Going into the NBA Draft Lottery, many Los Angeles Lakers fans – as usual – seemed openly pessimistic about losing their pick. Plus, rival fans were hoping and praying that we give the pick up to the Philadelpia 76ers, thus giving them two top-five picks. However, the joke ended up being on both parties as the Lakers moved up and grabbed the second overall pick. Now begins the inevitable rumor mill where many fans are confused with smoke screesn and hidden mirrors that come during draft season.
The obvious choice for some, including me, is keeping the pick and picking the best player available who is Lonzo Ball. Though fans have come to dislike his father and his confidence that should have nothing to do with his son’s skills. But not everything is how it should be so instead of realizing his son’s potential for being another postionless player for these up and coming young guns, his game gets nit picked. Ball has all the tools you need to be successful in this era of basketball – long and athletic, 41% 3-point shooter, and unselfish.
Lonzo’s best asset is his willingness to make his teammates better. During his first year at UCLA each player that played with Ball seemed to be elevated just off of his presence on the court. Now, its not just his presence, it’s his vision and his timing with the ball. Usually point guards can have a case of headless chicken and speed up the tempo when they should slow it down but Lonzo is that rare one with an almost calm presence any time he is on the ball. With D’Angelo Russell already growing into his own, fans may wonder how both of these players can coexist.
They do not need to coexist. Instead, Ball is the perfect complement to Russell as he grows into his body and starts gaining more trust from head coach Luke Walton to have the green light. Russell and Ball are both combo guards that can, in the future, guard three positions and be able to play three positions. Not only do they bring multi-positional play, they are also great dribblers and can run an offense. Thus brings dreams of Ball bringing the ball up while Julius Randle and (insert center here) set screens for Russell or Brandon Ingram to come off and splash for three or vice versa. Randle and Ingram have the most intriguing boost if the Lakers do decide on Ball. Both players are quick on fast breaks and are naturally good cutters and nobody in this draft finds people open better than Ball. Ingram and Randle will gain more opportunities to score with just having to run as fast as they can because in the back of their mind they know Ball is waiting to deliver a peach of a pass.
Drafting Ball brings exactly what Magic Johnson and the new brain trust have been raving about since kicking Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss out. From the start they all have been calling for the Lakers to bring back fun and winning basketball and from my perspective and many Lonzo is the next step the Lakers should take on June 26th.
On the other hand fans and reporters have been clamoring about the Lakers possibly using the 2nd pick to acquire the superstar they have been wanting since Kobe Bryant retired. The name that garnishes the most attention and also relishes being linked with the Lakers is Paul George. PG-13 has made leaps and bounds since his first introduction into the limelight guarding the then MVP in Derrick Rose back in 2011. Nowadays, George is the modern day poster child of todays NBA forward with just enough star potential to trick people into thinking he can better than what he is.
Fans are stuck on two sides of the fence when it comes to George. They want him but not if its a trade that includes our now 2nd pick and one of young pieces. PG has not said out of his own mouth that he wants to come to LA but the NBA rumor mill says he has always wanted to be starring in the purple and gold. With George and the Indiana Pacers going through a rocky break up, the Lakers are left to decide on jumping the gun and trading for George or gambling and hoping the reports are true that he will come to LA. I for one am a George fan and see PG as a chip that could do wonders for us in the future as we try to rebuild with new ownership. I do not, however, agree with trading the 2nd overall pick for him because of how we will be basically giving up an arm and leg when he, if reports are true, already wants to come.
The Lakers should instead bank on letting this young group and young coach grow into something special leading to George coming to us without having to give up anymore draft picks. Though if the George situation becomes toxic and he is being shopped at the trade deadline during next season I will not be against the Lakers trying to see if they can pull a Pau Gasol to the Lakers type deal.
Besides that, I view Lonzo as the clear pick and option the Lakers should choose with all the other players available. Taking away his already famous style of playing, Lonzo has the Laker aura around him that just oozes confidence. I feel the sky is the limit if the Lakers go Ball come June 26th.
Let me know what you think in the comments or tweet me @TheFlysh