top pick was available, the Lakers may have passed on him.

NCAA Basketball: UCLA at Washington Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

With the 2017 NBA Draft just a few short days away, things are becoming clear for the Los Angeles Lakers. The team holds the No. 2 overall pick for the third straight year and they have certainly done their due diligence this time around, digging deep into prospects all around the draft board, especially targets at the top.

There has been endless chatter about the select few prospects the Lakers have considered with the second pick, but it appears they are all but locked in on their decision. According to Bleacher Report’s Kevin Ding, the team is closing in on a final decision to draft UCLA freshman standout Lonzo Ball, though some final planning needs to be done in the final days before the draft.

The news is certainly not overly surprising, but Ding also notes that Ball spent quality time with Lakers president Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka in their second meeting on Friday, leading the team to lean towards drafting Ball over consensus top pick Markelle Fultz, even if the latter was available.

There were reports last week that the Lakers were enamored with Fultz after his workout with the team and were considering trading up to No. 1 in order to select him. Perhaps they had a change of heart or simply just moved on when the Philadelphia 76ers moved up to grab the top pick, but the Lakers appear set on selecting Ball with the No. 2 pick on Thursday night.