Notes at 3 am — Draft Thoughts

Kurt —  May 24, 2006

Let’s start some draft and free agent talk and thoughts, basically some thinking out loud as we start to hear about workouts and look at prospects.

• By the way, wise Portland fans are putting a good face on yesterday. Now, if this were next year and Greg Oden was in the draft…..

• In the comments yesterday Gatinho pointed to something saying the Lakers may take Kentucky’s Rajon Rondo. After seeing a couple games this season, reading the scouting reports and a few reports from workouts, here are my thoughts — GM’s love the idea of Rondo because they think he can be the next Devin Harris/Leandro Barbosa. He’s lightning fast in a league where perimeter quickness is becoming the priority. Just one problem — he can’t shoot. He got benched this past college season because he can’t shoot outside. He’s gotten the yips when covered in workouts for pro teams.

Which brings us to the Lakers — they don’t need a guy to penetrate, that’s what Kobe and Lamar do, using a size and speed mismatch. What the Lakers do need is a guy who can shoot. That said, I don’t think the issue of taking Rondo will be one the Lakers will face, he will not be around at 26, look for him to go in the top 15 because speed is the rage.

• Update: DraftExpress has the Lakers taking Rudy Fernandez in the first round, a 21-year-old guard playing in Spain, and a guy that has gotten a lot of love from the overseas readers at the site in the past.

• I’m on the “take the best player available” boat with the Laker pick, but all things being equal I take a 4/5 over a guard. We’d rather have a veteran free agent guard.

• Mike James and Bobby Jackson should be on that free agent guard list, but both are over 32, so a two-year deal with the Laker option for the third is about as long as I go.

• What is the fascination among some Laker fans with getting Kareem Rush back, in my mind he was traded for a couple second round picks and that was a steal for the Lakers.

You say Rush is a good shooter? No, he has a good but not great shot. He has hit 34.8% from three-point range over his career but doesn’t do well inside the arc, 43%, and doesn’t get to the line that often, giving him a career true shooting percentage of 44.7%, well below average the time he has been in the league. Last year in Charlotte, 8.1% of his possessions ended in an assist, 10.5% ended in a turnover.

And I don’t think anyone is going to say he has been a good defender. So, what’s the attraction? You don’t have to teach him the triangle? He’s better than what we have now? That’s not good enough if you’re building this team toward a title. I’d rather teach someone with potential than to bring Rush back.

• The more stuff I read, and from what I saw this season, I like Michigan State’s Maurice Ager more and more. The problem is he is not the answer at the point, not quick enough to defend the one, so he’s really be another swing man, a spot the Lakers are loaded. I’m not sure the Lakers can take him at 26 but he may well not be there at 51. A guy who can shoot the ball at the NBA three under pressure and hit them is always in demand.

• Who else are you hearing good things about?