Many NBA fans assume the Lakers will select UCLA point guard Lonzo Ball with the second overall pick. From the gecko, Lonzo Ball’s camp made it clear that they wanted Lonzo to play for the Lakers. The night the Lakers were revealed to have the second pick, Lonzo and his team (his father and brothers) were shown pumping their fists, as if they had just been drafted. Although many have slotted Lonzo in as the number two overall pick, there are an abundance of reasons the Lakers should pass on Ball in favor of Jayson Tatum, Malik Monk, De’Aaron Fox, or Josh Jackson.
Three Reasons Why
- The Point Guard Of The Future Is Already On The Roster
Two years ago the Lakers drafted their point guard of the future in D’Angelo Russell, and although he hasn’t made the jump to an elite point guard, he has shown an abundance of promise. He improved in all aspects of his game from his rookie season to his sophomore season. Russell’s production, effectiveness, and overall efficacy all improved last season. He also matured greatly. NBA fans everywhere know about the infamous scandal involving him filming Nick Young admitting to cheating on his girlfriend, but Russell showed a wealth of growth this season. Lakers’ coach Luke Walton has publicly backed Russell regarding his recent maturity.
Russell is still incredibly young. He’s only 21 years old and still is incredibly raw. He’s shown that he has star upside —– just re-watch the March 17th game against the Cavaliers from this past season. In that game Russell scored a career high 41 points and converted 7 of his 12 three point attempts.
- The Lakers’ Greatest Off-Season Need Is A Wing Player, Not A Point Guard
Although Lonzo Ball is a terrific prospect and could very well end up being a superstar in this league, the Lakers’ biggest need is a three or a stretch four. As I previously noted, the future point guard is already on the roster in D’Angelo Russell.
Taking a look at their forwards you’ll see the team is in desperate need of talent at both the three and four. Currently the team’s forwards are Luol Deng, Corey Brewer, Tarik Black, Larry Nance JR., Thomas Robinson, Metta World Peace, Brandon Ingram, and Julius Randle. Outside of Randle and Ingram, there is almost no upside at those positions. Given the options available to the Lakers at pick number two, the team would be foolish to not consider one of them in favor of Ball.
If deciding to still pick a point guard, Fox should be the only golden option. Besides that, Jayson Tatum or Josh Jackson would make the most sense if they passed on Ball. Tatum is more NBA ready, but Jackson has a higher ceiling. Tatum is arguably the better scorer and defender right now, but Jackson showed at times to be capable of taking over a game. Jackson is the better athlete and is arguably a better fit for this Lakers team and what coach Luke Walton wants to do.
Say the Lakers do draft Ball. Does it really improve the team from a fit standpoint? The players on the roster are already scorers and players who can create for themselves, but not on star level. Focusing on a solid scorer and surrounding him with someone from the free agent market like Paul George would make more sense. Ball can obviously help those players create some more shots at a faster pace, but just does not seem to fit as well as others would in the golden city of angels.