“We have three picks, and if we bring back the players we want to we’ll have at least 13 players on our roster. It stands to reason that we’d look to either move a pick, trade a pick, exchange picks for future picks or pick a player and look for them to play overseas for at least a year.”
— Mitch Kupchak
That quote pretty much tells you all you need to know about what the Lakers are going to do in this draft. The Lakers have pick 29 in the first round, then 42 and 59 in the second round.
The first round pick comes with a guaranteed contract, something the Lakers are not going to take on for next season when they are trying to save cash. The Lakers cannot trade this pick — NBA rules prohibit trading first round picks in consecutive years, and the Lakers 2008 and 2010 picks go to Memphis as part of the Gasol deal.
So here’s my guess as to what the Lakers do with that first round pick:
1) They draft a college player in a pre-arranged deal with another team to trade said player for future picks.
2) They draft an international player that can be stashed in Europe for a year or two.
Three guys that may be around at 29 who are International players are:
Jonas Jerebko, 6-9, 210, the Swedish-born forward playing in Italy. He turned some heads at the recent Reebok Eurocamp, playing just one game but hitting 6 of 7 from the floor with 5 steals, 4 rebounds and 2 assists in 28 minutes. One of those makes was an honest-to-goodness skyhook. Considered a good defensive player who on offense has an effective but not very pretty shot, but mostly gets his points and chances on hustle plays. The comparison player is usually Thabo Sefolosha.
Nick Calathes, the 6-5, 185 point guard is an American playing in Greece. He strikes me as the kind of player the Lakers may want if they plan on sticking with the triangle — he’s more of a good spot-up shooter who can slash and finishes well at the rim. Last season he turned the ball over on 19% of his possessions. He can get out and run. If the name sounds familiar, he played a little at Florida. There are questions if he can defend the small, quick NBA PGs.
Rodrigue Beaubois, the 6-2, 180 point guard out of France. A little bit of an unknown who caught eyes at the Eurocamp. Really long wingspan. Some questions about the consistency of his handle and his shot, but has caught a lot of scout’s attention because he has the tools.
The two second round picks, I still think the Lakers would like to move them. But there is not commitment to taking a player here, so if someone they like drops to them they may take him, send him to Summer League and invite him to camp and see if they can get him in cheap. There basically will be no playing time on the Lakers for a rookie, so if they do go this route said player will likely spend a lot of time with the D-Fenders.
Draft Express has the Lakers taking North Carolina’s Danny Green with the 42nd pick (which they got from the Bobcats years ago in the Kareem Rush trade).
They could go international here as well, taking someone like Victor Claver out of Spain, a 6-10, 218 pound power forward (with that build, power may not be the operative word). He is coming off a knee injury and is someone that needs to develop – this is a guy you are choosing for the dreaded “upside,” but that’s not a bad risk in the second round. The same is true of Slava Kravtsov, the 7-0, 265 Russian center.
Note, this is all info gathered from written reports, leaning heavily on the great Draft Express, as I have not seen these guys play.