First Draft Thought

Kurt —  March 8, 2007

Since last night’s game is not worth discussing on any level, and others already are doing a great job finding the video evidence to question the Kobe suspension, I figured this was a good time to look ahead a little and see who the people who follow this stuff have the Lakers taking in the draft.

As of right now, the Lakers are picking 20th overall, which means one thing — take the best available player, regardless of position. There are no franchise guys to be found where the Lakers are picking, so you get the best guy you can.

The recently redone but always brilliant Draft Express has the Lakers taking 7-1 center Aaron Gray out of Pittsburgh. I haven’t seen him play, but Draft Express describes him as big, strong guy with soft hands — “He is a bear for opposing defenders to defend if they are trying to front or three quarter front him.” He also is a great rebounder. Downsides: He struggles even in college against guys who can face up or take him outside the block on defense.

Don’t like that? Well, NBAdraft.net has the Lakers taking the athletic shooting guard Nick Young out of USC. He is exciting to watch, can shoot (47% on threes this season) and can finish at the rim. Also, in watching him, he looks like he has the rare good mid-range game, something that would fit well in the triangle. The downside: As my Trojan fans friends will back up, he is inconsistent, not seeming focused every night. Particularly on defense. I personally have an aversion to guys who don’t bring it every game in college, some become great pros while others become way too comfortable with the NBA money and lifestyle. Young would be fun, however.

The Lakers should not draft a PG just because it’s a weakness — Smush may well be gone and Farmar will develop. I’d rather bring in a veteran with Farmar as the primary back up, developing into a starter. Another center makes some sense, Kwame is in his last year and is trade bait with the expiring deal, Bynum is clearly the man of the future but who can you get to back him up cheaply?

But at this point, you take the best player and fit him in, regardless of position. There are countless workouts and video sessions ahead as the list becomes refined, but those are two guys who may be around when the Lakers draft you may want to watch during thee NCAA Tournament. A few others: Tyler Hansbrough (North Carolina), Dominic James (PG Marquette), Alando Tucker (SF Wisconsin).

Any other suggestions?

Kurt

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25 responses to First Draft Thought

  1. What about Acie Law? He might be gone by 20…or Morris Almond (good shooter)?
    Jeff Green (G-Town, smart player)?

  2. Sometimes it’s weird how disparate the mock drafts are. NBADraft.net has Afflalo going 17th to the Clippers while Draft Express has him falling to the 2nd round. Which is it? And just to get the juices flowing of the people who are both Bruins and Lakers fans, do the Lakers take Afflalo if he’s still on the board or, if they want him, do they hope maybe he falls far enough that they can get him with their 2nd rounder from Charlotte?

  3. Afflalo is a Trajen Langdon type player and GM’s aren’t fooled by that anymore. He’s a much better defender, but for a so-called scorer he can only really spot up off double and triple screens. Don’t see him being any good on a team that asks him to create his own shot, but playing wiht a guy like kobe may not be bad because he will be asked to defend and hit open jumpers.

  4. As far as Aaron Gray, I’d rather re-sign Mihm for cheap then get Gray, he’s slower than Mihm (pre-injury) and doesn’t know our system. This team doesn’t need to get any younger, they need to get better in certain positions and prefereably that help would come from vets. We should be packaging players to get higher in the draft, or trade out, we don’t need anymore borderline 1st rd picks, we need to make some real decisoons ove rthe summer

  5. hoopsyhype has the LAkers picking PG Rodney Stuckey, a 6-4 Sophmore out of Eastern Washington. Wow, that sounds far fetched.

    Personally, I’d rather trade our first round pick for a deadeye shooter. I think Atlanta would give up Salim Stoudamire. Downside is we’d only get him for one year. He played with Luke at Arizona for two years, and if Atlanta throws in a second round pick, I’d make the trade.

  6. Of the draft sites, the guys at Draft Express tend to be the most accurate, they watch a lot of games and talk to scouts and others.

    Which leads to Afflalo, who I keep reading is a late first, more likely second rounder. ESPN’s Chad Ford (who talks to a lot of scouts) said Afflalo is a second rounder, that the Bruins the scouts like most is Collison. Kwame a. is right, he can’t create his own well shot in college (they run him off a lot of screens), in the NBA he needs to be the two guard with more of an Iverson type point, where he can spot up and knock down open shots, plus play defense, Or maybe he goes on a team with a Kobe/McGrady/LeBron three where again he can spot up.

    As for Rodney Stuckey, obviously never seen him play, but pretty much every board has him in the late teens. Must be able to play some.

