It looks like the Celtics are still feeling a bit lucky as the ping-pong balls bounced in their favor on Tuesday night. As if it couldn’t get more interesting than having a team in the Eastern Conference Finals also win the No. 1 overall pick, Boston’s longtime rival Los Angeles Lakers held onto their selection and will be picking second in June’s draft. Although it’s a deep and talented group of youngsters, many experts have pointed to two players – Markelle Fultz and Lonzo Ball – as being the top two names called.
Boston gets first dibs, and it seems from a basketball standpoint they will lean towards Washington’s Fultz. Fultz is a dynamic scorer and a crafty ball-handler, able to seamlessly switch between either guard position. With Boston seemingly lacking a scoring punch outside of dynamo Isaiah Thomas, Fultz looks to be an NBA-ready scorer from the get-go. Thomas and Fultz are also very familiar with one another (both Washington alums), and have trained with one another during the off-season.
It also eases their decision knowing that the Ball family has expressed their interest in keeping Lonzo close to home to play for the Lakers. Ball grew up in Chino Hills, California, mere miles away from Staples Center. With the Lakers now holding the second overall pick, Ball’s dream of playing for his hometown team could very well come true.
Ball is a drastically different player than Fultz. The UCLA product is more of a true point guard, able to set up his teammates with creative dishes. He has an unorthodox shot, but was a knockdown shooter during his time in college, showcasing deep range from beyond the arc. Ball will fit in nicely with the Lakers’ group of young players and can fill in as Luke Walton’s quarterback in an up-tempo offense.
Two of the most historic franchises in basketball have the chance to draft a transcendent talent in the upcoming NBA Draft. Whichever prospect the teams decide on, they will be forever intertwined in this storied rivalry.