While many expect the Los Angeles Lakers to select Lonzo Ball in the 2017 NBA Draft, top prospect Josh Jackson is gaining serious momentum.
Yesterday, John Gambadoro (who broke the news the Suns would trade Steve Nash to Los Angeles) tweeted Jackson was “promised” either the Lakers or the 76ers would select him at No. 2 or No. 3 overall. He then canceled his workout with the Celtics, who have the No. 1 pick in the draft.
He is believed to be the only prospect Los Angeles will bring in for multiple looks.
Jackson previously worked out with the Lakers in Sacramento last week, though the second meeting will be at the team facility in El Segundo. It’s possible some within the organization were not at the workout in Northern California and wanted to see him in Los Angeles.
Still, NBA draft expert Chad Ford recently explained why Jackson could make more sense than Ball (via ESPN):
Jackson has always been another favorite in the organization. While the feeling is that Ball is a good fit with the Lakers offensively, Fox and Jackson are gritty defenders and vocal leaders on the court, something the Lakers feel the team is lacking. Jackson in particular seems to have some strong supporters in the organization who think defense should be the priority.
If the team is valuing defense, Jackson is considered the best two-way player available.
While Jackson likely has not been promised anything by Los Angeles, if he continues to impress at workouts it will improve his stock to become the second pick in the draft. This doesn’t mean the Lakers won’t select Ball, but they want to be sure they have seen all of the other options before deciding on him.
Jackson would join Tarik Black and Thomas Robinson as the third player on the Lakers roster who played collegiately for the Kansas Jayhawks.