Around the World (Wide Web): Draft Edition

Phillip Barnett —  June 24, 2011

From Andy Kamenetzky, Land O’ Lakers: As Brian mentioned earlier, Mitch Kupchak is looking for guards. Five picks after selecting Darius Morris, the Lakers plucked Andrew Goudelock, a 6-3, 200 lb point guard from the College of Charleston. The four-year student-athlete and 2011 Southern Conference Player of the Year left his Alma Mater as its all-time leading scorer (2,571 points), plus fourth in assists (424). On his career, Goudelock ranks 39th all-time in scoring in NCAA D-1 history. As a point guard, Goudelock is able to create for others, but he was especially successful with his own shot, particularly from distance. A career 41.2 percent three-point shooter in college, he never averaged below 39 percent in any season. Goudelock did a speaker phone interview with the media shortly after getting selected, and I’ll say this for the kid: He ain’t lacking for confidence, nor is he afraid to speak boldly. (For my own purposes of needing daily quotes, it’s imperative Goudelock makes the team.) He’s not necessarily cocky in a bad way, mind you. Jay Bilas described Goudelock during ESPN’s draft special as a kid who’ll keep his mouth shut and work hard. Goudelock admitted his defense, while improved throughout his college career, needs work. Hell, he even copped to crying after hearing which team took his rights:

From Brian Kamenetky, Land O’ Lakers: Meeting the media early in the first round, long before the Lakers were on the clock, G.M. Mitch Kupchak indicated the Lakers would look for help in the backcourt. He wasn’t lying. With the first of their four second round picks, L.A. selected Michigan point guard (and L.A. native) Darius Morris. He’s a big kid, listed at 6’3″ in the NBA’s official Draft media guide, 6’4″ on the bio handed to us by Lakers PR, and 6’5″ on TV. (A few more sources, and he might get up to seven feet.) He left Michigan after his sophomore season, and a lot of people who track this sort of thing believe he would have elevated himself well into the first round, perhaps into the lottery, had he stayed in school a little longer. From a scouting report on Morris by ESPN.com’s Chad Ford, written last month:

From Land O’ Lakers: In the end, Draft night for the Lakers went pretty much as expected. There were no blockbuster deals, and G.M. Mitch Kupchak suggested the trade buzz, whether around Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum, or Lamar Odom, was generated not by the team itself but by other squads around the league and player agents fueling the rumor mill. (That, and a comment during the playoffs from a “prominent member of the media,” Kupchak’s not-so-thinly veiled dig at Magic Johnson, who said during ABC’s broadcast of the Dallas/Lakers series L.A. needed to “blow up” its roster.)  Obviously Kupchak isn’t going to sit before us and declare he shopped his players like a Black Friday sale, but his storyline is also the most realistic for a team with a very solid core still well positioned to contend if necessary improvements can be made around them. Still, exciting as draft night can be, the question of what the Lakers can do this offseason to improve is barely related to the question of whether or not they had a good draft. If at all. Forget finding contributors, given where they picked (the first selection coming at No. 41) if the Lakers finished with a player or two capable of making next year’s roster, the evening has to be called a major success.

From Dave McMenamin, ESPNLA: Freshly hired Los Angeles Lakers coach Mike Brown showed up to the Lakers’ practice facility Thursday for the NBA draft admittedly more as a spectator than a participant. He watched the draft in his office, ate pizza with his son and checked in from time to time while members of the Lakers’ front office monitored draft activity in an adjacent conference room. Dressed casually in a polo shirt, yellow athletic shorts and sneakers, Brown projected just as relaxed a stance when asked about the fact that Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant has yet to comment publicly on Brown’s getting the job. “I’m more than OK with it,” Brown said of Bryant’s near month-long silence since Brown was hired in late May.

From Dave McMenamin, ESPNLA: The Los Angeles Lakers were mentioned in various trade scenarios in the days leading up to the NBA draft, but general manager Mitch Kupchak dismissed the speculation as nothing but rumors on Thursday. Not only did Kupchak debunk the validity of the rumored trades that had the Lakers shopping Lamar Odom to Minnesota and Philadelphia, but he pointed the finger at why they could have surfaced. “I think other teams have been exploring major moves with us,” Kupchak said when asked if the Lakers were actively pursuing deals to shake up their roster. “I’m not exactly sure where it all came from, but prior to our exit in the playoffs a prominent member of the media suggested that we ‘blow up’ our team.

