LOS ANGELES—The Lakers are going with Lonzo. The Los Angeles Lakers will finally reveal the worst kept secret in Hollywood, when the Purple and Gold make it official by selecting Lonzo Ball No. 2 overall in the 2017 NBA Draft. The NBA Draft is Thursday, June 22, it will air on ESPN begining at 4:00 p.m.
Unfortunately, the Lakers 2015 No.2 pick D’Angelo Russell has been traded to the Brooklyn Nets, along with Timofey Mosgov for Center Brook Lopez and the 27th and 28th pick. The Lakers cleverly wiped away Mosgov’s remaining three years, saving a whopping $48 million.
Russell was being groomed to lead the Lakers in the wake of Kobe Bryant’ s retirement. It was clear from the onset D’Angelo Russell wasn’t a natural born leader, both on and off the court.
His rookie campaign was overshadowed by one controversy after another. He fought with Head Coach Byron Scott, resulting in the young star being benched. Than he went and broke the bro code by recording a tape of teammate Nick Young boasting about sleeping with other women, despite the fact he was engaged to pop star Iggy Azelea.
Magic Johnson deserves a lionshare of the credit, the 5X champion is cleaning house, and this is only the beginning. He has his sights on acquiring Indiana Pacers all-star, Paul George. The Lakers are the only NBA team with three picks in the first round. Obviously, No. 2 is going to be Lonzo Ball, it was practically written in the stars. However, No. 27 and 28 was a gift from God.
The Lakers are now looking to trade the No. 27 and No. 28 picks in the 2017 NBA draft along with either Julius Randle or Jordan Clarkson in exchange for George. Lopez is a solid big man, who is able to adapt to Luke Walton’ s fast paced attack. In 2018, we make the push for the big enchilada, LeBron James.
Ball is a traditional Point Guard, which means he is looking to facilitate and pass first. Whereas, Russell was more of a shooting guard, not saying he won’t be a star. At this point, the franchise needs a REAL Point Guard.
In defense D’Angelo, was never given the keys to the team. Constantly being irked and harshly criticized by Byron Scott, challenged by Kobe and unfairly judged by a fan base with unrealistic expectations that never truly embraced him.
This year, he battled foot injuries limiting him to 63 games. Yet, he showed signs of growth, averaging 15 points a game, and erupting for a 40-point breakout performance against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Russell figures to have more space and time to evolve under head coach Kenny Atkinson since he’s no longer being shuffled around a crowded Lakers backcourt.
This NBA off-season is off to dizzying opening, moves don’t typically occur until July 1, the opening of Free Agency. With the Golden State Warriors trouncing all NBA competition, the Lakers are rebooting to become a title contender in the near future!