After a nerve-wracking night, the Los Angeles Lakers have plenty to be thankful for as the franchise was awarded the second overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. The team came in with the third-worst regular season record but actually managed to move up one spot in the lottery. Armed with another high pick to draft an impact player, the Lakers are in a good position heading into the 2017-18 NBA season.
While the Boston Celtics, who won the lottery, are widely expected to select Markelle Fultz, the Lakers are also expected to take Lonzo Ball. Ball, who led UCLA to a Sweet Sixteen berth in the NCAA Tournament, has publicly said he would rather play in Los Angeles instead of being the first overall pick. According to Ryan Ward of Lakers Nation, LaVar Ball is doing everything in his power to make sure his son does not leave Southern California:
“That’s all we working out for is the Lakers,” said LaVar. “Just the Lakers. There’s nobody else that we need to work out for.”
Known for his outspoken personality, Ball’s father also guaranteed the team’s recent misfortunes would change:
“The Lakers make the playoffs as soon as my boy gets there.”
Ball’s father may be a headache to deal with in the media, but there is no denying his son’s talent on the court. Ball’s passing and feel for the game are advanced for a player his age and he would provide head coach Luke Walton with a secondary playmaker to ease the burden on D’Angelo Russell. His ability to shoot from NBA three-point range would also open up the floor for the rest of the team.
Grabbing the No. 2 selection with Lonzo potentially on the board feels like fate for the Lakers and President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson. After years of toiling in the Western Conference’s basement, Johnson will have the opportunity to draft a player who can bring “Showtime” back to Los Angeles.