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?

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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.

Kurt

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