Draft Day Thoughts

Darius Soriano —  June 24, 2011

Coming into the draft, armed with four 2nd round picks, the Lakers had a clear strategy. They wanted to draft guards that could help their back court depth and they wanted to draft one or two players that could be stashed in Europe for future consideration of a roster spot. Plus, besides those two rather generic goals, the Lakers also sought to improve on and add skills lacking on the current roster. The hope was to nab playmaking and shooting and hope those skills were advanced enough that the player (or players) possessing them could earn a roster spot.

And while it’s much too early to say whether that last point will actually prove positive, the other goals all have a check mark next to them the day after the draft. And for those reasons, beyond anything else, the Lakers had a successful Thursday evening phoning in their picks from Los Angeles to Newark.

With pick number 41, the Lakers nabbed Darius Morris from Michigan. His strengths include size, natural point guard ability, and the ability to get into the paint to create for others and himself. His profile at Draft Express includes several positive morsels about his college career, including the fact that he boasted a greater than 2-1 assist to turnover ratio while also shooting 53% on two point baskets last season. We also learn that he improved by leaps and bounds over his two seasons at Michigan by flashing a well rounded game, including the ability to rebound well and defend at an above average level. Draft Express ranked him as the 22nd best prospect in this draft and Chad Ford states that he may be the best pure point guard in his draft. 

However, his game is not without flaws. He’s shown literally no ability to make the college three point shot, knocking down only 25% of his long balls last year. He can be an over dribbler that probes too much rather than making the simple play.  His size is very good for the position but his athleticism is only average. He’ll be tested at the NBA level both physically and in terms of the deficiencies in his game, needing to make both improvements and adjustments to his style of play that will be harder than the ones he had to make during his time at Michigan.

With the 46th pick, the Lakers selected Andrew Goudelock from the College of Charleston. He’s also listed as a point guard, but where Morris is of the playmaking variety, Goudelock is a scoring machine. He ranked 5th in the nation this past year, dropping nearly 24 points a game (right below Kemba Walker). He’s used to operating with the ball in his hands and creating shots from everywhere on the floor. He shows incredible range on his jumper and is literally a threat to hit shots once he’s over the half court line. Really, he is. He also shows great moxie on the court and is a confident player, letting media know after the draft that he’ll compete with anyone of any size and that his shooting ability will be with him until the day he dies.

Goudelock too, though, has his flaws. While confident in his playmaking ability, he committed nearly as many turnovers as assists this past season. Finishing inside is not a strong suit. And while he made 40% of his three pointers (a great number) he also shot nearly 9 shots from distance a game last year, which instantly has me questioning his shot selection. There’s a real question about whether he can be a true point guard or if he’s destined to be an undersized shooting guard in this league.

With the remaining two picks, the Lakers selected Chukwudiebere Maduabum (#56) and Ater Majok (#58). Chu-Chu (as he’s known) was ultimately traded to the Nuggets for a future 2nd round pick and Majok is a player that has little information on him anywhere. After the pick, Chad Ford tweeted that “He wasn’t awful at EuroCamp.” And that he “Shoots it OK for a big man”, but I wouldn’t call that a ringing endorsement on my friendliest and most optimistic of days. Odds are this pick never sees the floor for the Lakers.

In the end though, with both Morris and Goudelock at least, these are the types of players you draft in the 40′s. They’re flawed players but ones that have good skill level and a foundational attribute (or more) that can keep them in this league. For Morris, that’s a combo of playmaking, size, and floor generalship. For Goudelock it’s shooting and confidence. Considering the Lakers have a real need for both of those skill sets on this current roster, I think the team did quite well for themselves in acquiring these two players. We won’t know until training camp what type of progress or improvements they’ve made in their games (Summer league has been officially cancelled and with a lock out on the horizon, who knows when camp will even start) but I do believe that both of these players can stick and make the team.

And if that turns out to be the case, that’s a great result from this draft and all any reasonable observer could ask for. There’s little chance a pick in the 40′s will come in and impact a team. Those chances go down exponentially when you’re talking about a team that many believe to be one of the handful of title contenders in the league. If the Lakers are lucky, both Morris and Goudelock will come in, compete hard, improve as the year progresses, and get some spot minutes where they can test their development in real game action. If they contribute positively in those minutes and earn more time, that’s a homerun. If they don’t, I’m not judging. I look at Ebanks and Caracter and see two guys that rarely played and I still think they can be players on this team.

