Draft Night 2007

Kurt —  June 28, 2007

UPDATE: The Lakers first pick is Jarvis Crittenton, a 6-4 PG out of Georgia Tech. The upside is he can defend and is long, very athletic and the pick gives the Lakers two young PGs to develop. There are questions about his decision-making and if he can shoot consistently, and one blogger I really trust has big concerns.

That said, I like the pick. He was likely the best player left on the board at one of two need positions, and there was nobody at the other positions that was a guy you had to get. You only take a big if there is one worth taking, and nobody left on the board impressed.

This selection does raise the question about the effort to get Theodoros Papaloukas (scan down this post for more). Would the Lakers use all three at PG, with the elder Papaloukas mentoring the two youngsters? Is there enough playing time for all of them?

UPDATE 2: Sun Yue is the guy the Lakers take with the 40th pick. Some quick research shows him as a point/forward who played in the ABA last year. As I said below, second round picks will have a hard time making this team, maybe he hangs on and gets to spend a year in the D-League.

UPDATE 3: The Lakers got Gasol!!! Oh, not that Gasol. Instead the Lakers took Marc Gasol from Spain with the 48th pick. He’s the brother of Pau and is a 7-0 center. The book on him is he is smart and fundamentally sound, but not very athletic. May be good guy at the end of the bench, if he can make the team. Thoughts from those of you who have seen him in Europe?


It’s going to be an exciting draft, but probably not in the way Laker fans had hoped for. Heading into the draft, here’s what I think we know:

1) There will be big trades tonight, but almost certainly not involving the Lakers.

2) The Blazers will take Oden, the Sonics Durant, and then who knows.

3) The Lakers have made an offer to Theodoros Papaloukas, a 30-year-old PG playing for CSKA Moscow. He is listed at 6-7 and is considered a top PG in Europe. Rather than me speculating, I’ll ask our very knowledgeable European readers to chime in on this. It is allegedly a multi-year deal, where he and Farmar would share PG duties.

4) If the Lakers use both their second-round picks, don’t count on them making the team. Right now the Lakers have 10 guys under contract for next year, a resigned Luke Walton means 11. The guy drafted in the first round becomes 12. Someone picked up with the mid-level exception is 13. Chris Mihm could be 14. And we haven’t even gotten into trades yet. The Lakers only plan to carry 14 players next year, leaving maybe one, maybe no roster spots for any second rounders. (The reason for carrying just 14, not the max 15, is to have room to pick up a Chris Webber type who is let go. Last season the Lakers would have had to buy out Aaron McKie to do that.)

5) The Lakers say they don’t want another young guard to bring along. That implies they are leaning toward drafting a big. Of course, that not what the draft guides think they will do:

Draft Express
: Rudy Fernández, SG, Spain

Chad Ford (ESPN.com): Rudy Fernández, SG, Spain

Chris Ekstrand (Sports Illustrated): Gabe Pruitt, PG, USC

NBAdraft.net: Rudy Fernández, SG, Spain

Plissken at the Buzzer (that would be Chopperdave from the comments, if you didn’t know): Marco Belinelli, SG, Italy

That is a sampling; there are more mocks than I could possibly link to. I’d be happy with Rudy Fernandez, personally. But if the Lakers are going to go big, if that is the goal, then maybe BC’s Sean Williams is the call. I think the Bill Simmons/Chad Ford mock yesterday said it well about him — this guy is going to be a star or a bust. There is no middle ground, whoever picks him could be called brilliant in a couple years or could be mocked for wasting the pick on a guy already out of the league. But for the Lakers, maybe that’s the kind of risk they need to take.

So, everyone, let’s talk draft. The Lakers as an organization have a lot of big decisions to make in the coming weeks, but for one night we can dream about a young player who goes on to become one of our fan favorites.

226 responses to Draft Night 2007

  1. Is anyone else a little upset that this organization wasn’t able to pull off any movement on draft day?

    When you know your team is in disarray, and you have some pieces on your team that could be used in a smaller scale deal or two… why can’t you get anything done???

    Teams like Portland, Charlotte, Golden State, Chicago, Boston, and Seattle have made some nice moves in the draft over the past couple years to make themselves competitive for the upcoming years.

    Typical Mitch Kupchak, play it safe. It’s like a repeat of last year… “We were amazed this caliber of player fell to the 19th pick”. What a douche bag.

    Keep chasing the “blockbuster deal” Mitch. If we end up getting a superstar player on this team, we’re going to give up WAY too much with Mitch at the helm. And that’s IF we get a superstar.

    I would walk away if I were Kobe.

  2. I am not a conspiracy theorist at all, but the Lakers/Kobe/Buss/Phil sure have done a hell of a job keeping the Lakers at the top of the headlines during the NBA Finals, NBA Draft, and Stanley Cup (ha!). For a fringe playoff team with nothing really going for it lottery wise, not a bad little PR move, don’t you think?

