Will the Los Angeles Lakers select Lonzo Ball Second Overall?

by Taylor Smith
on June 13, 2017

Since the NBA Draft Lottery gods smiled down upon Magic Johnson and the Los Angeles Lakers last month, every indication has been that the team will happily select UCLA point guard Lonzo Ball No. 2 overall. The draft itself is still a couple of weeks away, though, and the Lakers are doing their due diligence by scouting a number of prospects.

Ball is still the presumptive favorite to be taken second overall, but there have been recent whispers regarding the Lakers potential interest in going in another direction. Ball reportedly showed up to a workout with the Lakers , which apparently didn’t sit too well with the team’s brass.

Betonline has a number of draft props posted, one of which involves Ball’s chances of winding up in the Purple & Gold.

Team To Draft Lonzo Ball

  • Los Angeles Lakers -300
  • Field (any other team) +240

Let’s break this thing down. The Boston Celtics own the No. 1 pick in the draft, and all indications are that they will go ahead and grab Washington standout guard Markelle Fultz. Fultz is listed as the heavy favorite by Betonline (-1000), and at this point we have no reason to believe Boston will either take a different player or trade the pick. So, Ball figures to be available once the Lakers’ turn comes up.

Bringing Ball into the fold certainly makes plenty of sense for the Lakers, but they definitely aren’t lacking options at No. 2, either. They shouldn’t pigeonhole themselves just because that’s apparently what fans want them to do. Dennis Smith Jr., Josh Jackson and De’Aaron Fox would seem to be other players that could tempt the Lakers to pass on UCLA’s star man.

Josh Jackson over Lonzo Ball?

News came out on Monday that Jackson from a team, but there’s no telling which team that is, if true. on Tuesday that Jackson canceled a workout with the Celtics. That doesn’t confirm that the Celtics have already committed to Fultz, but it also tells us that Boston isn’t the team that allegedly gave Jackson a promise.

It’s also worth noting that the Lakers are the only team drafting in the top-four that has invited Jackson to work out. If he hasn’t talked to the Celtics, Philadelphia 76ers or Phoenix Suns, does that indicate that it was the Lakers that promised to take him second overall?

The notion that any team has promised anything at this point seems a tad farfetched, too. Teams are still gathering information about lots of the prospects in the draft, and one would imagine the Lakers wouldn’t unnecessarily tie themselves to Josh Jackson with the draft still a couple of weeks away. In all likelihood, the “promise” story is just a rumor.

The Lakers likely couldn’t go wrong by taking either Ball or Jackson. They’re a team that needs all the talent it can get at this point, and both players bring something to the table the Lakers need. Still, it’s also worth noting that the Lakers would have literally nothing to gain by leaking anything truthful at this stage. Teams are likely putting as much noise and as many smokescreens out there as they possibly can. Why tell anyone what you plan on doing ahead of time? Especially in the competitive draft setting? It doesn’t make sense.

The Jackson rumors would seem to be a . The Lakers and the entire Ball family have been doing a dance with each other for months now, and their eventual union still feels inevitable. If the Lakers are truly seriously considering other candidates, it probably has quite a bit to do with Lonzo Ball’s bombastic, loquacious and over-the-top father, LaVar. Nabbing another player at No. 2 certainly liberates them from the potential headache that comes with dealing with that sideshow clown, to be sure.

Ball Will Go No. 2

While it would add tons of drama to the draft, we aren’t buying the Lakers passing on Lonzo Ball here. He’s still a heavy favorite here at -300. While we’d like to say otherwise and offer you a value bet on the field, it just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Sure, Ball coming to the workout out-of-shape is a bad look, but it’s hard to imagine conditioning being a real issue for him moving forward. He’s not exactly built like Big Baby Davis. Once the season rolls around, Ball will be physically ready.

The only reason the Lakers would pass on Ball would be if the Celtics somehow passed on taking Fultz first overall. We’ve heard nothing regarding Boston’s potential interest in any other player, but we’ve seen shocking things happen at the top of the draft in the past (remember Anthony Bennett?). Ainge has hardly been predictable when it comes to drafting, either. Boston is plenty capable of throwing the entire league a curveball in this spot.

If Fultz is available at No. 2, you would think Ball (assuming he doesn’t go No. 1) would fall by the wayside for L.A. Fultz is generally thought to be more of a finished product with higher upside at this point. So, Fultz’s unexpected availability would clearly make LA think twice about jumping on Lonzo Ball. Betonline listed Ball at +700 to go to Boston at No. 1, which puts him with the distant second-best odds behind Fultz.

Still, the likelihood of Boston declining to add Fultz looks incredibly slim at this point, so the smart money remains on Ball to the Lakers.

The real drama with the draft will truly start when the 76ers are on the clock at No. 3 overall. The field at +240 for the No. 2 pick is intriguing, but Ball isn’t getting past the Los Angeles Lakers.

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