Jahlil Okafor got passed by Karl-Anthony Towns as the consensus for the top pick, but going #2 wouldn’t be a bad consolation prize, especially since that meant going to Los Angeles instead of Minnesota.
In the final hours before the draft, even that appears to be in doubt now:
— KEVIN DING (@KevinDing) June 25, 2015
Ding writes that Russell fits the profile of a “leader, a winner and a Laker.” He also adds that Russell’s shooting ability impressed the team while Okafor’s second workout left something to be desired.
Another “source” has chimed in on the Lakers too:
An old pal of mine who used to really be into basketball just convinced me to bet that the Lakers will draft Russell in the 2 spot (+250)
— Cousin Sal (@TheCousinSal) June 25, 2015
No way, me too!! https://t.co/8ZJBaBQXTk
— House (@HousefromDC) June 25, 2015
For those unaware, Cousin Sal and Joe House are friends of former Grantland boss Bill Simmons, who does have sources in the Los Angeles area where he’s based.
Ding is a Lakers insider, but the report still smells fishy, especially amid reports that the Sixers love Russell and might even be willing to exchange a spare asset to move up and secure him. The praise for Russell is so effusive, most notably that the Stephen Curry comparisons are legit, that it feels like a bluff. Sure enough, this came across the wire later:
Lakers leaning toward taking Jahlil Okafor in tonight's draft, The Times has learned. They'll be on the clock at 4:35 Pacific time.
— Mike Bresnahan (@Mike_Bresnahan) June 25, 2015