With the no. 2 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, the Los Angeles Lakers finally selected Lonzo Ball from the University of California at Los Angeles.
The pick hardly came as a surprise as the local kid from Chino Hills had been projected to go no. 2 even before the Lakers landed the second pick in the NBA Draft Lottery. Once LA had the no. 2 pick, the Ball family celebrated the inevitable move to the Lakers as destiny.
After meeting with the Lakers twice and notably not publicly meeting with other teams, Ball’s gamble appeared to pay off when he heard his name called by NBA commissioner Adam Silver at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn New York on Thursday night.
One notable reason why the Lakers' pick did not come as a shock is because the team reportedly agreed to trade away D'Angelo Russell, who plays the same position as Ball, to the Brooklyn Nets a couple days ahead of Thursday’s draft.
Rob Pelinka and Magic Johnson talking with Jeanie Buss right now. #Lakers #NBADraft pic.twitter.com/veS6CWUFTm— Shahan Ahmed (@shahanLA) June 22, 2017
Ball was a consensus First Team All-American, Pac-12 Player of hte Year and All-Freshman Team member in his lone season at UCLA. The 19-year-old started all 36 games during the 2016-17 season in Westwood and averaged 14.6 points, 7.6 assists, 6.0 rebounds and 1.8 steals in 35.1 minutes per game. His 274 assists were a UCLA record and the second most assists in a single-season in Pac-12 history.
The Lakers also held the no. 28 pick in the draft, and the aforementioned trade with Brooklyn yielded the no. 27 pick. Via Brooklyn, LA drafted power forward Kyle Kuzma with the no. 27 pick, who was a junior at Utah.
LA then went on to trade the no. 28 pick to Utah for the rights to the no. 30 and no. 42 picks. With the no. 30 pick, LA picked senior Josh Hart out of Villanova. Hart is a 6-foot, 5-inch guard that can likely contribute from the start. Hart was the Big East Player of the Year and the co-Big East Defensive Player of the Year. LA added a fair amount of versatility with the last pick of the first round.
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With the no. 42 pick, Utah selected Thomas Bryant on behalf of the Lakers. Bryant, who is a 6-foot 10-inch forward/center from Indiana University, has a 7-foot wing span and averaged 6.6 rebounds and 12.6 points during his sophomore year.