When the Lakers drew the No. 2 pick in the lottery, we all thought using that pick on point guard Lonzo Ball was inevitable. While Ball still appears to be the favorite to land in Los Angeles, some of his peers have reportedly performed better at their Lakers workouts.
One thing is for sure, though — the Lakers seem set on drafting a point guard.
The Lakers worked out NC State product Dennis Smith Jr. on Sunday, and Smith left quite a good impression. According to Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog, the Lakers came away “very impressed” with Smith, who averaged 18.1 points, 6.2 assists and 4.6 rebounds in his lone college season.
The Lakers are also “hopeful” likely No. 1 pick Markelle Fultz will make the trip to L.A. this week. They already watched former Kentucky star De’Aaron Fox — the most obvious option should they pass on Ball — and they’ll work him out on Tuesday. While Fox didn’t receive as much national fame as Ball during the college basketball season, he outplayed Ball (by a lot) in two regular season meetings, including Kentucky’s win over UCLA in the Sweet 16.
Meanwhile, Ball’s workout in L.A. came and went without much fanfare, aside from the revelation that he couldn’t wear his own Big Baller Brand signature shoes because they aren’t ready yet. According to Mark Medina of the OC Register, the Lakers are legitimately worried about his level of conditioning. Ball admitted to media that the drills tired him out, but I wouldn’t read too much into that considering it was, you know, a workout.
The Lakers still like Lonzo as a playmaker and leader, which means for once his father, LaVar Ball, isn’t spewing total crap out of his mouth. Here were the Lakers takeaways, from the OC Register:
Many qualities have made the Lakers impressed with Ball, including his leadership potential, passing and scoring. They are not impressed, however, with his level of conditioning. Some observers of Ball’s workout last Wednesday thought he came in out of shape. Ball acknowledged that the “drills get you tired, so you got to stay focused.”
The Lakers have a big decision to make, one that could potentially make or break their current rebuild. They’ve a little more than a week left to figure it out.