The fact of the matter is that LA is in no position whatsoever to win right away. Their best players, their starting lineup, is quite literally comprised of prospects: D’Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson, Brandon Ingram, and Julius Randle.
[edit: this was written before the breaking news (6:30 P.M on Tuesday, June 20) that D’Angelo has been traded to Brooklyn! Full trade grades coming soon.
NOTE: Keep in mind that Magic and the LA front office went against my advice here of “sticking with what you got” by dealing away D’Angelo!]
They won a measly 26 games last year (explaining why they have the number two overall pick for the second straight year). So here’s some advice: stick with what you got. Their prospects will blossom into something beautiful soon enough, especially once you throw in that #2 pick this year, but they’re not going to win now. Enough with these rumors about shipping a package including the pick for a star such as George. Why do they need one extra year with him that won’t even be successful, given the type of roster -- rife with potential -- that they have? Instead, draft Lonzo Ball, and use that talented young corps to enjoy another season in the name of progress that will quite very possibly lure Paul George (and others too! ...which is kind of important) to Hollywood. Everybody wins, except the Pacers.
Don’t throw away something that will be as good as Paul George (the #2 pick) just for one year of him; on the flip side, if you’re Indiana, you’ve got to be doing everything in your power to try to flip PG13 for Lonzo, considering that you’ll get nothing for the former if/once he walks next summer.
Look, I get that it’s easy to hate the Ball family. Lavar is undoubtedly insane, talking about how his son will have “a Magic Johnson-like impact” for LA and is indeed the second coming of Christ, absolutely confirmed (kidding... slightly). Papa Ball is annoying, it’s true, potentially a major distraction, and Lord only knows how long it’ll take before he realizes that he just needs to stop talking. But none of that is poor Lonzo’s fault, who will probably be more focused and committed than ever should his dream come true of leading the Lakeshow’s offense. And he’ll be damn good at it too, with a lethal combo of unmatched leaping ability that allowed him to be one college basketball’s best finishers around the rim, paired with a very unconventional three-point shot that still goes in a very impressive 41.2% of the time. As well, Lonzo’s impeccable court vision and passing ability will make him uniquely suited to run the LA offense and the plethora of offensive talent around him for years to come. And now, after the D’Angelo Russell trade, Lonzo is more suited to fit into this roster than ever; indeed far more so than the questionable jump-shots that De’Aaron Fox and Josh Jackson have to offer. Don’t think that team president Magic Johnson (yup) should make a franchise-altering mistake by passing on Ball just because the kid has an annoying dad.