There was a point during this college season when it appeared that point guard Lonzo Ball would be a prime candidate for the No. 1 pick. So much has happened since ‘ the seemingly endless blathering of his father, LaVar Ball, the shaking out of the draft’s lottery, the Celtics’ trade out of the No. 1 spot ‘ none of which bolstered Ball’s prospects of being the top pick.
But as one general manager reminded us: With all the other stuff, he has gotten to be a kind of lightning rod for opinions, but he’s one of the best college point guards I have seen as a freshman. He comes in at just a different level of playmaking ability than most kids his age. You can pick apart this and that. But he is going to make everyone on your team better, and I think that gets lost.
And yet circumstances have lined up against Ball, not just as the No. 1 pick but, possibly, as a top-four pick. We discussed the prospect of Ball landing with each of the first six teams in this year’s draft with a scout, a league executive and a general manager. Here’s what we found:
The Titans surged to their first winning record since 2008 thanks to Marcus Mariota’s ability to avoid a sophomore slump. The young quarterback’s breakout season featured a 26-touchdown, nine-interception performance before a broken leg ended his season in Week 16. If he can return to form, he’ll have a handful of new receiving threats after Tennessee invested in playmakers like Corey Davis, Taywan Taylor, and Jonnu Smith in the draft and signed New York Jets refugee Eric Decker as a free agent.