From Walter Beeken, Draft Express: When talking about the most improved players in the country this season, Michigan’s Darius Morris has to be in the conversation. The sophomore point guard has increased his numbers across the board and made the leap from an unproductive freshman to one of the top guards in the Big Ten. From a physical standpoint, Morris has great size and length for the point guard position at 6’4” with a very impressive frame. Always looking to make things happen with the ball in his hands, Morris is capable of overpowering defenders with his solid first step and extremely aggressive mentality, similar to the way Tyreke Evans did at Memphis a few years back. While he may not possess jet-quickness by NBA standards, his size and strength are major assets on both ends of the floor and give him a huge physical advantage at the point guard position. Running the point for a young Michigan team, Morris has really stood out with his ability to utilize his size, ball-handling ability, and craftiness to get into the paint and make plays. His ability to finish in the lane and in the midrange area is highlighted by the fact that he’s shooting an excellent 56% on 2-pointers so far this season, where he’s shown that he’s capable of finishing in a variety ways. He’s also doing a much better job drawing contact at the rim this season, as he’s getting to the line at a much rate than he did as a freshman.

From Matt Kamalsky, Draft Express: Amongst the most intriguing prospects slated to compete in the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament, Andrew Goudelock made a strong impression on one end of the floor, but struggled for stretches on the other. He’s still one of the most interesting small-school prospects in the draft, and did little to turn scouts off to his ability to space the floor. Finishing second in scoring over the course of the tournament, Goudelock made 13 of the 22 three point shots he attempted. Capable of getting hot from beyond the arc and hitting shots both off the catch and off the dribble from well beyond the arc, the Charleston product carried his team with his shooting for stretches at the PIT, much like he did during the 2011 season. He shot 43% in catch and shoot situations and off the dribble this season according to Synergy Sports Technology, and only reinforced what we already knew about his perimeter scoring ability.

From Kevin Ding, OC Register: The Lakers waited for more than three hours Thursday to select a player in the NBA draft, but felt the wait was worth it when they found Darius Morris of Michigan still available at No. 41 in the second round. Morris, a 6-foot-5 guard, had been projected to go in the first round after two solid seasons at Michigan, so Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak was surprised to see his name still on the board.  ”Darius is a very gifted with the ball in his hands,” Kupchak said. “He looks to pass first.” Morris, who played high school basketball at Windward of Los Angeles, is considered to have solid passing skills and possesses a powerful first step despite not having great foot speed. He can create mismatches against smaller point guards … that is, if he gets a chance to play in new coach Mike Brown’s offense. “I need to work on my 3-point shot. I plan to attack and work hard on that in the offseason, get it together,” Morris said in a conference call.

From Mark Medina, LA Times: Andrew Goudelock hasn’t yet put on a Lakers uniform after his No. 46 pick in the 2011 NBA draft, but it already seems the jersey fits. He hasn’t yet stepped foot in Los Angeles, but it already seems this city will embrace him. It remains unclear how much he’ll affect the Lakers, let alone whether he’ll make the roster cut, but it already seems there will be space for him. His booming and articulate voice coming out of a speakerphone conveyed the maturity he developed in four years as a shooting guard at the College of Charleston. His strong sense of security oozed out when he confirmed a pre-draft quote: “I’m going to be able to shoot until the day I die.” Not only did he embrace it, Goudelock took it a step further: “Unless something happens, unless I gain some type of disease where I forget how to shoot, I’m going to shoot until the die I day.” And his direct honesty on recognizing the need to play to his shooting strengths, his need to sharpen up on defense and the need to immediately begin work the day after the NBA draft shows he has the proper perspective. “Tonight I’m going to enjoy it,” he said. “Then it’s back to work for me.”

From Elliot Teaford, LA Daily News: Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak had this to say a few minutes ago when asked to separate truth from rumor when it came to published reports that the team was willing to deal sixth man Lamar Odom to the Minnesota Timberwolves for the second overall pick or to the Philadelphia 76ers for Andre Iguodala: “I think other teams have been exploring major moves with us. I’m not exactly sure where it all came from, but prior to our exit from the playoffs a prominent member of the media (Magic Johnson) suggested we blow up the team and so I think that created an avalanche of expectations with other teams that we were looking to do things and I think we’ve been pretty consistent over the last month or so that it’s not our goal right now to look to break up this team. Certainly, we’ll explore opportunities, but we’re not out there dialing 27 or 28 other teams, (asking), ‘What would you do for these players?’

Phillip Barnett

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4 responses to Around the World (Wide Web): Draft Edition

  1. I never metta World Peace I didn’t like.

    Nevertheless, please don’t, Ron.

  2. has there been any discussion in our blog about the Raymond Felton to Portland trade?
    does this mean we missed our chance?

    wouldn;t it be nice if our draft picked turned out to be a Tyreke Evans kind of guard?
    we haven’t really had a good turn like that in a while.

  3. Chris H

    Yes we missed. Thank God