Early Draft Thoughts

Kurt —  April 5, 2006

With a few days off for the team, and the NCAA tournament just concluded, I felt like looking ahead to the draft and what kind of players might be around for the Lakers to get.

My first thoughts: It’s not great. This is considered a weak draft, and after looking at what might be around when the Lakers draft 26th (the Miami pick), what I see are really second-round guys. Basically, we’re talking about someone whose contributions will be more Sasha or Turiaf level, not much immediate help.

Here’s a preliminary list of a few guys who may be around by then, focusing on the two needs the Lakers have, a triangle-style point guard and a big man. The names come from the current predictions on NBADraft.net, however I looked around the web to learn more about the ones I haven’t seen. Which is a lot of them. And the disclaimer is that players will move up and down the board between now and June, and the Lakers could too — plus who knows how trades could change our needs. This is just a starting point.

Richard Roby, 6-6 guard, Colorado: He was the offensive leader for the Buffs, and can shoot the ball from the outside (35.6% from three point range) plus had a true shooting percentage of 54.2%. He’s quick and he’s long. However, his defense has been a question mark, and do the Lakers need another guy who can shoot but not defend the perimeter?

Maurice Ager, 6-5 guard, Michigan State: Maybe even a better shooter than Roby — shot 37.6% from beyond the arc and had a true shooting percentage of 58.1%. He’s long, as well. The couple times I saw him play I liked him, but he’s not a great ball handler. I thought his defense was good, but scouts say he needs to work on it and I’ll trust their judgment over me watching in a bar.

Rudy Fernandez, 6-6 guard, Spain: A Chad Ford Euro special. Apparently he can shoot, ball handle and is athletic but is a little thin. Reading scouting reports on him reminds of the Sasha V. reports.

Josh Boone, 6-10 power forward/center, UConn: A beast on the boards, particularly the offensive ones — he grabbed 13% of the available offensive rebounds this season. Not shockingly, most of his points seem to come from put backs or inside passes he just has to dunk. Also a good shot blocker. The knock on him is desire, like much of the UConn team, he seems to take nights off. Of course, that was the knock last year on Charlie Villanueva, and he turned out to be a steal.

Hilton Armstrong, 6-11 center, UConn: Boone’s teammate, he is also a beast on the board — pulled down 16.8% of defensive rebounds, 8.1% of offensive ones — plus is a great shot blocker. But, like Boone, not considered polished on offense, although he did shoot 60% from the floor last season. Could he play alongside Bynum in a few years (or be his backup)? With few quality big men in this draft, he may not be around for the Lakers.

Paul Davis, 6-11 Center, Michigan State: I have to say I liked what I saw from him this season and think he will be a good backup center in the league. He shot a respectable 58% on the season, plus grabbed 24.5% of defensive rebounds and 11.3% of offensive ones. Not athletic enough to defend the best centers, but he isn’t bad. For the Lakers, a team that needs depth up front, he’s a solid option.

Kevin Pittsnogle, 6-10 power forward, West Virginia: NBADraft.net has the Lakers taking this guy, but after watching him in the tourney I don’t see it. I think he’s a poor man’s Brian Cook. Great outside jumper and range, but not much inside presence. And way less athletic than Cook — who is this guy going to defend?