The Los Angeles Lakers worked out presumptive second overall pick Lonzo Ball at their practice facility, and at least according to the man himself, it went well.
“It was a lot of fun,” Ball told Mike Trudell of Lakers.com.
Fun is nice, and Ball in a Lakers uniform would certainly be that. The UCLA freshman phenom literally ran his way towards the top of the draft, directing fastbreaks like a composer that already had the symphony memorized. Ball says his particular set of skills are perfect for his hometown Lakers.
“They’re young, I’m young, they like to run, I like to run,” Ball told Trudell.
But the Lakers will need more than fun and speed, and Ball said he can bring some substance in addition to his game’s prodigious sizzle.
"They need a leader and a point guard. I can fill that (role),” Ball told Bob Garcia of Sports Out West.
The Lakers also ranked last in the NBA in defensive efficiency last season, another area Ball feels he can aid his hometown team:
Lonzo said he would do fine defensively in the NBA. "I can guard the 1, 2 or 3 (positions)," he said.— Mike Bresnahan (@Mike_Bresnahan) June 7, 2017
If he can really do all of those things, it’s no wonder Ball is so highly touted as a prospect. It would certainly make him the best option for the Lakers, an assessment he agrees with.
Lonzo Ball on if he thinks he is the best player in the draft: "Yes I think I am." #Lakers— Bob Garcia IV (@bgarcia90) June 7, 2017
It’s been clear since his family celebrated the news of the Lakers getting the No. 2 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft that ending up in Los Angeles is indeed Ball’s goal, but he also made it clear to reporters that if it doesn’t happen, he’ll be okay.
Lonzo Ball said he wants to play for the Lakers, but he's prepared for whatever happens— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) June 7, 2017
Despite repeated statements from the team to the contrary, one of the reasons people have speculated that the Lakers could pass on Ball is because of his outspoken father. After dinner with the team the night before and a workout with them, Ball said they told him his dad isn’t a problem.
Lonzo said there was brief discussion with Lakers execs Tuesday about his father. "They said they love him. That's about it."— Mike Bresnahan (@Mike_Bresnahan) June 7, 2017
If that’s really true, then there really doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of reason for the Lakers to pass on Ball, who is pretty much the consensus second-best player in the draft behind Markelle Fultz in the eyes of most observers. So even though Ball says he’ll be okay with being drafted by any team, it seems there is still just one he really wants to go to.
Ball asked if the Lakers is where he wants to be: “Of course.”— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) June 7, 2017
We’ll know if the Lakers feel the same on June 22.
Harrison Faigen is co-host of the Locked on Lakers podcast (subscribe here, and listen to our latest episode with quick reactions to Ball’s workout below), and you can follow him on Twitter at @hmfaigen.