Lonzo BallAndrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/GettyLonzo Ball may have been the second pick in the draft, but he may be the most NBA-ready rookie next season.

This week's mailbag features your questions on which top-10 picks are most ready to contribute as rookies, the returns on blockbuster trades involving star players and more.

You can tweet your questions using the hashtag #peltonmailbag or email them to peltonmailbag@gmail.com.



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After Lonzo Ball was selected No. 2 overall by the Los Angeles Lakers in Thursday's NBA draft, his father, LaVar, wasn't shy about proclaiming his belief that the team would make the postseason in 2017-18.

"Lonzo Ball is going to take the Lakers to the playoffs in his first year," the outspoken LaVar told ESPN's Jeff Goodman.

One Las Vegas sportsbook doesn't share his confidence.

On Saturday afternoon, the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook posted the Lakers' odds to make next year's postseason at plus-500, and minus-700 to miss the postseason. That means a $100 wager on Los Angeles to miss the postseason would win $14.29; a $100 wager on L.A. to make the postseason would win $500.

Odds were also posted for two other active teams on Thursday night: the Minnesota Timberwolves and Philadelphia 76ers.

Minnesota, which acquired All-Star Jimmy Butler in a draft-night deal, opened as a minus-260 favorite to make the postseason (bet $100 to win $38.46) and plus-220 to miss (bet $100 to win $220). The Timberwolves went 31-51 in a disappointing first-year campaign under coach Tom Thibodeau and have the NBA's longest playoff drought, having not made the postseason since 2003-04.

The 76ers now have the past two No. 1 overall picks in Markelle Fultz


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SVP is perplexed to see Lonzo Ball and Josh Jackson, both lottery picks in the NBA draft, struggling to throw a good first pitch at a baseball game.
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Before he was a Laker, Lonzo Ball had a busy day preparing for the draft. From picking out the right outfit, to the red carpet, to signing autographs for fans, Lonzo shows us what it's like spending a day in his shoes.
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Follow the Lakers' top pick as he arrives at Dodger Stadium, dons another new jersey and fires the ball to Kenley Jansen.
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EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Los Angeles Lakers president of basketball operations Earvin "Magic" Johnson didn't mince words when asked why the team traded point guard D'Angelo Russell -- the No. 2 overall pick in the 2015 draft -- to the Brooklyn Nets this week.

"D'Angelo is an excellent player," Johnson said Friday when the Lakers introduced their top draft pick, point guard Lonzo Ball, at their practice facility. "He has the talent to be an All-Star. We want to thank him for what he did for us. But what I needed was a leader. I needed somebody also that can make the other players better and also [somebody] that players want to play with."

The Lakers traded Russell and center Timofey Mozgov to the Nets in exchange for Brooklyn center Brook Lopez and the No. 27 overall pick in Thursday's draft.

For the Lakers, the move was essentially a salary dump, as it allowed them to shed Mozgov's hefty salary -- he's entering the second year of a four-year, $64 million deal -- and take on Lopez's expiring contract.

Those moves should give the Lakers close to $60 million in significant cap room next summer -- enough to potentially sign two max-salary players.

Still, it marked a sharp and surprising end to Russell's tenure with the Lakers.

Johnson, however, kept praising the leadership qualities of Ball, whom the Lakers selected No. 2 overall out of UCLA.

"I went to the high school," Johnson said. "I talked to the principal. I talked to, I think, four teachers, they all said at different times, this guy, everybody attracts to this guy. And I said, OK, that's all I needed to hear. He's a leader. He treats people the right way. I said, OK, we've got our man now."

Indiana Pacers


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EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- The Los Angeles Lakers wasted no time heaping sky-high expectations upon Lonzo Ball, whom they drafted with the No. 2 overall pick in Thursday's NBA draft.

When the organization introduced Ball on Friday at the team's practice facility, Lakers president of basketball operations Earvin "Magic" Johnson called him "the new face of the Lakers, the guy who I think will lead us back to where we want to get to."

Soon after, Johnson told Ball, 19, to look at a nearby wall, where several retired jerseys of Lakers icons are displayed.

"We expect a Ball jersey hanging up there one day," Johnson told Ball.

When asked about Johnson's comment, Ball replied, "I think it's a good goal to set. I'll definitely be chasing that."

Why the high expectations on Ball?

"He has greatness written all over him," Johnson said. "Now he just has to go out and push him, and we will, too. And [Lakers coach] Luke [Walton] and the coaching staff will do the same thing and it's OK, because he receives all that well.

"We're fine. We want expectations. We want to win championships here. We've got to get the right people in place to do that, but we're building every step. I'm not crazy. I know it's going to take time to build and we're building, but when we get the right people in here, we're going to win."

Johnson even referenced the 1980s Showtime Lakers -- a team he led -- when talking about the ball movement that he hopes Ball will bring to the Lakers.

"We want to start building a successful team, and you have to have a great leader," Johnson said, "and somebody that can make their teammates better, somebody who has incredible basketball IQ -- his IQ is off the charts -- and somebody who can get their teammates to follow them and want to get out on that wing like James Worthy


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Josh Hart speaks on the Lakers' appreciation for his winning attitude and breaks down how he plans to bring his game to the next level.
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Lonzo Ball says he expected his father's words to come true and is ready to set the bar high while playing for the Lakers.
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When it comes to the future of the franchise, Michael Smith and Jemele Hill discuss the pressure that is on Lonzo Ball, as well as the Lakers' front office.
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The best players in the 2017 draft class display the one move that makes them unique.
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Now that Lonzo Ball has been drafted as a Laker, Stephen A. Smith puts the priority on Magic Johnson to make more offseason moves to improve the team.

With draft night in the rearview mirror, here's your chance to evaluate the moves the Los Angeles Lakers made Thursday. In his draft report card for every team Insider, ESPN Insider Chad Ford explained why he's a fan of Los Angeles' picks. Are you?

For more coverage of the draft and a recap of all of the picks, check out our Draftcast.


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Stephen A. Smith believes that Magic Johnson is handing the keys to Lonzo Ball, which will set him up to succeed in Los Angeles.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Jordan Clarkson
PTS AST STL MIN
14.7 2.6 1.1 29.2
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsJ. Randle 8.6
AssistsJ. Randle 3.6
StealsL. Nance Jr. 1.3
BlocksI. Zubac 0.9