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Rumor: Lakers “enamored” with Lonzo Ball

UCLA v Arizona

LAS VEGAS, NV - MARCH 10: Lonzo Ball #2 of the UCLA Bruins runs on the court during a semifinal game of the Pac-12 Basketball Tournament against the Arizona Wildcats at T-Mobile Arena on March 10, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Arizona won 86-75. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

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The Lakers first need to hope they even have a pick in this NBA Draft — Los Angeles has a 15.6 percent chance of landing the No. 1 pick, but also a 53.1 percent chance of losing their pick all-together (they have the third best odds in the lottery, but if anyone jumps them and their pick falls to fourth or worse it reverts to the Sixers, the final remnant of the Steve Nash trade).

If the Lakers have a top three pick, they need to take the best player available — they have a nice young core but are nowhere near a talent level on the roster where they can afford to take a lesser player based on fit (frankly, the best teams don’t do that anyway).

That said, the Lakers’ new management is rumored to want star power and that may lead them to Lonzo Ball, reports Chad Ford of ESPN.

The Lakers appear to be enamored with Ball, a local product who could add star power to a team desperately in search of it. But they’ll likely have to land in the top two to get him.

This is exactly what Lonzo’s father, LaVar Ball, wants. Lonzo, a Los Angeles area native, has said he wants to be a Laker. So the feeling is mutual.

Ford says most teams have Washington point guard Markelle Fultz at the top of their board, followed by Ball, then Josh Jackson of Kansas third. What I have heard is nearly every team has Fultz first, but Jackson is right there with Ball for some teams (because Jackson is a better defender).

If the draft order stays the way it is now, with Boston (via Brooklyn) going first, then Phoenix, the two point guards do likely come off the board — Boston needs to think beyond the next few years with Isaiah Thomas (who will eventually fade), and the same with the Suns and Eric Bledsoe (the Suns would draft a PG then trade Bledsoe for more young players or picks). If the Lakers ended up with Jackson their fans should be thrilled — he’s the best defender near the top of the board and the Lakers had the worst defense in the NBA last season. A good perimeter defender would be a huge need.

But this is Magic Johnson and the Lakers, and that means star power wins out. And in Los Angeles, that is Ball. If they can get him.