The Los Angeles Lakers will be needing to give away their 2017 first-round pick to the Philadelphia 76ers if they fail to get a top-three pick in the upcoming draft. However, Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson assured coach Luke Walton that the Sixers won’t get their first-round pick.
“Magic has already assured me that we’re going to get our top-three pick this year so I’m excited about that,” Walton said, tongue planted firmly in cheek, during an appearance on ‘We Need to Talk’ on CBS Sports. “We don’t know who the pick is yet, but I was just happy to know we’re getting the pick. That’s good enough for me for now.”
The Lakers ended the 2016-17 NBA season with the third-worst record in the league. This gives them 47 percent chance of keeping their 2017 first-round pick. If they fall below the top-three pick, they will need to surrender the pick to the Sixers. As most people think, Walton is only joking about Johnson’s statement and no one will know what will really happen until the lottery.
2017 NBA Draft: Lonzo Ball to the Los Angeles Lakers
In the past months, the Lakers have been frequently linked to UCLA Bruins star Lonzo Ball. Most mock drafts predict Ball joining the Lakers. He also expressed his intention to play for the purple and gold, saying he would rather join the Lakers than being the No. 1 overall pick.
According to Chad Ford of ESPN (via SB Nation’s Silver Screen and Roll), the Lakers “appeared to be enamored” with Lonzo Ball. He will undeniably be a great fit with Walton’s system and could be their starting point guard next season. However, the arrival of Ball in Los Angeles may affect the role of D’Angelo Russell and Jordan Clarkson with the team.
2017 NBA Draft: Josh Jackson as “Andre Iguodala 2.0”
Despite having the third-worst record in the league, the Lakers could still lose Lonzo Ball to the Phoenix Suns. Boston emerged as the top landing spot for Markelle Fultz while Phoenix could add Ball in their loaded backcourt. If the exact scenario happens, Ford believes the Lakers may end up picking Josh Jackson as the third overall pick.
“Jackson is the best two-way player in the draft. His ability to lock down players at three positions, combined with his athleticism and playmaking abilities, have some teams comparing him to a young Andre Iguodala,” Ford writes. “Luke Walton should know exactly how to use him in the Lakers’ system.”
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