    I honestly think the only two teams who could get KG are Golden State and the Lakers.

    That $10 million trade exception the Warriors got in the Richardson deal are going to help out TREMENDOUSLY. However, they would probably have to give up Biedrins, Ellis, Brandan Wright and future picks to get KG. Are they willing to do that? Not sure.

    Since Minnesota has made it pretty clear that they want expiring contracts as opposed to All-Stars back in return for KG, the Lakers look okay. I know LO isn’t expiring, but he only has two years left.

  3. To follow up on (201), my frustration is that these players we selected are all VERY young. Prospects with upside once again. What are we doing with these prospects with FUTURE upside???

    Once again we’re stuck between this win now and win later mentality. I really hope they plan on either trading youth away, or trading Kobe. Kobe won’t be happy with the status quo.

    Trades with younger teams CAN happen. Charlotte, Atlanta, Portland, Milwaukee, Philly, and Seattle are all teams that are looking to build on youth. SO, let’s give them what they want and get some experience back!

  4. .
    The Lakers had Crittenton ranked far higher than 19th, but some of that probably is because he ran the triangle in high school. That’s a huge factor, because it means he would be able to step in with a lot more familiarity than the average rookie. What remains to be seen is how it will impact Jordan Farmar. Perhaps not coincidentally, Farmar showed up for an on-court workout just as the draft was wrapping up. Farmar is a gym rat anyway, but the timing probably wasn’t a coincidence.

  5. I think if we look at the bigger picture, last night was a big success for the team.

    1. KG did not go to Phoenix. That alone is a massive win for us. And, it now looks very unlikely that he can get there. Because Minnesota refuses to take on Marion and Phoenix refuses to give Amare, the only way KG ends up in Phoenix is if a third team facilitates. Minnesota wanted picks, young players, and cap room. So, Phoenix was actively trying to use Atlanta, Charlotte, and Boston to make the deal work. With the Ray Allen and Jason Richardson deals, Boston and Charlotte now can’t help Phoenix out. Atlanta scored in the draft and appears unlikely to get involved. So unless Minnesota agrees to take Marion or Phoenix agrees to give Amare (both unlikely), Phoenix looks out of the running. This is a big win for us.

    2. Assuming Kobe didn’t ruin our chances at Garnett with their “phone call,” we now have the best 2 way offer. GS has a big trade exception from the Richardson deal (9.9M), but can’t use it directly in a KG deal — they must turn it into a big expiring deal. Those big expiring contracts are Ratliff, Kwame, and Kurt Thomas — none will be available to GS. So, their best offer probably must involve Harrington and Ellis/Wright. Harrington’s deal is long and large — likely prohibitive to Minnesota. Dallas also is involved, but they only have long term contracts to make salaries work. So, I think we can trump either with Odom/Bynum/Kwame. Odom’s deal is only 2 years and Bynum is better than the young players others can offer — now that the lottery picks don’t appear to be in play. We are also the only team that can offer to take back Hudson/Jaric in a deal. So, if KG is willing to come and Minnesota is desperate, we should be involved again.

    3. Crittenton fell to us. While we agree he might not be nba-ready, he is a tremendous trade asset for us. The teams we most want to deal with (Minnesota, Indy, Sacramento) all need a point guard. We can offer Crittenton (the unanimous third best PG in the draft), or Farmar in a deal. And hopefully add the Greek as a veteran starter. Indy didn’t trade into the draft and neither Minnesota or Sacramento took a point guard. We can now offer Indy something like: Kwame/Bynum/Crittenton for Oneal, and Sacramento: Kwame/Crittenton for Artest. I think we greatly improved our tradeable assets in the draft.

    4. Gasol and Sun provide frontcourt depth. Any big deal for us will deplete our frontline depth as we’d be giving multipe players from Kwame/Bynum/Odom. Gasol appears nba-ready, even if he has a relatively low ceiling, and can be a nice backup with Turiaf off the bench.

    So, while not making a big deal last night was disappointing, I think we improved our ability to do so. And, remember, KG is still available and Phoenix now looks out of play. Think how disastrous things looked on that front a day or two ago.

  6. The Lakers are in the worst position possible…A tradtion of greatness, people in the organization who think the team is closer to being a championship contender then it really is, and a medicore record that does not lead to an influx of new talent.

    The teams below the Lakers are improving and the Lakers are now more of a lottery team then a playoff contender. They need to bottom out and get the top picks which should never be a discussion in Laker land, or start working some salary cap magic to sign some free agents.

    While we concentrate on trades, why cant we sign FAs like Billups or Lewis etc. That is the way to improve to the point that it matters.

