video

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.


(Read full post)


video

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

The Grand Hoop-la

June, 22, 2017
Jun 22
7:03
PM PT
Landon Nordeman for ESPNnull

On draft night in New York City, the Barclays Center becomes a runway for prospects and families in tow who entertain in all the glitz that comes with the NBA spotlight.
video

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Los Angeles Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka on Thursday explained the team's logic for pulling off its draft-week trade with the Brooklyn Nets, which included shipping out promising point guard D'Angelo Russell in what amounted to a salary dump. The trade was made official Thursday.

Russell, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2015 draft, was dealt to Brooklyn along with center Timofey Mozgov, who is entering the second year of a four-year, $64 million contract. In return, the Lakers received Nets center Brook Lopez and the 27th pick in Thursday's draft.

Pelinka was first asked if Russell was traded in part because the Lakers were so confident in the abilities of point guard Lonzo Ball, whom the Lakers drafted No. 2 overall Thursday.

"I think D'Angelo is a special player and definitely wouldn't want to attach the name 'expendable' next to him, because he's an extraordinary talent," Pelinka said. "We just looked at that trade as really doing three things that were really positive for us.

"One is we got an All-Star caliber [center] that can spread the floor and open things up. Brook Lopez really transformed his game last year and became a guy that was making 3s."

Lopez, 29, averaged 20.5 points, 5.4 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.7 blocks for the Nets last season. He also attempted 387 shots from 3-point range and made 34.6 percent of them.

Lopez enters 2017-18 in the final season of his contract that will pay him $22.64 million. His expiring contract and clearing Mozgov off their books will give the Lakers close to $60 million in significant cap room next summer.

"Then of course, we were able to get amazing salary-cap relief and space, so in July of 2018 we have the ability to add hopefully two max-salary players to our franchise," Pelinka said. "And that really fit into our long-term play.

"And then three, it gave us the ability to have four picks in the draft [Thursday]. So we accomplished so much in one trade. It was really the perfect storm for us and we felt like it's going to have a big impact."

Indiana Pacers


(Read full post)


video

Jay Bilas joins SVP to recap the 2017 NBA Draft class and predicts success for many of the first round picks.

Draft attireChris Marion/NBAE via Getty Images

The NBA draft is a chance for the latest crop of basketball talent to make eye-catching fashion choices -- and the 2017 NBA draft class did not disappoint.

Some players, such as Malik Monk with his "The Woodz" pattern or Zach Collins with his homage to the famous "Welcome to Las Vegas" sign, incorporated nods to their hometowns. Other fashion decisions carried deeper sentiment: The lining of No. 5 overall pick De'Aaron Fox's suit featured breast cancer ribbons as a tribute to his mother, a breast cancer survivor.

Which prospect made the best fashion statement at this year's draft? Using the arrows next to each choice, weigh in by ranking the sharply dressed players below.


Bowties and shoes

Still other prospects went for flashy, unique accessories and footwear:

While the NBA draft picks were dressed for success at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Thursday night, it remains to be seen how they'll look -- or play -- in the uniforms of their new teams when the 2017-18 NBA season begins.

-- Brendan C. Hall


(Read full post)


video

The Los Angeles Lakers will receive Indiana center Thomas Bryant (via Jazz), who was the No. 42 overall pick of the 2017 NBA draft on Thursday night. 

Kevin Pelton's stats and scouting ranking -- No. 30: "Because Bryant is only an average shot-blocker and a poor defensive rebounder, he has to score efficiently to have value in the NBA." More (Insider)

Scouting report -- positives:

  • Versatile forward
  • Crazy long wingspan
  • Can score inside and outside
  • A load in the paint

Scouting report -- negatives:

  • Still inconsistent
  • Slow feet, lacks elite athleticism

Read the full scouting report (Insider)

ESPN Analytics projection (within his first five seasons):

  • Chances he'll be an All-Star: 0.99 percent
  • Chances he'll be an NBA starter: 14.42 percent
  • Chances he'll be a role player: 13.57 percent

More player projections  |  How our projection model works


(Read full post)


The deal

Lakers get: Rights to No. 30 pick Josh Hart and No. 42 pick Thomas Bryant

Jazz get: Rights to No. 28 pick Tony Bradley

video

The Los Angeles Lakers will receive Villanova guard Josh Hart  (via Jazz), who was the No. 30 overall pick of the 2017 NBA draft on Thursday night. 

