Movin’ On Up?

Kurt —  June 26, 2006

Update: Well, really there is nothing to update. Mitch Kupchak talked with the media yesterday (you can read about it here or here) and said nothing new or exciting. He’d like to move up but doesn’t expect to. He said they would take the best player available at 26, but don’t expect said player to contribute much next season. The only new name was Mike Gansey, a “poor man’s JJ Redick” who shot an impressive 42.9% from three, 65% (eFG%) overall and had an amazing offensive rating of 122. He prefers the spot up to shooting off the dribble. He was the outside to Kevin Pittsnogle’s inside at West Virgina (same school as Jerry West). Not athletic enough to be a great defender in the NBA. Basically, I’d take him in the second round as a shooter but not the first, we need a better defender. But the name is out there. Aside that, this post remains pretty much the state of affairs. Remember, open thread on the draft starts tomorrow afternoon.

It’s that time of year, draft rumors are being passed around like a joint at a Cypress Hill concert.

I’m not going to discuss every rumored scenario out there — for a roundup of the fun check out the latest Carnival of the NBA, where Jeff at Celtics Blog does it draft style and has a great roundup. Draft rumors can be found a lot of places right now, I’m not sure how serious any of those are.

That said, I think it’s safe to say the Lakers have talked about moving up the draft board, that’s been reported too many places to be completly made up. Here’s my theory: They want to see how far they could move up for Mihm and the 26th pick (and maybe some other guys like Sasha or Von Wafer thrown in). If that can get them Brandon Roy they will do it, if not they will live with the 26th pick. Now, that’s the rare piece of speculation from me, but it seems to make the most sense in my mind based on needs and who they worked out.

This is the most difficult to judge draft in a while at the top, so maybe they can do it, but apparently a deal for the Hawks to take Roy at 5 and trade him to the Rockets is close to in place. So the Lakers would need to go top 4, and as much as I like Mihm I doubt he gets you there.

Check back here for updates — if anything looks like it is becoming serious we’ll break it down. And Wednesday come by for a draft open thread, where we will talk about what the Lakers do and laugh at whatever the Trailblazers do.

Assuming the Lakers are staying at 26, I think they need to take the best available player, regarless of position. The good news is, most of the guys left will be swingmen/points. Here is a list of guys that they may be able to get:

James White: Rumor now is on a couple sites that this is the Lakers’ guy, that he blew them away in his workout (be cautious as there are a lot of smokescreens out this time of year). He is 6-7 and amazing athlete, maybe the best in the draft, and played at Cincinnati. He had a team best (and very good) offensive rating of 114.3 (points per 100 possessions used), shot 55% (eFG%), shot 34.7% from three and grabbed 12% of the defensive rebounds available. Big finisher at the basket. His athleticism is supposed to make him a good defender, even on smaller quicker guys (but what about the Nash/Bibby/Parker type?). I’m picturing him as a backup to Kobe to start, although if he can defend he could play the point.

Kyle Lowry: If there was one guy I could reasonably choose to fall to 26, this would be my choice, I think we need this kind of defender, but the fact he keeps falling down the draft board may mean GMs saw stuff they didn’t like in workouts (or others just looked better).

Maurice Ager: This 6-5 Michigan State guy would be a good wing player in the tri and can score starting day one in the NBA. Some concerns about his defense in scouting reports, although he looked solid in the couple games I saw.

Shannon Brown: Another Michigan State guy, he’s 6-3 and had a slightly better offensive rating and slightly better rebounding percentage than Ager. Shot 39% from three-point range. Considered a good defender.

Alexander Johnson: You just can’t have enough athletic big men, but I’d be shocked if he fell to 26.

Daniel Gibson: The Texas guard is a good defender and loves the catch-and-shoot, so he strikes me as a great fit as a future triangle point.

Quincy Douby: no doubt he will be able to score, if he can defend he’d be a great fit.

Jordan Farmar: I love Farmar, but I don’t like him in the triangle. Offensive rating of 99 and he shot just 48% last year and turned the ball over too much. Maybe it was the ankles, but if they take him Farmar needs to blow me away at the Summer Pro League before I love this pick.

Guillermo Diaz: Another guy with amazing athletic skills (he was a world-class volleyball player). Considered raw but shot 36.3% from three-point range, with an overall shooting percentage of 49.9% (eFG%) and an offensive rating of 112.9. I’m not sure the Lakers need another young raw kid, but you can’t teach athleticism.

As a side note, Draft Express has the Lakers taking Renaldo Balkman out of South Carolina with their second round pick. That, of course, is a crapshoot, although you are always safe betting that Mitch will take a skinny two guard who can shoot but not defend. Balkman is an athletic swingman but with limited perimeter game right now, he was asked to play inside in college but is not likely to do that at the next level. He is 6-7 with a 7-1 wingspan and likes to run the floor. The kind of guy you can take a risk on and send to the NDBL to work on seasoning.