Lonzo Ball’s workout for the Los Angeles Lakers went about as expected. The team’s brass was also reassured that he was a humble kid, completely different from his loquacious father LaVar Ball. But according to Kevin Ding, Ball didn’t solidify himself as the guy for the Lakers at No. 2.
If the Lakers do pass on the Ball with the second pick, they do have other options. Here’s a look at what they could choose to do.
Trade down and accumulate assets
Naturally someone is going to have a favorite player in this draft who will still be on the board at No. 2. With Markelle Fultz all but guaranteed to be the first pick, there are still some great options out there.
The Lakers could send the second pick to a team in the top seven that wanted to move up for one of the elite guys in this draft. In the process, Los Angeles could demand that team’s pick, plus it’s 2018 first-rounder and more. Thanks to this being a deep draft, the Lakers would still likely end up with a good player in the top seven, while also adding a pick next year when they won’t have their own.
Obviously more would have to be added on both sides of any equation in order to make a deal work, but it’s an option worth considering if the Lakers aren’t sold on anyone at No. 2.
Select Josh Jackson
Josh Jackson might have the highest ceiling in this draft. He’s an unbelievable two-way player who can defend four positions and has plenty of offensive upside. If Jackson can prove his jumper has caught up to the rest of his game, he’ll be a star.
The Kansas freshman is a relentless attacker who has plenty of swagger and consistently improved during his freshman year. While the Lakers already have Brandon Ingram as a developmental wing prospect, they aren’t going to be swayed by having too many guys playing the same spot. They are in full-on asset acquisition mode and eventually want to play “positionless” basketball anyway. Ingram and Jackson paired together would give Los Angeles the best young wing combination in basketball.
Trade No. 2 pick for a veteran
I’m not a fan of this scenario but the team certainly needs to considering it. If the Lakers could swap the No. 2 pick, one of its youngsters and a bad contract for someone like Paul George or Jimmy Butler, would they do it? I’m not sure, but it’s worth discussing.
George is headed for free agency next summer anyway, and while adding him won’t transform the Lakers into a contender, it would give the franchise a star to build around. Butler falls into the same category, he’s not taking the Lakers to a championship any time soon but would give them a recognizable star.
Select De’Aaron Fox
If the Lakers want to add another point guard and move D'Angelo Russell off the ball, De'Aaron Fox could fit that mold. While he has a lot to work on when it comes to his offensive skill set, Fox is a phenomenal defender, has unbelievable quickness and possesses top-level athleticism.
At Kentucky Fox destroyed Ball in the NCAA Tournament, pouring in 39 points. His ball handling needs work, as does his jump shot, which is currently a mess. Fox is basically a lump of clay with a ton of upside who already plays great defense. His potential is high enough that taking him at No. 2 could certainly be justified.