How Far Would Lonzo Ball Fall in a Do-Over of the 2017 NBA Draft?

How Far Would Lonzo Ball Fall in a Do-Over of the 2017 NBA Draft?


How Far Would Lonzo Ball Fall in a Do-Over of the 2017 NBA Draft?

When Magic Johnson and the Los Angeles Lakers selected Lonzo Ball with the second pick in the draft, it felt like a no-brainer.

While it is still early, Lozo has looked mediocre, has been hurt, and the Lakers have seemed to find something in playing Brandon Ingram at point guard. And maybe, even more derailing, his dad will not shut up.

Just this past week, LaVar Ball revealed a half-baked plan, saying if the Lakers do not bring in all three of his sons, Lonzo will be gone.

This has been the same annoying, childish, irrational LaVar that has been a nuisance to the Lakers since they drafted his son. His latest blunder led many in the media (even this site) to suggest the Lakers should trade Lonzo before it is too late. But the real question is, in a hypothetical re-draft would the Lakers still take him? If not, how far would he fall?

Some things to consider:

  • The sole purpose of this re-draft is to see where Lonzo Ball would be selected;
  • This re-draft is based on if the teams were drafting with the 2017 NBA Draft class today;
  • It is factoring in all trades, signings, rumors, and injuries that have occurred up to this point;
  • The draft order is based on the final order, not what the teams were awarded pre-draft (meaning PHI drafts first, BOS third). 
  • In this draft, teams CANNOT trade out of their pick. 

1. 76ers: Donovan Mitchell (original: Markelle Fultz)

Two things here are clear for the 76ers: 1. They would not re-draft Markelle Fultz. 2. They wouldn’t take Lonzo either.

And maybe just as obvious, they would have selected Donovan Mitchell. The new front-runner for Rookie of the Year looks like a future superstar. He may just get a very average Utah Jazz team to the playoffs in the West, so imagine what he would do with the 76ers in the East! The 76ers appear to have a dynamic duo for the ages with Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid, but they could have had a lethal Big 3.

2. Lakers: Jayson Tatum (original: Lonzo Ball)

Well, we are already here, and the answer is no, the Lakers in hindsight would not have chosen Lonzo for the reasons above. But who they would have taken is a much more complicated question. At the moment, the answer appears to be Jayson Tatum. With the second largest upside in this class (behind Mitchell), Tatum has shown flashes of just what he could be (27 points against Atlanta). Tatum also checks off most of the boxes, even though he hit the rookie wall pretty hard. The one issue here is that if Lakers are seriously going to go after LeBron James AND Paul George this summer, they probably cannot play Tatum and Ingram along with the two; however, they can deal with that “issue” at the appropriate time.

3. Celtics: Josh Jackson (original Jayson Tatum)

The Boston Celtics would have a fit issue for most picks in this situation. Factoring in at this point, they traded for Kyrie Irving, signedGordon Hayward, Hayward’s injury, and with winning in the East being a realistic possibility, Boston has to be careful. This essentially stops them from selecting a PG, or a long-term project. It probably prevents them from drafting players like Kyle Kuzma or Lauri Markkanen knowing they would have Hayward and Al Horford – still being a vital piece – starting going forward. Therefore, the pick is Josh Jackson. Jackson is quietly having a solid rookie year, especially this month averaging 17.4 PPG. Celtics fans may not love the pick, but it is the best choice factoring in both the short-term and the long-term.

4. Suns: Lonzo Ball (Josh Jackson)

We have a suitor. Now let’s be real here, there is much more that goes into drafting players than just basketball reasons. And one of them at the top is a player’s box office draw. Lonzo has missed a month of play and has been talked about more than the rest of this class combined. Yes, this is a problem for the Lakers. Who would it not be an issue for? The Phoenix Suns. The Suns have become so bad, they are nearly unwatchable and have been in the bottom half of attendance for years. They were given 13 nationally televised games this season. If they had Lonzo on their squad, it would exceed 20. As for basketball reasons, it is really not that bad of a fit. Lonzo is a pass-first PG (who would start over Elfrid Payton, set to become an RFA) would actually give Phoenix a very formidable backcourt with the shoot-first Devin Booker. Oh, they were even willing to trade up for him this past summer.  Again, let’s be real, Lonzo Ball is not getting past the Suns. Even LaVar’s tactics will not scare them off from bringing BBB to the desert.


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