Sure, right now the Laker roster has more small forwards on it than Lindsay Lohan has pictures on the Internet. Well, at least it seems that way. But I would not be shocked if come draft day the Lakers add another one, even in the first round.
And it may not be a bad thing. The Lakers may have a ton of threes, but if they end up trading Butler and another couple guys (despite Mitch Kupchakâ€™s denials) adding a versatile athlete who can fit in the triangle with Kobe and Lamar is not a bad idea. There are a couple of options out there.
Gerald Green. Remember when Jerry Buss sent Kupchak into the lionsâ€™ den late last season, telling him to preside over a meeting with season ticket holders? Among the most interesting things Mitch said that night was he was very interested in a particular high school player â€” I thought it was a smoke screen at first, but it appears not. If the Lakers end up trading up to the 3/4/5 spot, Green may be the Lakers choice (if not a point guard). This is a 19-year old high schooler (the new draft rules would not have affected him) who is considered maybe the best athlete in the draft but very raw. Last year he averaged 33 points, 12 rebounds and 7 assists per game. Hereâ€™s my thing with high schoolers â€” itâ€™s more about their mental makeup. Theyâ€™ve got to have the physical skills or they wouldnâ€™t be considered, but does the kid have maturity about him and a good work ethic? Kobe did. Garnett did. LeBron did. You get the idea. I donâ€™t know about Green, but the Lakers need a good answer to this question first.
Danny Granger. He would fit the triangle well because his game is versatile â€” he can distribute the ball and hits the boards hard. Also a good shot blocker and defender. Oh, and he can score, too. Everybody likes him, the only knock may be heâ€™s had some back issues in college. Iâ€™m not opposed to this, but if you take him youâ€™ve got to clear out room on the roster for him.
Martell Webster. Another high schooler who may go in the lottery, and whose stock is rumored to be rising. Webster is considered less athletic but a better pure shooter than Green. However, his defense is questionable. Good NBA body. Hmmm, a good shooter who doesnâ€™t care about defense in the triangle? Maybe he is the second coming of Glenn Rice. While not a bad pick if the Lakers take him Iâ€™d be surprised.
In my look at point guards I mentioned a couple of potential second round picks for the Lakers. Here are a few more names just for fun.
Salim Stoudemire, PG. He may not be on the board when the Lakers draft in the second round, but if he falls that far how can you pass up a guy at that point you know can score? Scouts say heâ€™s the best shooter in the draft, and after watching him torch UCLA for a couple of years I know he can hit the NBA three consistently. He may be a three-point specialist, but thatâ€™s not a bad thing. He may well not be around, though.
Randolph Morris, PF/C. Heâ€™s just a freshman out of Kentucky, but at 6-10, 260 the Lakers can wait a year or two for him to develop. He shows flashes but then takes games off, is that youth or his personality? With the new NDBL rules this might be a great second round pick, take him and let him develop in another league and bring him up if and when heâ€™s ready.
Dwayne Jones, PF/C. Played for St. Joeâ€™s in Philly so we out West donâ€™t see him much if at all. Thin but tall, 6-10, 240. He plays defense and rebounds, but is offensive game is weak. However, a big guy who could play good D and grab some boards for 10-15 minutes a game (in a year or so) isnâ€™t a bad second round grab.
Mile Ilic, C. The last Yugoslavian center the Lakers drafted turned out pretty good. Heâ€™s 7-1, 240, so some bulk would be nice, especially since the book is heâ€™s soft. This would be another draft of potential, someone who needs a few years to see if he can play in the NBA.
Ronny Turiaf, PF. I loved his energy and attitude at Gonzaga â€” heâ€™s got a mean streak. Scouts say heâ€™s raw and inconsistent, but this is a guy who is going to work hard (you can teach skills). Heâ€™s what you want in an 11th or 12th guy on the bench because heâ€™ll bust his butt in practice. I like the guy, but in the NBA his best case scenario is still energy guy on the bench, if youâ€™re drafting on potential there is more out there.