    Kobe has a right to be upset, but he needs to be a leader. Forget the past and do what you can to bring the team back even if it is taking longer then you thought.

    We really need a new GM.

  7. Reed- that was an excellent post, I have some hope.

  8. Carter (203, 201) I agree with you on some points. Kupchak seems to overlook smaller trades to pick up veterans or cap space. That has been my biggest problem with him he seems content with picking up fringe players, like cook and sasha. Why not use these players in trades to pick up veteran players that can help out. However, what trades are available right now that make the team better. The two biggest things the lakers need now are interior defense and rebounding and exterior defense. But I don’t know who is available that can fill either of those two spots. The problem is that the lakers are stuck in between being contenders and completely rebuilding. They are a fringe team. They have arguably the best player in the league in his prime so they can not completely rebuild but they do not have the pieces to put around him to make a contender. It’s a tough situation with no easy answer.

  9. Reed, I was just coming on to say something similar. I was a little dissapointed that we didn’t seem to move anywhere last night, but the more I think about it, Crittenton was a great pick up. He was definitely best available (think back to Ford’s tier article, he was the one tier 4 guy that slipped through the cracks), so if a team’s looking to get a young PG with big upside, outside of Crittenton probably has the second most potential of any PG in the draft. He should be a great trade asset down the road.

  10. Trying to read into Mitch’s quotes and actions from last night…

    I think they’ve more or less given up on KG and have put most of their attention on JO. Bird/Walsh have made it clear they want Odom and Bynum, but have also indicated they don’t care much for Odom’s contract. So the move that may be most palatable to them is Bynum + ending contracts + #19 for JO. Unfortunately, the Lakers have only one big ending contract – Kwame – and a bunch of smaller ones, some of which have strings attached (Cook) and others that stink (Vlad). Crittenton is the key since he has triangle experience. If he shows in summer league that he can run the offense, it’ll be Farmar that gets traded, not Javaris.

    So after July 11, a trade could look like this: Bynum, Brown, Cook (BYC), Evans, and Farmar for O’Neal. Sound like too much? The Lakers lineup could be Mihm/Magloire, O’Neal, Odom, 24, and Crittenton/free agent. Walton, Vlad, Vujacic, Turiaf off the bench.

  11. Exactly Ryan. Fringe is the word.

    They need to make a decision… spend the money and win now, or gut the team and win later. You can’t win in this league by doing things half way.

    Teams like Chicago, Portland, Atlanta, Charlotte, Toronto, Memphis, New Orleans, and Seattle started from scratch and have very nice rosters that will be able to compete in 2-3 years. They all made some nice moves to get high picks in the first round in stead of waiting for late first rounders.

    Make a decision Buss.

  12. excellent post Reed, I agree with Kwame A., I too have much more hope now. If it is indeed between us and GState now, is KG really going to want to go there? I thought the whole point of him leaving Minnesota was to have a chance at a ring. He clearly would have a better chance here than in Oakland. Mchale OWES it to KG to put him in position to win a ring. KG has been too loyal to them. For them to just sit back now and do nothing to help KG out, why should he help them out and not opt-out?

  13. Trade Kwame, Bynum, and Sasha for Pao Gasol.

    They get a young big man and cap relief next year. We get our win now team.

  14. Reed’s points are well-taken, and I am not giving up. If McHale looks at it non-linearly, he could project Odom as a trade asset with a huge expiring contract year after next.

    That said, I think the more likely scenario is a package without Odom for JO and signing Papaloukas. I think someone–Dallas, PHX, CHI–will still swoop in and get Garnett, and adding Papaloukas and JO while keeping Odom would placate Bryant.

    I am not high on Crittenton. Saw him play twice and also read Hollinger’s and Clipper Blogs analysis.

  15. Everyone is using Bynum as the 1st asset to trade. The reason other GM want him is that they know…
    1) he is only 19, with minimal basketball experience
    2) he shows real potential and ability to learn
    3) they recognize that the reason he tailed off last year was that the Lakers overused him. Remember #1.

    With a careful plan of development over the next 2 yrs I suspect Bynum will reach his potential. Since we have already invested 2 yrs, the fans are no longer patient. I only hope the FO does not have this shortsighted view.

  16. As much as I am dissapointed in Kupchak right now, when you think about it, he is negotiating with Indiana the right way.

    If he would have given Odom and Bynum for JO 3 weeks ago, then KG had become available, we would have felt like jackasses.

    Also, he is right, moving Odom and Bynum would be a lateral trade that would not improve the team. So the way we convince Indiana to back off and take one or the other is to make it damn clear to them that we are not interested in Odom and Bynum for JO. Eventually they should cave in.

    And even if they don’t cave in, we have til the end of summer to see whats up with KG and if nothing happens, we can always call Indiana at the last second and say Ok lets do this.

