In the eyes of several
The executives, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they didn’t want to suggest there was something nefarious going on between the league and one of its more famous franchises, weren’t the least bit surprised when the Lakers secured the No. 2 overall pick during
And the consensus is that the Lakers will select former UCLA point guard Lonzo Ball with that pick on June 22.
"C'mon, man. We all knew the Lakers were not going to lose their pick," said one Eastern Conference executive whose team was not in the lottery. "It was 100% going to happen for them. Please!"
The Lakers had the third-best odds (46.9%) of getting a top-three pick. Their odds of securing the second pick were 15.7%. If the Lakers had dropped out of the top three, they would have lost the pick.
"The Lakers are in great shape," said another NBA team executive whose team was in the lottery. "They get either Markelle Fultz or they get Ball. Or the Lakers could trade that pick, but they are not going to trade it. I see Fultz going No. 1 to Boston and Ball to the Lakers. That's how the Ball family wants it."
Philadelphia, which was on course to get the Lakers' pick had it fallen out of the top three, will pick third and Phoenix, which went into the lottery with the second-best odds (55.8%) of getting a top-three pick, will go fourth.
"It's a point-guard heavy draft," another Western Conference executive said. "And you have all those small forwards. You could see maybe eight All-Stars eventually out of this group."
Fultz and Ball, both point guards, are considered the top two picks.
But point guard De’Aaron Fox, small forwards Josh
Here's a look at The Times' mock draft:
1. BOSTON: Markelle Fultz (Washington, PG, 6-4, 190) — Though the
2. LAKERS: Lonzo Ball (UCLA, PG, 6-6, 190) — Yes, LaVar Ball is garrulous, but his son can play. Lonzo can make his new teammates better because he sees the court so well and is willing to distribute the basketball. He could step in and run the point guard position for the Lakers right away.
3. PHILADELPHIA: De’Aaron Fox (Kentucky, PG, 6-3, 170) — Fox has the speed and acceleration like
4. PHOENIX: Josh Jackson (Kansas, SF, 6-8, 205) — The
5. SACRAMENTO: Malik Monk (Kentucky, SG, 6-3, 200) — Yes, the
6. ORLANDO: Jayson Tatum (Duke, SF, 6-8, 205) — The Magic need talent and this kid is skilled. Putting Tatum alongside forward Aaron Gordon would give the Magic a nice frontcourt for the future. Tatum can create his own shot and obviously comes from a top-notch program.
7. MINNESOTA: Jonathan Isaac (Florida State, SF/PF, 6-10, 210) — The
8. NEW YORK: Frank Ntilikina (France, PG, 6-5, 190) —
9. DALLAS: Dennis Smith (North Carolina State, PG, 6-2, 195) — The
10. SACRAMENTO: Harry Giles (Duke, PF, 6-10, 230) — Giles had knee surgery while at Duke and didn't have a very productive season. But he showed enough to be a lottery pick. Giles could play two positions for the Kings.
11. CHARLOTTE: Zach Collins (Gonzaga, PF/C, 6-11, 230) — Collins has shown that he can score in the post and shoot a jumper.
12. DETROIT: Lauri Markkanen (Arizona, PF/C, 7-0, 230) — Comparing him to Dallas’
13. DENVER: OG Anunoby (Indiana - SF/PF, 6-7, 235) — The
14. MIAMI: Donovan Mitchell (Louisville, PG/SG, 6-2, 210) — Mitchell is an athletic player who plays offense and defense. He's tough, making Mitchell the kind of player Heat President Pat Riley likes on his team.
15. PORTLAND: Justin Jackson (North Carolina, SF, 6-8, 200) — The
16. CHICAGO: Luke Kennard (Duke, SG, 6-6, 195) — The Bulls are in need of outside shooters. Kennard shot 43.8% from three-point range last season, averaging 19.5 points per game.
17. MILWAUKEE: Jarrett Allen (Texas, C, 6-10, 235) — The Bucks need another inside presence. Allen has a 7-foot-5 wing span, which allowed him to score in the post.
18. INDIANA: Johnathan Motley (Baylor, PF, 6-9, 240) — Motley is strong and athletic. The
19. ATLANTA: Justin Patton (Creighton, C, 6-11, 230) — He needs a lot of work, but Patton is a project worth taking with this pick. He has shown the ability to shoot with some range and pass the ball.
20. PORTLAND: Ike Anigbogu (UCLA, C, 6-10, 250) — He's a real project, but is considered to have a great upside because of his size, athleticism and defensive motor.
21. OKLAHOMA CITY: Terrance Ferguson (Australia, SG, 6-7, 185) — Born in Oklahoma, Ferguson played in Australia's National Basketball League last season. He's quick and athletic, but has to improve his skills.
22. BROOKLYN: Ivan Rabb (California, PF/C, 6-10, 220) — The
23. TORONTO: John Collins (Wake Forest, PF/C, 6-9, 225) — His offense is decent, but he's a strong rebounder.
24. UTAH: TJ Leaf (UCLA, PF, 6-10, 225) — Leaf has nice shooting range and can pass the ball. The
25. ORLANDO: D.J. Wilson (Michigan, SF/PF, 6-10, 240) — Wilson can play multiple positions. He can find some time if he plays defense like he did in college.
26. PORTLAND: Bam Adebayo (Kentucky, C, 6-10, 245) — The Trail Blazers will look to go big here. Adebayo is a good defender who needs to work on his offense.
27. BROOKLYN: Jawun Evans (Oklahoma State, PG, 6-0, 185) — He's more of a combo guard than a straight point guard.
28. LAKERS: Rodions Kurucs (Latvia, SF/SG, 6-8, 200) — The Lakers may let him stay in Europe and play. But if he comes over, Kurucs can shoot the ball.
29. SAN ANTONIO: Isaiah Hartenstein (Germany, PF/C, 7-1, 249) — His potential is his ability shoot the ball and pass it as well.
30. UTAH: Tyler Lydon (Syracuse, PF, 6-9, 223) — He'll be a "stretch 4" in the NBA because of his ability to shoot.