  7. And I agree, this draft will not be what makes a big difference for the Lakers going into next season, They need to make a trade or find the money to sign a big free agent to make a move forward next season,

  8. I say we package the pick in a trade for some veteran help. We need to take advantage of Kobe’s prime and win right now. We don’t need another project right now, we have enough. And the Lakers don’t exactly have a good track record of picking late in the first round (other than Farmar). In recent years, we have drafted Sasha, Cook, Sam Jacobsen, Von Wafer, and others of that sort that have all been non-first round quality. I don’t think Kupchak is very good at draft picks.

    But if we were to keep the pick… I say take Afflalo. He can play D. We don’t need another Smush

  9. chris henderson March 8, 2007 at 6:48 pm

    I think Mitch has done a pretty good job when you look at how deep this team is. remember the first half of the season, with Mo Evans, Ronnie, Cook, and Farmar coming in off the nench, we had a formidable second unit.
    I also think that we have enough depth that we can pull off some kind of trade to bring in what we need, a real NBA starting PG, someone to run the offense, allowing Kobe,lamar, luke and andrew to play thier positions, and build our second unit with what’s left over, hopefully we keep Mo Evans, obviously Ronnie stays.
    lastly, aren’t we about to experience some cap space from brian grant/shaq days? this might be why we didn’t mortgage the farm to get Kidd, we do have some options this off season.

  10. DYi- I like Jeff Green too, also I like Tucker, the guy Kurt mentioned from Wisconsin. I think adding an athlete, similar to a Mo Evans is the best we can hope for in the draft, and having more energy guys, especially guys who can defend perimeter players will be key, because at somepoint kobe will be a permanent 3 and we’ll need other quality perimeter defenders.

  11. Kurt, who do you think are targets for a trade or a big free agent?

  12. There are a lot of local guys that should be on L.A.’s Radar (some of them they can get in the second round):

    1) Bobby Brown from Cal-State Fullerton: He’s a 6’3″ combo guard that plays in the mold of a Baron Davis/Monta Ellis. He was slow to develop so he ended up at Fullerton and because of it hasn’t gotten the national attention he deserves. But at summer games at UCLA a few years ago he KILLED Farmar and Gabe Pruit, leading many NBA scouts to claim him as the best PG in the west. He’s a PG that doesn’t really distribute the ball that well. That wouldn’t be so much of a problem in the Lakers system. I’ve seen him play, and I LOVE this kid. Check out his 47 point game from this season: http://youtube.com/watch?v=wV7gAHowAmQ

    2) Luc Richard From UCLA: I just watched this kid again tonight at the Pac-10 Tournament. His game reminds me so much of Ron Artest (a little weaker on offense than Ron, but stronger on the boards) except without the craziness that comes a long with having a guy like Artest. The Lakers love Artest, so why don’t they just take a chance and draft Luc-Richard?

    3) Nick Young-USC: He has the size and game to play two guard in the NBA. He can hit a jumper running off a screen, Shoot off the dribble, and finish around the basket. Unlike most college two guards, he also has a well polished low post game, able to hit back to the basket fade aways at will. I like his game a lot

    Players from the rest of the country they should consider:

    Either one of the Lopez Twins-Stanford: Saw both of those kids play tonight, and much like Andrew Bynum, they both have big time potential. The most surprising thing about the two of them is that they both are very mobil for their size. Right now Brock is better than Robin.

    Tyler Hansbrough-UNC: A Poor Man’s David Lee. The Lakers need a hustle guy to play next to Bynum. Hansbrough might be that guy.

    Tiago Splitter-Europe/Brazil: Think Anderson Varejao

    Marcus Williams-Arizona: Lanky wing with tons of versatility.

    Acie Law-Texas A&M: One of the top two PGs in the country. But not so sure if he would be a good fit for the Lakers system because of his lack of a three point shot

    DJ Augustine-Texas: The other top PG in the country. Has the shot to fit into the lakers system, but lacks good size.

    If he enters the draft (Even though he’s hurt), they might consider drafting Billy Walker. Dude was supposed to be a top 5 pick in this years draft if he didn’t tear his ACL. (See why the age rule is B.S. for some of these kids). I think he’ll recover fine, so to get a kid like him in the 20′s would be GREAT. He’s a vince carter type wing.

    Whatever the Lakers do, they should not draft Josh McRoberts from Duke. That guy is nothing more than a poor mans Chris Mihm.

    Personally I think that this is going to be the year where it is very difficult to predict who is drafting who. I have a feeling that their is going to be a lot of wheeling and dealing on draft day, so if Mitch is shrewd enough, he might be able to retool this team via the trade.

    As well, I still think the Lakers don’t really need anything other than a PG that can hit an open three and defend, and possibly a PF in the mold of David Lee who can offensive rebound, run the floor, and defend. Other than that the Lakers don’t need to do anything to this roster other than stay healthy. PG play and health are the main reasons the Lakers are having the troubles they are.

  13. I say we target a PG who can play D or a PF who can bang bodies.

    Regarding next year’s salary, we lose Grant’s $15MM, Mihm, McKie and others putting us at $57.66MM (we’re at $77.4MM this year).

