The Draft Outlook for the Los Angeles Lakers
*Photo via USA Today
This storied Los AngelesLakers franchise suffered their second straight dismal year. The Lakers didn’t have much optimism for reaching the playoffs, but did not expect to have the fourth worst record in the league. They caught some rough breaks having their Hall of Famer and player of the future, both go down with season ending injuries. Kobe Bryant had his season end prematurely in consecutive seasons, and the seventh overall pick last year, Julius Randle had his season end 14 minutes into his professional career. The combination of injuries and poor talent have the Lakers picking second in the draft, with that pick they’re left with plenty of options, and decisions to make.
The Lakers draft plans depend on a few variables, first if they decide to keep the pick they will choose the best available player left after the Minnesota Timberwolves. It is perceived that the T-Wolves will choose Karl-Anthony Towns first overall, leaving the Lakers with a likely choice of either center, Jahlil Okafor or point guard, DeAngelo Russell at number two. They are two great talents, but the feeling is the Lakers would take the size, because of the lack of a center, and the surprising productive play from second round pick Jordan Clarkson at point guard.
It would be a bit surprising if the Lakers selected Russell, but not shocking, as many believe he could be the most talented player in the draft. Los Angeles could also go in another direction by trading the number two pick. There have been rumors circulating around DeMarcus Cousins being available for a trade, which the Lakers could trade their pick for the established Cousins.
The Sacramento Kings owners have expressed they don’t want to trade Cousins, but the situation with he and Head Coach, George Karl could become too toxic, ending up with him being dealt. The Lakers would have the assets to get him. Now the Cousins’ deal is just a rumor, but the Lakers are in position to make other deals, especially because they own the 27th overall pick as well. If they keep the 27th pick look for them to draft players like Joseph Young, Delon Wright, Rashad Vaughn or Christian Wood.
The front office will have some draft day decisions to make on whether they want to keep gathering young talent for the future and develop them during Kobe’s last years, which I’m certain he doesn’t want, or trade their picks for established players to try and make one last playoff run. This is a proud franchise who is not accustomed to losing, there is a good chance they use their draft picks to gather talent for a quick fix to win now.