Hopefully, with both Morris and Goudelock, I’ll be thinking the same thing a year from now.

Darius Soriano

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29 responses to Draft Day Thoughts

  1. in his espn chat today, ric bucher gave a reasonable explanation of why so many longshots–even by late 2nd round standards–were taken towards the end of the draft.

    at that point, it’s better for a player to be a free agent because they have some degree of control over where they want to go. agents for such players are miffed when that doesn’t happen, and teams have to work their way back into their good graces when it comes to contacting their more valuable clientele.

    with ater majok, that’s not going to be a problem. his agent has only 1 other client–Semen Shashkov, who could be a Russian porn star for all I know.

    if there’s one criticism one can lob at kupchak and co., it’s that they weren’t able to secure mutual interest from a better prospect. but that’s it.

    all these people on other boards gnashing their teeth over missing out on another pair of collegiate players don’t know what’s up.

    Another thing: Denver is rebuilding. Out West, it’s not going to be easy to make the playoffs, esp if they lose Nene to free agency. There’s a decent chance Kupchak flipped a late 2nd rounder for a much more valuable one.

    And I can’t believe Kurt gave the Lakers a D+! This was a good draft for us. More like B+.

  2. Brown is going to insist on hard work and fundamentals for rookies and 2nd year guys. One thing I like about AG and DM is their backround,and willingness to work hard on the defects in their game.

  3. Looks like Goudelock already can shoot better than Shannon Brown.

  4. Funky Chicken June 24, 2011 at 2:47 pm

    #3, to me it looks like Goudelock shoots better than anyone on the Lakers roster over the last 5 years. If he can defend just a little, we might have an immediate contributor next year. Not so much the others….

  5. Do you guys think Darius Morris is a better prospect than Corey Joseph? We could have taken either PG at 41… The Spurs took Joseph at 42 and they usually draft really well which scares me.

  6. J.D. Hastings June 24, 2011 at 3:35 pm

    Why haven’t the lakers traded Kobe for Nowitzki yet?

  7. @#5 JD, Because Lakers are holding out and want JJ and Jet to be included in the deal.

  8. #5 – The spurs took Corey Joseph in the first round

  9. I don’t watch college basketball at all, so all of these players — even Jimmer or the other “names” — are just names to me.

    We’ll quickly see whether or not they can play once they get on an NBA court, and draft position doesn’t always mean a guy can cut it at the pro level — just ask Greg Oden.

    As far as apparent skill sets and Lakers’ needs, the first two picks seem to have some promise. But only time will tell, which is why I never get too engrossed in the draft hype.

  10. Andrew Goudelock can shoot for sure, that video was cool indeed to watch. I think it is amazing that the Lakers may have four 2nd round picks on their roster next season. I guess with the solid core that they have it is feasible. If Ebanks had not been injured, I believe he could have contributed a lot, as a bench player of course. Would it not be great for Morris to be a poor man’s CP3, work on your shooting kid.

  11. All in all, I think Mitch did quite well. He was able to get one of the best pure PGs in the draft and also an accurate shooter. Since we were drafting in the mid 2nd round there is no way we were going to get anybody who was a well rounded player.

  12. Rusty Shackleford June 24, 2011 at 6:00 pm

    Rick Bucher made it sound like there are locker room issues. To me, it kind of sounded like Bynum was a little pissed off about something during the post game interview when he said, “I’m not concerned about legacies.” My initial thought was that he is wanting more shots and he thought they should come at Kobe’s expense. So how bad would it be if you have the current superstar/alpha dog starting to decline physically in one camp and the young, unproven up-and-comer; wanting to be the focal point of the offense; with the support of the new apparent decision maker (in Jim Buss) in the other? Sorry I did not know how to not make that a run-on sentence.

