The ongoing NBA Lakers rumors for the NBA Draft have been focused on the Los Angeles Lakers selecting Lonzo Ball, but now there’s speculation L.A. could pass on the UCLA star. It’s now being rumored that with the second pick in this year’s NBA Draft, Los Angeles could decide to take another player such as Kansas Jayhawks star Josh Jackson. That would leave Ball available for the team a spot below the Lakers, the Philadelphia Sixers. Will this actually happen though, since Lavar Ball previously said his son would only work out for the Lakers ahead of the NBA Draft? A recent report indicates another team has a shot at selecting Ball.
According to an ESPN report from Chris Haynes on Friday, sources have now indicated that Lonzo Ball could possibly work out for the Philadelphia Sixers as well. There will be conversations between Ball’s agent Harrison Gaines and the Sixers general manager Bryan Colangelo in the coming weeks. After those discussions over the team’s identity take place, a final decision is expected to be made as far as Ball working out for the team is concerned. It was also recently reported that Boston Celtics general manager Danny Ainge went on record to say Ball turned down an invite to work out for the Celtics organization for a chance to be the No. 1 overall pick.
That would certainly be an interesting change as it appeared there was only one destination for Lonzo Ball and his outspoken father LaVar. The Ball family is established in the Chino Hills area of California and of course with UCLA following Lonzo’s freshman season. Over the past college basketball season, debates raged on as to whether or not the No. 1 pick would be Washington’s Markelle Fultz or Lonzo Ball. Most analysts believe that Boston will take Fultz at the No. 1 spot, or perhaps trade the pick to bring in an All-Star caliber player from another franchise. There had been some speculation Boston might go for Ball, but based on his disinterest in even working out for the team, that seems far-fetched.
So where would it leave the Los Angeles Lakers if they pass up a talent like Lonzo Ball? The team already has D’Angelo Russell playing the point guard role, but some analysts believe bringing Ball to the team would allow Russell to be more of a shooting guard. As Sportsrageous indicated, the Lakers can opt to draft Kansas forward Josh Jackson or even point guard De’Aaron Fox from the Kentucky Wildcats at the No. 2 spot. Fox has been praised for being a speedy guard with defensive skills, while Jackson is one of the best wing players at his size available early in the NBA Draft.
Jackson is one of the few young prospects that is already 20 years old among those considered top five picks. With a height of 6-foot-8, he has a wingspan of almost 6-foot-10. As noted by Draft Express, Jackson averaged 16.3 points, 7.4 rebounds, and three assists per game with Kansas in his freshman season before deciding to take his talents to the NBA. Fox would make for an excellent guard for many teams, as he averaged 16.7 points, four rebounds, and 4.6 assists per contest. He also had an excellent showing against Lonzo Ball and UCLA in the regular season and NCAA Tournament.
At 26-56, the Los Angeles Lakers finished with the third-worst record in the NBA and luckily had the draft lottery system work in their favor as it brought them a No. 2 pick this year. The team is clearly still far off from having a successful roster like they did during the Kobe Bryant championship seasons. However, bringing in the right young star could be just what this organization needs to regain their fans right away. It would seem that Lonzo Ball is the answer to the Lakers’ problems, so seeing them pass on this one-of-a-kind talent would be a major surprise for this year’s NBA Draft.
[Featured Image by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images]