The beauty of obtaining Lonzo at this moment in time is
(a) at least among NOP fans, there seems to be some contentment with letting him go for cheap based on the bubble performance,
(b) if Jay Williams is to be believed, that contentment is also somewhat reflective of the thinking going on in the NOP front office,
(c) Schlenk has given insight into his off-season plans, and one quote is specifically indicative of interest in players that are coming off of their rookie deal,
(d) assuming a right price w/ Griffin can be negotiated, Schlenk effectively gets a former #2 pick on a one-year "prove-it" deal, or it remains in-play to sign him to a team-friendly extension of some kind,
(e) every player has holes in his game... the question is largely whether the player's age and mental make-up allow reason to believe improvement may occur... in this case, Lonzo's 22... the YouTube video is indicative of someone who isn't satisfied and wants to get better... and, what's more, as pointed out in the graphic above, there's history that Lonzo can be significantly more effective at drawing fouls.
As Schmitz wrote in the earlier post, Lonzo is a "five-tool guard," who "simply put... needs to be next to another guard who can score and playmake in pick and roll."
But as much as he's an exceptional facilitator and can be an exceptional perimeter shooter (https://fadeawayworld.net/2020/03/06/lonzo-ball-is-shooting-better-from-3-than-trae-young-devin-booker-bradley-beal-and-luka-doncic/
)... my enthusiasm is only what it is on the basis of his defensive highlight reels. His hands are so quick. His instincts are so exceptional.
He is what I would hope Halliburton would prove to be, if we were to draft him... and while there is an argument that says, "why not do that instead," I think we're entering a phase in the team evolution now that is better advanced by adding players with some degree of real NBA experience under their belt. So, really, it becomes an issue that is the same issue as adding Oladipo; but whereas the price for Oladipo seems likely to be unreasonably high given IND's perspective and that context, it's much more likely that NOP would not be nearly so unreasonable. In fact, if they were to go for #13 plus Lonzo for #6, to the contrary, that's practically a no-brainer in my book.Addendum
Now, some may feel there are better options. I hear that.
Mind you, I was among the first (as far as I've had reason to read) to assert that Schlenk needs to score a top-tier talent (equate to the GSW acquisition of Iguodala at just the right time), and preferably this off-season over next b/c of the lesser competition in view of ATL's bad history (perhaps mostly due to team ownership/leadership, but arguably b/c of the market size) of attracting elite talent. Moreover, as I was making that assertion, I was led to it largely by a literature review of what the man himself has said, both recently and in the lead-up to and during past off-seasons with regard to his philosophy on roster building and talent acquisition.
In other words, it wasn't actually my idea, it was Schlenk's to begin with.
Stating the obvious--it's not clear that there are any elite talents that can be acquired, or at least not without significantly dipping into the "young core" that we know Schlenk has also indicated with some passion that he wants to see play together, particularly now that Capela--who I refer to as Schlenk's Bogut--has been obtained.
Best opportunity is Brandon Ingram, but NOP and NYK are both almost certainly ahead of us in that line. (Failing a NYK offer, though, the only reason for Schlenk not to pursue Ingram would be if he views Ingram as fool's gold... which, in reality, is plausible, but not probable.)
Next best opportunity is trading for Victor Oladipo, but that's even less likely to occur if one is prone, like I am, to believe that IND isn't going to accept what a player in his condition and for only one year of contract is soberly worth.
Next best opportunity is Gordon Hayward, but that's even still less likely to occur, essentially for the same reason that a Dipo trade isn't likely. The only shot at Hayward, in my calculus anyway, is if somehow the amnesty thing evolves into being, he's let go, and then we would bid, and win that bid. So as convoluted as it would be to get Dipo for something close to his real value in his condition, Hayward is a step beyond that because it would require a whole other development that for now is not developing.
So, I circle back to what Schlenk has said. Again. Which is that he's explicitly interested to look for players at the end of their rookie contracts and that his scouting and that of his staff has rendered as being on the cusp of taking the next significant step in their development.
Again again... not much to pick from, even when you drop back to that list. Starts with the RFAs. Dunn... Beasley... Saric... Poeltl.
And whatever you do, given that that tier of players are not elite, it has to be done in a contract that doesn't impose on the potential to still yet acquire next off-season an established top-tier player.
Dunn, imo, will end up with a starter role somewhere again, and probably a larger contract than makes sense for our purposes, given that Trae's minutes are sacred--hence the more reasonable approach to identify a talent that legitimately can get minutes both as Trae's back-up and at SG.
Beasley, imo, is not a serious consideration for the reason just stated, but also b/c whoever that guy is, he needs to be a considerable defensive asset, and the research on Beasley suggests he's just "meh." We need better than "meh" beside Trae, period.
Saric, imo, isn't someone at this point that seems likely to be anything more than he already is. So, yeah, he might be acquired I suppose, but he's well down the shopping list.
Finally, while I fully suspect Schlenk will continue to pursue Poeltl (as he reportedly did in February) to my mind, it's not that he's perceived as a possible top-tier talent of the future, but that he's an exceptional 20-ish minute guy to spell Capela's down time.
So who else can we consider?
Yep. By the process of elimination, the optimal option... for now, at least, but we'll see what fire sales might transpire once the post season is completed... is Lonzo Ball. Well, actually, no, there's two. Christian Wood has given reason for belief that he's set to ascend the ladder in a big way. I like that you can likely obtain both w/o actually imposing on your capacity next off-season to still pursue yet another high-tier talent if either or both of them don't continue to develop at the same trajectory as this season hinted they would.
Circling back to where this started... I hear that, yes, but I am not impressed that there are any other options that check the boxes. And I'm not impressed that anyone is actually legit who presents him/herself as having more insight into what Schlenk is thinking than what Schlenk himself is on the record as having explicitly said.
Maybe insight into what someone on the periphery perceives (?), but that's what we call hearsay, and there's a reason hearsay doesn't qualify as credible intel in courtrooms where big decisions are made. It's fun to see others' speculation, but at the end of the day, I feel entirely confident that Schlenk's thinking and whatever inner circle has special knowledge of his thinking are behind a fairly thick firewall.