    It just seems crippling when I read that Jim Buss is declaring Andrew Bynum untradeable. I know, it is what it is and I do believe that if a good enough deal came along he would be traded but . . . I’m going to start a new sentence. As a fan it is frustrating to watch a team pay a guy so much money that hasn’t been healthy since he’s been an impactful player. If he goes down with injury next season (I think it’s happened enough times by now that nobody would really feel they jinxed it) that will f’ing hurt. A total punch to the gut.

  13. Could Goudelock be the next Mike Penberthy?

    No way Caracter is here next season, Ebanks for sure,
    wouldn’t be surprised if he got 15-20 mpg. What do you do with Morris? Bump Fish? You already have Blake signed long term. I do think Blake will bounce back and have a good year, however..

    Perhaps these picks were made with the thought that Shannon Brown is outta here….

  14. I thought the picks were solid, we needed depth at the point and we got it. These guys might actually get a bit of playing time whenever the next season rolls along. Darius has size and good court vision, Andrew’s a flat-out shooter (which we sorely need). I watched some video late last night on Ater – very raw but a fairly interesting story.

  15. Re: Bucher’s “insider” reports – just remember he’s the guy who gave Kobe a “zero percent” chance to return to the Lakers after his blowup with management in ’07.

  16. I just read an article on Yahoo Sports by Marc J. Spears, about the winners and losers in the draft. Darius Morris was one of the losers, because he left college early. So the Lakers must have thought that over time he will become a better long range shooter, and whatever else ails him currently. Of course, who am I to know what the Lakers Front Office was thinking, just food for thought.

  17. Renato Afonso June 25, 2011 at 4:25 am

    I stated my opinion on both guys in the previous post. Obviously, like everyone else, I have more hopes for Goudelock than for Norris, but we’ll have to wait and see.

    What pisses me off is that we won’t have a summer league and we won’t be able to discover the next “Jeremy Lin”. Since the 2nd picks are not guaranteed, I would really like to see Ben Hansborough getting some burn against Norris and see how would that pan out. Or some other PG, since it seems that the Norris pick is somewhat questionable…

  18. From the draft excitement followed by sudden lull because by next week there could be work stoppage not only players but all business establishments related to NBA. My question is why do they have to undergo hardships and struggles if at some future date they will eventually agree and meet halfway? Well, perhaps Artest should spearhead this campaign and change again his proposed name to “Greed-Free”.

    It means that rather than fighting their personal interests, is it not ideal if they go for 10% reduction of salaries, revenues, advertsing/cable rates, paraphernalias etc. and give it to the paying fans in form of discounts. This would stimulate interest in tapping those who belonged to lower strata to attend games, buy more things associated with NBA possibly meeting the personal objectives of all parties concerned in this lockout.

    Unfortunately, that is the world of Utopia. In the real world, power struggle has to happen first at the suggestion of high-priced lawyers, old players, owners who lost money in the recession. They have to go into lockout and think of new ideas how to get it all from the paying public and agreeing how to partition their loot.

  19. Trivia Question to spice up a summer weekend: During his career a former Laker All-Star was the teammate of eight current or certain-to-be Basketball Hall of Fame members who combined won more than 20 NBA championship rings.

    Name that player.

  20. #20. Is it Van Exel? Between Magic, Kobe, Shaq, Duncan, and Dirk he has the rings part covered. I’m having trouble finding the HOF’ers though.

  21. It’s not Nick Van Exel.

  22. Horry? Was he an all-star while in Houston?

  23. Nope, nor Horry either.

  24. Renato Afonso June 25, 2011 at 1:23 pm

    Eddie Jones?

  25. Is it Shaq?

    He was with Magic, Lakers, Heat, Suns, Cleveland, and Celtics.

    He played with the certain to be HOF’ers: Kobe, Lebron, D’Wade, Garnett, Pierce, Malone, Payton, Allen and Nash. Or HOF’ers coaches: Pat Riley and Phil Jackson.

    Lakers and Celtics have more than 20 combined NBA Championship.

  26. Rick Fox?

  27. I just don’t understand why the Lakers didn’t take Malcolm Lee at 41 or take a flyer on Selby at 46. I get wanting Morris because he’s more of a playmaker, but Malcolm Lee can play both guard positions, is a great defender, can pass the ball, and has a better jumper. Oh well.