Lonzo Ball to the Sixers?
What seemed like a long shot now could be a realistic possibility after The Huffington Post's Jordan Schultz reported Saturday that the Lakers are not sold on the UCLA product as the No. 2 pick overall in the June 22 draft.
That is more than noteworthy for the Sixers, who pick right after at No. 3. If Magic Johnson and the Lakers pass on Ball, how do the Sixers react?
"That's a tricky one because all of a sudden you're starting to think, well, Lonzo Ball at three - it would be very hard to pass on him at three especially considering that he would make a lot of sense for Philly," Schultz said Monday on 97.5 The Fanatic's Midday Show. "Honestly, he makes a lot of sense for a lot of teams - he's a really good player. I don't know how they could pass on Lonzo Ball at three if that ultimately plays out the way I think it will."
Schultz's report stated that the Lakers don't believe Ball is a star and have concerns about his outspoken father, LaVar. However, Johnson told ESPN in May that LaVar would have "no effect at all" on the Lakers' evaluation of Ball.
"I think what you're drafting is the son and not the father," Johnson said at the time.
Which makes you believe this latest report could be a possible pre-draft ploy by the Lakers, who will reportedly work out Ball on Wednesday.
"With Magic, you have to consider that he's going to look at all of his options," Schultz said Monday on CSN's Philly Sports Talk. "I've known Magic a long time, he will exhaust every possible option until they figure it out."
In his radio interview, Schultz expanded on why this very well could be more than just smoke at a time when draft posturing heats up.
"It's very hard to really know exactly what's going on within a team's front office, especially when you're two weeks out, there are potential trades on the table, you really don't know exactly how it's going to shake out," Schultz said. "But I'm very confident this is accurate, extremely confident.
"As of right now, this is definitely what's going on. Josh Jackson at No. 2 makes a whole lot of sense when you think about the versatility that he could give them alongside Brandon Ingram.
"I think if the draft was today, it would be Josh Jackson [at No. 2]."
Which would leave the Sixers with a decision to make on Ball. But they'll have options.
"A guy like [Jayson] Tatum would make sense, I think De'Aaron Fox would make a whole lot of sense because they do need a point guard," Schultz said.
"But if Lonzo Ball falls to three the way I think it ultimately plays out, it will be very hard for them to look at him and say, 'We don't want him on this squad long term.'
"When you start to think about Lonzo Ball's weaknesses, that doesn't play well into what the Lakers want to do. He's not a good pick-and-roll point guard, the jump shot is a concern. And he's a traditional point guard, which is great in the sense that he's got great size, he's a pass-first guy, but the NBA has transitioned more and more away from that, and I think that's a concern as well."