Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson will be the man making the Lakers selection, and should the team select Ball with the No. 2 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft June 22, the UCLA product is excited to follow in Johnson’s footsteps.
“My dad loved him and loved the way the Lakers played,” Ball told Mike Trudell of Lakers.com. “I kind of patterned my game after that. Magic Johnson is one of the greatest players to ever play … he’s the best point guard to ever play, so I can learn a lot of things from him.”
Ball and Johnson are far from similar players. Johnson was a maestro of both the fastbreak and the halfcourt, pounding the ball away until he could set up a teammate for an easy basket. Ball is an expert outlet passer, but is also more of an off-ball weapon than Johnson ever focused on being, and probably already a better shooter.
Still, both players were more of facilitators than scorers, and both wanted to lead their franchises from day one. Johnson was able to do so, winning a title alongside Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in his first season. Ball following in his footsteps seems doubtful, but he does appear set to be a difference-maker from day one. Just not to the level Magic was.
The Lakers still have plenty of workouts to do, but as of right now Ball still appears to be the favorite to eventually get the nod, and him being excited to work under Johnson is exactly the type of thing the Lakers were probably hoping would be one of the benefits of bringing their former star back to run the franchise’s basketball operations.
Here is an updating list of every player the Lakers have worked out or met with. Harrison Faigen is co-host of the Locked on Lakers podcast (subscribe here and listen to our instant reaction to the Lonzo Ball workout below), and you can follow him on Twitter at @hmfaigen.