Basically every thought about the Los Angeles Lakers and the 2017 NBA Draft for the past month or so has had to be prefaced with the fact that most expect the team to take Lonzo Ball second overall Thursday.
But while Ball is still the expectation, the Lakers are still investigating that they’re making the right decision right down until the deadline, considering their other options at No. 2.
If the Lakers were to pass on Ball, one of the players they’d most likely be taking instead would be Josh Jackson, Kansas’ own one-and-done phenom.
Jackson — the third-ranked prospect in the 2017 class, according to DraftExpress — seemed to be gaining steam to be the Lakers’ selection for a while, but a second workout for the team that reportedly went badly could have killed his momentum.
The Lakers are still sniffing around, however, according to Bill Oram of the Orange County Register (emphasis mine):
As recently as Tuesday, team executives were on the phone with Kansas coach Bill Self, seeking more information on Josh Jackson, whose college coaches utilized the 6-foot-8 forward “like a queen on a chess board and (moved) him all over the place,” according to Jayawks assistant Kurtis Townsend.
Does that mean Jackson is a lock to be taken by the Lakers? Of course not. What it does mean is that the Lakers, no matter how many people are just assuming they’re going to go with the Big Baller Brand, are still doing their due diligence on other options.
It would still be a shock if the Lakers didn’t go with Ball, but they still might go with Jackson if they decide he’s for real.