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Lakers news: Lonzo Ball favorite to win NBA Rookie of the Year in ESPN forecast

It has been an interesting and exciting summer, to say the least for the Los Angeles Lakers. After winning only 26 games last season, the storied NBA franchise was headed to the NBA Draft Lottery once again with hopes of keeping their top-three protected pick.

Fortunately for Magic Johnson and company, Los Angeles was able to do just that and as a result may have struck gold with Lonzo Ball at No. 2 overall. The UCLA product then became a huge draw for the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas in which he led the Lakers to a title as the Summer League MVP.

Heading into his first season with the Lakers, Ball will be in the running for NBA Rookie of the Year and the ESPN Forecast panel believes he’s the favorite to do so.

Though his electric play in summer league certainly played a role in shaping our expectations as he averaged 16.3 points, 9.3 assists and 7.7 rebounds, perhaps the biggest reason Ball enters as a Rookie of the Year favorite is simply opportunity. Luke Walton will let Ball play through his mistakes and he will have the ball in his hands a ton.

Ball will have plenty of competition to earn Rookie of the Year honors during the 2017-18 NBA season. Lonzo will go up against Ben Simmons (Philadelphia 76ers), Dennis Smith Jr. (Dallas Mavericks), De’Aaron Fox (Sacramento Kings), Josh Jackson (Phoenix Suns), and Markelle Fultz (Philadelphia 76ers) as the most notable rookies that will be in the running for the regular season award.

Other rookies that could make an impression next season and received votes in this panel include Milos Teodosic (Los Angeles Clippers) Donovan Mitchell (Utah Jazz), Jayson Tatum (Boston Celtics), Lauri Markkanen (Chicago Bulls), and Malik Monk (Charlotte Hornets).