    We have 9 players under contract next year, so will need to bring in 6 players with that $20MM difference. Walton hopefully being one of them, maybe Mihm.

  14. 13. But the salary thing is not that simple. Yes, this season there is $77 mission in salary, but none of Grant’s $15 mil counts against the luxury tax (thanks to that amnesty thing), but anyone you bring in to replace him does. Buss does not want to go over the luxury tax, which is $65.4 million this year and will go up a little next year. So it’s more like $10 million for those six players, and it’s probably going to take $5 mil a year to keep Walton, maybe more.

    Which is brings me to Goo’s question. The only difference maker point guards on the free agent market are Chancy Billups and Mo Williams, both of which will likely command more than the Lakers can pay, I think the Lakers will look for a trade, but I don’t know who is on the block. Maybe after a bad playoffs and losing Vince Carter to Orlando the Nets agree to give up Kidd for what was offered already, but it’s hard to say who will be available for trade. Especially with what the Lakers have to offer.

  15. I watched a little of Aaron Gray tonight on ESPN and the guy is going to have a career in the NBA as a solid backup center, but he is nothing special (save for being 7-1). I tend to agree with kwame a.;s comment that a resigned Mihm would be a better pick up than Gray. Unless you were going to trade away centers in a deal and not get one or more back.

    Also, I like Luc Richard’s hustle, but he doesn’t have a go-to post move and I’m not sold in the least that he’s much of an impact guy in the NBA. And he’s no Artest.

  16. Great breakdown Jones.

    I like Splitter and watched him play with team Brasil in the last Pan Am Games (which are a huge deal in Brazil) He is raw but he could become a Pau Gasol at worst and Dirk Nowtzki at best. The upside is always that futebol thing gives those Brazilians good footwork and he has the same motor that Verajao and Barbosa have.

    He seems willing to block shots and rebound and Dirk had to learn that stuff when he got to the NBA. He would be geat in the Triangle because he can pass and has a post game.

    He needs more bulk, but I would love for this team to draft a Brazilian so then all my Brazilian in-laws would become instant Laker fans. They’re killing me with the Suns and Barbosa.

  17. Thanks Jones, I agree with you on Bobby Brown, some team will be happy they have him.

    I know lots of you guys saw Nick Young last nite, he will not make it past the 20th pick, he has too much mid-range game, and can also hit from deep. If he improves shot selection, bulks up and can guard NBA 2′s he’ll be a player.

    Re- Hansborough: I don’t think he’s that atletic and I don’t think he can play the 4 in the NBA and he’s too small to play the 5.

    As far as free agent targets, how bout the other Bucks guard who torched us, Charlie Bell, he will be around the MLE and does all the things we talk about the PG doing for the Lakers, hit shots, make smart decisions with the ball and defend. Would anyone be willing to not resign Walton to get Bell?

  18. What would the asking price be for a Mo WIlliams?

    How about a Steve Blake?

    And since I’m a Pennsylvania grad, there’s this PG Jaffer…who’s 5th in the nation in steals…a good 2nd round possibility. Excellent athleticism, defense, ball-handling. Wait, do the Lakers even have a 2nd rounder this upcoming draft?

  19. “Wait, do the Lakers even have a 2nd rounder this upcoming draft?”

    They have 2. Their own and one from Charlotte from the Jumaine Jones trade. The Charlotte pick is likely going to be a very early 2nd rounder.

  20. We might be best served with second round picks, we got Luke, Ronny and Mo through our 2nd rd pick, maybe mitch is the best 2nd rd drafter ever

  21. (12) The fact that Bobby Brown has a career high of 47 is really exciting for me. Kurt you should know what I am talking about through your wifes pomona college connection :)

  22. 21. My wife was thrilled when our latest home phone number had 47 in it.

    And I love Brown as a player, he flies all over the place in Big West games and is by far the best player in the conference.

  23. good first half, shammond on fire, we need to stop their perimeter players in the 2nd half, kobes gonna hit 50 tonite

  24. yeah, that second half…uh, um…yeaah

  25. I liked the post about Tiago Splitter and the brazilians…
    but honestly, I don’t know if Tiago is our best pick.
    Unless we trade cook and vlad, then we would
    need a shooting SF.

    I say, draft the best defender possible, regardless
    of position.

    Look back to chicago’s 96 team, the best record ever.
    They had only 2 offensive weapons in the team’s starting
    line-up. Kukoc was a bench player. The other 3 guys –
    harper, rodman and luc, they didn’t score that much.
    But that team had 4 great defenders as starters.

    we draft a defender , step up our defense, then
    our offense will benefit.
    1) less anxiety to score, which leads to less stupid 3′s
    and better execution
    2) playoff wins
    3) championships.