Ford's Big Board ranking -- No. 30:  "Jack of all trades. Above average at just about everything -- shooting, ballhandling, defense and passing." More (Insider)

Kevin Pelton's stats and scouting ranking -- No. 16: "One of the most productive players in college basketball as a senior, Hart has no statistical weaknesses, and he has strengths in terms of 2-point percentage and shooting." More (Insider)

Scouting report -- positives:

  • Solid shooter with range
  • Tough, physical wing
  • High basketball IQ

Scouting report -- negatives:

  • Lacks any one elite skill
  • Lacks explosive leaping ability

Read the full scouting report (Insider)

ESPN Analytics projection (within his first five seasons):

  • Chances he'll be an All-Star: 0.02 percent
  • Chances he'll be an NBA starter: 3.65 percent
  • Chances he'll be a role player: 10.10 percent

(Read full post)


video

The Los Angeles Lakers will receive Utah forward Kyle Kuzma with the No. 27 overall pick (via Nets) of the 2017 NBA draft on Thursday night.

Scouting report -- positives:

  • Good rebounder
  • Good floor vision, passer for his size
  • High basketball IQ

Scouting report -- negatives:

  • Inconsistent shooter
  • Lacks elite athleticism

Read the full scouting report (Insider)

ESPN Analytics projection (within his first five seasons):

  • Chances he'll be an All-Star: 0.06 percent
  • Chances he'll be an NBA starter: 2.03 percent
  • Chances he'll be a role player: 7.15 percent

More player projections  |  How our projection model works

More draft coverage:


(Read full post)


video

NEW YORK -- Magic Johnson and the Los Angeles Lakers made it official at 7:47 p.m. ET Thursday, when Showtime met 'Zotime with the second pick of the NBA draft. Lonzo Ball was selected as a point guard by the greatest point guard of all, and wouldn't you know it, he walked onto the stage without his stage dad in tow.

LaVar Ball long ago predicted this night would come. Actually, he long ago predicted his oldest of three boys would be drafted in Markelle Fultz's spot, the No. 1 slot. But who's keeping track?

From Manhattan to Brooklyn, from the Grand Hyatt lobby to the floor of the Barclays Center, LaVar led his oversize entourage on a high-voltage trip around the big city while doing nothing to temper his standing as the most polarizing face and voice in basketball, college or pro. And while doing nothing to lighten the alleged load he has planted squarely on his son's shoulders.

But instead of wasting time and energy hating on LaVar and, by extension, on Lonzo, too, fans should remember that the son is not the father, and that the NBA is always best served when a visionary playmaker such as Lonzo walks through its doors.

"I'm truly blessed to be able to play for my hometown," Lonzo said, "and I can't wait to get on the court."

Out in Los Angeles, Lonzo will play a beautiful game for the beautiful people. He will play the game that Magic Johnson and Larry Bird played. The game that Jason Kidd and Steve Nash played. The game that LeBron James prefers to play.


(Read full post)


video

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Moments after the Los Angeles Lakers selected UCLA guard Lonzo Ball with the No. 2 overall pick in Thursday night's NBA draft, Ball's outspoken father, LaVar, made a bold proclamation on national television. 

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

The Lakers have missed the playoffs for four straight seasons, the longest postseason drought in franchise history, and posted the league's third-worst record last season at 26-56.

"That's the goal," Lonzo said when asked about his father's comments. "You don't play to lose. That's definitely the goal. That's the plan."

With his son making the interview rounds in the tunnels of Barclays Center, LaVar excitedly talked about how he had predicted for a long time that his son would go to the Lakers.

"Yes! Yes!" the elder Ball told ESPN not far from where other families and draft picks sat by the stage. "I told you I would speak it into existence. And everybody kept saying what if? What if? I don't live on what ifs. If I live on what ifs, I will never get to where I am at.

"People always say, 'LaVar, how come you are always right?' I say, 'Because I never get left.'"

When asked about LaVar's playoffs prediction, Lakers coach Luke Walton smiled.

"I'm a very optimistic person, but I don't look that far into the future," Walton said at the team's practice facility, where a group of season-ticket holders and sponsors gathered for a draft party. "Right now, I'm hoping [Lonzo] leads us to a couple summer league victories, and we'll take it from there." 

Walton said he expected LaVar's comments will, at least initially, apply pressure on Lonzo.

"I think it will make it more challenging, a little bit, but I think every top draft pick that comes in has a target on their back," Walton said. "The best players in this league want to set the tone with these young players early, to let them know what it's like here. I know when I was a young player, I had a target on my back from my own teammates because of things my dad [NBA great Bill Walton] said, but it ended up working out.

"What's incredible is that he's been, according to [Lonzo], his dad has been great. He's always been there. He's supported him. He obviously loves him, and that's what you want out of a father, so I'm not overly concerned by it."

Philadelphia 76ers


(Read full post)


SPONSORED HEADLINES

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