NBA

NBA Rumors: Luke Walton starts scouting top prospects Lonzo Ball and Markelle Fultz while LA Lakers continue to tank

Lonzo Ball of UCLA Bruins
PHOTOGRAPH: @z02/Instagram | Lonzo Ball of UCLA Bruins (Photo courtesy: @z02_/Instagram)

The Los Angeles Lakers remain as one of the worst teams in the NBA and are in a strong position to secure their 2017 first-round pick. Coach Luke Walton recently watched the game between the UCLA Bruins and the Washington Huskies to see 2017 NBA draft top prospects Lonzo Ball and Markelle Fultz play.

Lakers head coach Luke Walton and assistant coach Jesse Mermuys witnessed how Lonzo Ball and the Bruins defeated the Huskies. They intended to see the duel between the top point guards. Unfortunately, Walton failed to see Markelle Fultz, who missed the game due to a sore knee.

As most people think, the Lakers could be doing an early scouting of the top prospects in the 2017 NBA draft. In several mock drafts, Fultz and Ball emerged as the No. 1 and No. 2 pick, respectively. However, Walton made it clear that they attended the game as basketball fans and not as scouts.

“If I have a free night to watch basketball, I’d rather just try my best to sit there and enjoy watching the game,” Walton said. “We have a whole scouting department that’s been watching them all year. We have European scouts, all that stuff. When the time comes, we’ll take the appropriate amount of time to sit down and watch it from more of a scout’s view than from when I casually have the game on if I’m at dinner.”

Lonzo Ball impressed Lakers head coach Luke Walton

Still, coach Luke Walton gave his observation of the game. According to Mark Medina of L.A. Daily News, Walton said that Lonzo Ball was “good” after seeing him score 19 points in UCLA’s 98-66 victory over Washington. Ball was frequently linked to the Lakers, including his father’s statement that he’ll be only playing for the purple and gold.

“All I said was that my boy is going to play for the Lakers, and I’m going to speak it into existence,” LaVar Ball told ESPN on Saturday night. “I want him to be a Laker, but I wasn’t saying he’s only going to play for the Lakers. I’m not trying to say he won’t play for a different team. But I’d like him to play for the Lakers because it’s home, and I’d love him to learn from Magic [Johnson]. He’s the best guard ever to me, and nobody better for Lonzo to learn from than Magic Johnson.”

The Lakers need to land the top-3 pick in order to secure their 2017 first-round pick. As of now, they are tied with the Phoenix Suns as the second worst team in the league with a 19-42 win-loss record.

Photo courtesy: @z02_/Instagram

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