The De'Aaron Fox pre-draft hype train is picking up a full head of steam.
The Kentucky point guard will be working out for the Los Angeles Lakers and the Philadelphia 76ers in the next month, according to Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News. Both teams have top-three picks.
Not surprising: De'Aaron Fox plans to work out for Lakers and Sixers. Lakers' workout likely to happen mid-June (week of 11-17)— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) May 27, 2017
The Lakers seem to have just two candidates for their No. 2 overall pick: Fox, and the most talked about man in this draft, Lonzo Ball. The Sixers, meanwhile, are looking at Fox, fellow Wildcat Malik Monk and Kansas’ Josh Jackson with their No. 3 overall pick.
Fox was originally tabbed a top-10 pick, going somewhere in the six or seven range. But ever since the season ended, Fox has done nothing but escalate up seemingly every team’s draft board.
Now, multiple NBA front offices see him as the best point guard in this draft, better than both Ball and Markelle Fultz -the presumed No. 1 pick in the draft.
Per source, there are multiple teams in the lottery who feel De'Aaron Fox - not Fultz or Ball - is the top PG in the draft. Continues 2 rise— Jordan Schultz (@Schultz_Report) May 27, 2017
It’s nearly impossible that Fox will surpass Fultz. The Boston Celtics have their franchise point guard in Isaiah Thomas, and Fox can’t shoot well enough to pick up a significant role as a two guard (at least not yet).
However, surpassing Ball wouldn’t be a surprise at all. All you have to do is watch the tape from either of their head-to-head matchups to see who the better player is.
2. L.A. Lakers: De’Aaron Fox, PG, Kentucky
Here’s the chaos.
Many of us are presuming the Lakers will pick Lonzo Ball at No. 2. Perhaps they will. This has been suggested as some sort of destiny (including by yours truly) given Ball’s SoCal roots, his family’s deep interest in landing with the Lakers, and the exciting style Ball plays that hearkens back to Showtime. It’s all very neat.
It’s all a little too neat.
The world isn’t that neat. Notice that nearly all of the Ball-to-the-Lakers energy we’re seeing is coming from the Ball side of the equation, not the Lakers’ side. Players can’t will themselves to be drafted by certain teams, no matter how many TV shows their fathers do.
What would be a greater brushback by the Basketball Gods than for Magic Johnson, in his first draft running the Lakers, to pick someone else?
By the way, Fox is quite possibly the better prospect here. He has better physical tools and, in case the good people of Southern California forgot, he dominated Ball in the tournament.
Get ready for a lot of speculation and hype from now until June 22.