  17. Mitch has to dig us out of the leverage hole that Kobe dug us into

  18. Javaris Crittenton NBAdraft.net Comparison: Steve Francis
    Ruven Comparison: Smush Parker (rich mans, much better attitude)

    Strengths: Tremendous combination of size, athleticism and playmaking ability … Quick first step … Excellent vision and passing skills … His size allows him to see over defenders and make passes that the average 6-2 PG could not … Shows great heart, very competitive. Wont back down from a challenge … Very quick, an elite level athlete … Loves to dunk on players … Excellent body strength … Rhythm shooter, with good slashing and scoring ability … His huge hands give him excellent control of the ball … Very unselfish player … Excellent foot speed, overall quickness and effort makes him a tough defensive player … Works hard to improve his game, very coachable … Has a great attitude, confident but not cocky …

    Weaknesses: Needs to improve upon his outside shot, which is solid but can improve … Can be too unselfish at times trying to get everyone involved when he is the top scoring option … Can be too aggressive defensively and get caught reaching, picking up unnecessary fouls … Needs to prove himself on the college level. Become a great decision maker and learn to lead a team on the next level …His ability to play the point guard position is very good, but he can continue to improve upon dictating tempo and learning the nuances of the position …

  19. News …

    The Charlotte Bobcats waived veteran Brevin Knight on Friday, leaving the team without a backup point guard.

  20. News ..

    the Suns will ship forward James Jones to the Blazers – a deal that will net Phoenix future considerations.

  21. Reed, I think your analysis is right on… even if we did get better simply by standing still.

    Like Kwame, I have hope.

  22. reed, skigi,

    I was watching the draft last night and I was very happy with what transpired. I think you hit the nail on the head reed, with the best thing about the night being our main competion for KG making moves to take themselves out of the running. I honestly feel that it’s between the Lakers, Golden State, and Chicago. The fact that our “big” contract that we send back (LO) is only two years, as opposed to the longer contracts of other players, and our young prospect is a center, gives us the advantage.

    An another topic, people have a tendency to rip Mitch unjustly for not making deals. To me, it would cause more harm than good to make these “fringe” deals. And I think most of you forget, Mo Evans was a fringe deal last year that worked out well. The thing is, we’re basically a roster of “fringe” guys. Mitch hanging back waiting for a big hit is really what we need, not more role guys.

    What we need now is a veteran combo guard to handle the ball a la Ron Harper and a player who can score in the post. Life became jump shots and beat downs in the lane for the Lakers on offense last year because teams could collapse on us.

    If we get someone who is a threat to score inside, it should provide more space and EASIER opportunities for Kobe and company.

    All in all, last night was a success in my book.

  23. The Lakers are clearly looking to make major trades, but also to avoid blunders. In the last weeks, they have avoided both KG and JO blunders without losing them as trade possibilities. They are still in the game.

    The Lakers don’t HAVE to trade anyone. Their “pressure” year is next year. The T’Wolves and Pacers are really under more business pressure this year. So when is the best time? Whenever there is a deal that works both for basketball and for business.

    Judging by their comments, Phil and Kobe have the least patience. They want time to prepare for next year now. Many Laker bloggers have even less patience.

    The T’Wolves had a mandate to trade KG before the draft–but they couldn’t–primarily for business reasons. Many factors, including KG’s requirements, point to the Lakers or nothing as a destination for KG this year–but that doesn’t mean it happens today–or that it happens at all. Sometimes reality needs to ripen–and time is now on the Lakers side.

    If you look to last year’s trade geniuses (Detroit, Denver, Golden State), they all did it mid season. Dumars of Detroit, the most successful, always does it mid season. I’m not sure it will take that long, and maybe it won’t be Garnett, but the Lakers have a number of potential trade possibilities to ponder. Let’s hope they make exactly the right trade(s) at exactly the right time.

  24. drrayeye,

    Nice post.


    Maybe you can clear this up for me, but for Chicago to make a trade for KG they would either have to send Ben Wallace or a signed and traded PJ Brown or Andres Nocioni to make the salaries work, correct? Now, the player has to agree to be traded for it to work, I think. If so, I can’t see Brown or Nocioni agree to go to Minny. That kind of takes them out of the running.

    Golden State is the only team I worry about.

  25. PJ Brown might agree to a sign-and-trade because it would be his last big pay day.

    And I agree GS with Monta (my favorite non-Laker), Biedrins, and now Brandan have as good young talent as anyone.

  26. Drew Boy,
    You are absolutely right. Would Nocioni or PJ Brown agree to a sign and trade to go to Minnesota ? I don’t think so.

    Would Minnesota even want Ben Wallace or PJ or Nocioni? I don’t think so.

    If they were that valuable, we would have traded Kobe for them.

    Its either GState, the Lakers, or go back to Minnesota.