The Los Angeles Lakers would prefer to draft LSU prodigy Ben Simmons over Duke marksman Brandon Ingram at June’s NBA Draft, per latest Lakers Rumors.
At this stage, there is no guarantee that Lakers get to keep their top-3 protected draft pick. Their fate would be decided on May 17 – the night of the NBA Draft Lottery. If their pick falls within the top-3, they would get to draft a rookie to join the budding trio of Jordan Clarkson, D’Angelo Russell and Julius Randle next season. If the pick falls out of the top-3, they won’t get to draft a player.
After their most recent defeat to Phoenix Suns, the 14-55 Lakers have a 55.8 percent chance of keeping their pick. Those are good odds. But stranger things have happened in the past. In 2014, Cleveland Cavaliers got the first overall pick despite having less than 2 percent chance. Anything can transpire on Draft Lottery night.
Is Ingram better?
In recent mock drafts, Ingram has eclipsed Simmons as the No. 1 overall pick. This could have a lot to do with LSU and Simmons failing to qualify for the NCAA Tournament. Also, Ingram is a better shooter with a greater wingspan. So why do Lakers prefer Simmons?
According to sources close to the organization, the front office is hoping to re-unite Simmons and Russell – who enjoyed great success in the high school circuit for Montverde Academy. Also, Simmons has publicly stated his desire to team up with Russell and represent Lakers – the team he wholeheartedly supported while growing up in Australia.
On Sunday evening, Simmons declared for the 2016 NBA Draft. “I’m making it official,” said the the 6-foot-10 Australian who led the LSU Tigers in scoring (19.2 points), rebounds (11.8) and assists (4.8) this season. Despite Simmons’ outstanding numbers, many pundits have questioned his “intangibles” and “killer instinct.” Does Simmons have what it takes to succeed in the big leagues?
In LeBron’s footsteps…
Despite the recent criticism, LSU coach Johnny Jones believes that Simmons is headed for greatness. “We are happy about the development that transpired during his time here and think he will continue to make great strides as he transitions into the NBA,” the LSU coach said on Monday.
Simmons is set to hire Rich Paul, LeBron James’ agent, to represent him after going pro. Simmons has already forged a friendship with James, who has been scouting the promising Australian since his high school days. “He has been like a big brother to me. He has been there if I need someone to talk to. If I need some good advice he is there to talk to,” Simmons said of LeBron earlier this year.
Will Simmons prove to be the franchise player that leads the Lakers into the next era?
Stay tuned for latest Lakers Rumors.