The Lakers plan to host an individual workout for former Kentucky guard De’Aaron Fox on June 13, according to league sources familiar with the situation. After working out last week with the Sacramento Kings, Fox also plans to work out with the Philadelphia 76ers at some point the following weekend (June 16-18).
The Lakers also had an individual workout on Wednesday for former UCLA guard Lonzo Ball. They reportedly plan to watch Kansas shooting guard/small fowrard Josh Jackson in Sacramento on Thursday.
Plenty in NBA circles expect the Lakers to draft Ball because of his strong passing and shooting abilities he displayed during his lone season with the Bruins. Ball also could become a marketing draw with the Los Angeles native starring at Chino Hills and his father, LaVar, pursuing various business ventures with his “Big Baller Brand.” Yet, the Lakers have maintained an open mind on who they would select at No. 2.
Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka have publicly downplayed whether LaVar Ball’s outspoken nature could deter them from drafting his son. Yet, plenty in NBA circles suspect the Lakers will inquire about LaVar Ball’s level of involvement and ensure he would do nothing to undermine the team’s front office, coaching staff and players. The Lakers also like Fox after averaging 16.7 points on 47.9 percent shooting, 4.6 assists and 4.0 rebounds with the Wildcats.
The Lakers were impressed with Fox when they interviewed him last month at the NBA pre-draft combine in Chicago. They also were impressed with Fox’s workout at the Catalyst Sports’ Pro Day in Los Angeles last weekend.
Although they will consider various factors in their No. 2 selection, Johnson and Pelinka had witnessed Kentucky’s victory over UCLA in the Sweet 16 where Fox had 39 points, while Ball had only 10 points. Although plenty of NBA talent evaluators believe Ball will make the Lakers’ offense more fluid and make D’Angelo Russell more comfortable as an off-ball guard, plenty believe that tandem will faced numerous challenges defensively. Meanwhile, Fox is considered the best backcourt defender in this year’s draft class, a skill that could elevate the Lakers after faring nearly last in the NBA last season in several defensive categories.