Welcome to the Lakers Lair Three-Man Weave, a subjective Lakers-related column where our resident Laker fans answer a series of questions regarding the Purple & Gold. This edition features discussion centered around the No. 2 pick in the upcoming NBA Draft, and what the Lakers should do with it. Our participants for this column are:
1. True or False: Lonzo Ball is the one and only answer at No. 2 for the Lakers.
Cortes: False. While Lonzo should be the heavy favorite at No. 2 for the Lakers, the front-office also has to pay attention to guys such as Josh Jackson and De’Aaron Fox, as they have proven to be All-Star potential players down the road. Lonzo is leading the pack, but he isn’t the only option that can answer LA’s needs.
Soaries: False. My man Ralph just named two other highly viable options for the Lakers.
Boyer: True. I said in a recent Google Hangout session with a few other Society fellas that it seems as if it’s been “Ball or Bust” for the Lakers since day one, so let’s not disrupt what the Basketball Gods have seemed to ordained for Los Angeles. Lonzo Ball belongs in a Los Angeles Lakers uniform, so let’s make it happen.
2. Besides Lonzo Ball, what other prospects intrigue you at No. 2?
Cortes: As previously mentioned, Josh Jackson and De’Aaron Fox are the other two players that intrigue me with the No. 2 overall pick. Josh Jackson’s versatility on both ends of the floor is so tempting for a team like the Lakers, who need that balance on both ends. De’Aaron Fox’s tenacity and athleticism are also very enticing for the Lakers.
Soaries: Josh Jackson. I love his intangibles as a wing and how he’d fit with this group. As a sleeper, I wouldn’t be opposed to Jayson Tatum either. I think he’s the type who could make a strong impression in his workouts. To have another dynamic forward like Tatum developing with Julius Randle would sit well with me.
Boyer: Josh Jackson is a promising young prospect and I like the scoring prowess of Jayson Tatum, but if the Lakers were for some reason not to go with Lonzo Ball, I’d love for them to select Kentucky’s De’Aaron Fox, who I believe could possibly have the best career out of any player selected in this draft. I’m a huge fan of what Fox brings on both ends, and I think the critique’s of his jumper are stale. He shot well down the stretch of the season, and his mechanics aren’t bad at all. With more reps, he’ll become a better jump shooter, which will be another weapon to couple with his blinding speed and explosive athletic ability.
3. Do you believe the Lakers should give any consideration to trading D’Angelo Russell?
Cortes: NOT AT ALL. This is a ridiculous narrative that was started because some people thought Russell would be “useless” if Lonzo was to join the Lakers. In fact, the two are excellent fits in the Lakers backcourt. Russell has shown that he has the potential to be an All-Star down the road and you don’t just consider trading someone like that.
Soaries: Depending on the situation I think it should at least be considered. Even though a Russell/Ball backcourt pairing has interesting potential, acquiring Ball might also lead to seeing if you can make a come up by packaging Russell in a trade for other pieces. I’m not sure that I would do it, but it could be worth considering.
Boyer: No, and if they do, let be after they’ve experimented with the probable Lonzo Ball/D’Angelo Russell backcourt we’ll be seeing the Lakers trot out next season after a considerable amount of time. Russell turns 22 in February, and although his sophomore season was marked by inconsistencies and injuries, he played a strong brand of basketball towards the end of the season, showing the ability to play off-ball. This bodes well for Ball, who is a master facilitator. You package Russell’s ability to score with Ball’s distribution skills, and you’re talking about a big backcourt that can grow into something special.
4. Let’s say Lonzo Ball does indeed become a Laker, do the antics of LaVar Ball bother you at all?
Cortes: It won’t. LaVar may say some crazy things every now and then but it is nowhere near serious or extremely wrong. All LaVar is doing is trying to build a brand for his boys and be as supportive as he can. It may sound cliché but that’s what it is.
Soaries: As long as it’s not affecting Lonzo’s ability to perform, not at all. LaVar would only make the experience more entertaining, regardless of what you think of him.
Boyer: No. The off-court antics should never overshadow what goes down on the court. Obviously, if it reaches that point it becomes troublesome, but I doubt it will. Like Martin said, LaVar Ball makes the spectacle that is Los Angeles basketball more entertaining.
5. What would intrigue you most about a D’Angelo Russell/Lonzo Ball backcourt pairing?
Cortes: I love this question so much. The fact that Russell/Ball can both play on and off-ball is the most intriguing thing about this potential pairing. This allows D’Lo and Zo to play to each other’s strengths as both have excellent court vision and can hit perimeter shots. Zo would be able to get the ball to Russell and vice-versa. It is such a perfect fit and the idea of it should make Laker fans extremely excited for this potential duo.
Soaries: It’s always nice to have two playmaking guards who can score. They both have good size and good feel and can play the one or two. Having that kind of versatility is what you want in a backcourt in today’s NBA.
Boyer: Their versatility. As both Ralph and Martin eluded to, there are many things the backcourt of Ball and Russell will be capable of, and their skill sets mesh well. They can both distribute and get their own shot, whether it be from the perimeter or mid-range. Their size makes them even more dangerous, and both can be counted on to play on the ball or off of it.