The Los Angeles Lakers are closing in on the NBA Draft, less than 20 days away from selecting the next lottery talent to join their young core. Lonzo Ball certainly still feels like the favorite — even Pat Riley seems to think so — but De’Aaron Fox and Josh Jackson remain as the two players that can influence the Lakers to go a different direction on June 22.
Ball to the Lakers has felt like a done deal for quite some time, seemingly becoming destiny in the span of a few months. Lonzo’s gone on and on about how much he’d love to represent his “hometown” Lakers, while LaVar Ball has made it clear that’s what he envisions in the future of his Big Baller branded son for quite some time.
LA, though, may not be so keen on the perception this has all created. That might be one of the reasons rumors are sprouting out that the Lakers aren’t 100 percent sold on drafting Lonzo, according to Chad Ford’s latest ESPN mock draft.
Here’s what Ford had to say about the Lakers, Ball and the No. 2 pick (via ESPN):
The Lakers are going out of their way to stifle talk that Ball to LA is a done deal. Partially it’s about controlling the narrative and their draft destiny, but it’s also around some genuine disagreements in the front office about who’s the best pick for the Lakers’ future.
De’Aaron Fox and Josh Jackson have a real shot at going No. 2. Ball is the favorite, but he’s far from a lock.
There’s no doubt that Fox and Jackson are in the mix, as has been reported since the team secured the No. 2 pick on lottery night. The Lakers haven’t lined up a chance to meet with Jackson, but LA is set to work Lonzo out on Wednesday, June 7 and Fox at some point next week.
Expect to hear a great deal coming out of Lonzo’s workout, which could help everyone get a better feel for what the Lakers are thinking depending on what kind of quotes come out of the big day.
As for the fate of the No. 28 pick, Ford has DJ Wilson out of Michigan with the late first-rounder. WIlson has potential to be a stretch-4, able to space the floor (37% on 2.9 3PA per game) while also playing above the rim to board and dunk. DJ spent three years at Michigan but only started to look like an NBA prospect as a Junior.
Here’s a nice montage of his game for those curious:
The only thing that seems certain are more rumors and conflicting reports on what the Lakers are doing with the No. 2 pick with the NBA Draft weeks away. Ford seems to point to the Lakers trying to scramble the perception that they’re already all-in on Lonzo, but there’s simply too much noise to know who’s holding the wheel of the narrative surrounding the No. 2 pick at this point.