Lonzo, Fultz, Jackson - Who Will The Lakers Land?
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Lonzo, Fultz, Jackson - Who Will The Lakers Land?

It's draft season once again, who will the Lakers have by the end of draft night?

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Lonzo, Fultz, Jackson - Who Will The Lakers Land?
SBNation

With the NBA Draft rapidly approaching on June 22nd, the Los Angeles Lakers will be looking to add another piece toward the future. The team has been a symbol of mediocrity in recent years and the idea is that this year's pick will finally be a stepping stone toward completing a young core that is already comprised of recent lottery picks Julius Randle, D'Angelo Russell and Brandon Ingram. The top three picks of the draft are widely expected to be Washington's scorer Markelle Fultz, UCLA's playmaker Lonzo Ball, and Kansas's athletic freak Josh Jackson. With the Lakers essentially being the Ash Ketchum's of this year's draft because Fultz is expected to go first overall to the Boston Celtics, it will be interesting to see who the Lakers decide to go for at number two.

In the case that Gary Oak doesn't take the Fultz with the first overall pick, the Lakers should jump at the opportunity to steal the consensus best player in the draft. Out of the three, he's the greatest offensive threat. At 6'4" with the 6'10" wingspan, Fultz has the size and potential to be a lethal force at the point-guard position.

Fultz is a willing passer and legitimate scorer. At Washington, he showed the ability to navigate the pick-and-roll effectively. He knows when to look for his shot or others, which is a threat that will be extremely useful in the NBA because it makes him less predictable. Fultz's game will translate seamlessly into pro-level play, especially paired with scoring threats in Russell and Ingram. He can also work effectively in pick-and-roll with upcoming bigs Julius Randle and Ivica Zubac.


Source: Basketball Hoops

However, as great as Fultz is, he has some weaknesses. He hasn't shown great proficiency as a catch-and-shoot player, which could lead to problems if he cannot play effectively off the ball. If Fultz can develop that skill, having D'Angelo Russell play point from time to time would make this Lakers team extremely dangerous moving forward. Russell has spent his entire basketball career at the point so the position is of no unfamiliarity to him. He also seems to have a very casual approach to the game and seems to lose intensity/focus from time to time. As to how much of this is a result of how easily the game comes to him or his team's poor 9-21 record is unknown, but that's a weakness that could be fixed.

At number two, the Lakers are projected by many to take Jason Kidd-esque Lonzo Ball. He's built similarly to Fultz at 6'6" and a wingspan of 6'7". Although built similarly to Fultz, Lonzo is not the same player that he is.

Ball isn't the scorer that Fultz is. As a pass first point-guard, he does an excellent job of creating shot opportunities for others in all facets of the game from the pick-and-roll to outlet passes to finding the cutter and especially creating havoc in transition. Lonzo displays quick decision making, making it difficult to keep up and see what he already sees on the floor. There is no competition between him and all of the other players in the draft in regards to who is the best playmaker/creator.


Source: Basketball Hoops

In addition to his ability to create for others, Lonzo displays elite shooting from the three. Numerous times the odd-mechanic shooter shot the ball from beyond NBA range, proving his ability to knock down the long-range shot. He was an effective catch-and-shoot player at UCLA and showed proficiency in shooting the step-back shot. He's shown the ability to be a tough shot maker, which may become an essential skill as he moves forward.

Where Lonzo really struggles is his inability to contain dribble penetration against quicker players, as shown against De'Aaron Fox who went off for 39 points in the NCAA tournament game against UCLA. Although Ball is a tough shot maker, that doesn't necessarily mean that he is great in isolation. More often than not, he ends up being a passers instead of a shooter, something that he may have to fix moving forward to avoid predictability from defenders. His frame as of right now is not NBA ready and he could be bullied by bigger guards, but that's something that he will gain as he continues to mature in the league.

Lastly, the Lakers may look to add the best two-way guard in Josh Jackson. In my opinion, Jackson has the highest ceiling, but also the lowest floor out of all of the players in this year's draft. He has the capability to be a Paul George, but could potentially be a Wesley Johnson (no disrespect). He could live up to be a superstar if he is able to make the most out of his given skills and shorten his weaknesses.

Jackson is the most well-rounded player between himself, Ball and Fultz. He has shown the ability to guard positions 1-4 proficiently showing great lateral quickness to defend guards and size to stay up against bigs.

He also has eye-popping athleticism and was a solid scorer at Kansas, scoring 21 points per game. A lot of his game relies on his athleticism as well as hitting spot jumpers that are set up for him. He does have some capability to be a scorer, but to the degree of how comfortable he is with that role is let to be shown.


Source: Frankie Vision

The thing that impresses me most about Jackson is his motor and emotion. He's proven time and time again that he wants to be a better player. This is especially apparent in his shooting as the season progressed.

He started the season making just 9 of his first 38 attempts in the first ten weeks, but finished on a blistering note, knocking down 25 of his last 52 tries in the final two months. - Source: DraftExpress

If Jackson could continue to bring this kind of mindset into the pro level, he definitely has potential to be the best player in the draft. It's hard to find the kind of versatility that he already possesses, so any addition to those skills will only increase his likeliness to be the best in this draft.

Despite the great skills that Jackson can bring, he also has a number of glaring weaknesses. His shot off the dribble and ability to create shots for himself could use some work. Although he has shown some improvements, he needs to show more at the NBA level to be an effective forward. He also lacks a consistent handle, although he has shown some flashes of some moves that allowed him to finish at the rim or create for other players. Offensively, he has potential to be great, but as of right now he should be drafted for his consistency on defense and as a prospect in the works offensively.

Even if Jackson doesn't pan out to be a great offensive player, he has his defense and hustle to fall back on, which in itself is a valuable asset.

The Lakers will probably end up with one of these three players, and all fit the roster in their own respective right. Given these three players, the Lakers can't really complain as to who falls to them or whoever they trade for given the frenzy going into draft night between the Lakers, Celtics, and 76ers (the 3rd pick). However the draft may go, Lakerland should be pleased with whichever player they end up with because any of these three players could be superstars.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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