Draft Day Thoughts

Darius Soriano —  June 28, 2012

I’ve always loved the NBA draft.

Not because of the human interest stories or because of the prognosticators telling us how player X will play in the pros because of his lengthy-motory-upside potential-character flawed-medical red flag condition. And certainly not because of the best player available lists, who’s a reach or a value pick, or the poking of holes into the games of these young men (must improve on “everything”).

I love the draft because today is a day these guys start their NBA careers and where they go from here will interest me a great deal. There are no games played today and no X’s and O’s to break down, but the players that get drafted today (and even some that don’t) will end up impacting the league in ways that we can’t foresee. Some of tomorrow’s best players will be picked up by a team today and that alone intrigues me. They’ll contribute to championship teams, hit big shots, win awards, and entertain us all as they do it. Every year we’re treated to a new batch of these guys trying to make their way. It’s great.

Of course, there’s more than that to it.

There also promises to be a lot of action. There will be trades. Trades of players, of picks, of draft slots, of players and picks to be named later, and conditional trades that are trades in name only. Twitter will be on fire, so will the comment sections of sites just like this one. There will be cheers and moans, high-fives and hung heads. There’s drama in the draft and that’s how we all like it (or at least how I like it).

Whether the Lakers are in the middle of any of this drama remains to be seen. In the past two days there have been many leaks to the press about what could happen with the Lakers. For example:

The Lakers may not do anything tonight besides hand their card in for the 60th pick and call it a day. There are prospects that can be had in that part of the draft and if nothing develops beyond making that pick, I can’t say I’d be disappointed (though I would be bored waiting).

However as Mitch Kupchak has said recently, he plans to be active in making calls around the league to take teams’ temperature about how players are valued (both his own and players he may like). These conversations may lead to abrupt thank you’s and hang ups or expansive talks. The reports we’re reading are surely part of this process playing out in a public way. This is today’s NBA.

Of note, however, is that Mitch has also been able to deftly identify talent at the top of the draft and in the trade market. Via trade, he’s turned assets into better players for the past several seasons and I distinctly remember rumblings of the Lakers interest in moving into the top of both Deron Williams’ and Brandon Roy’s drafts to nab them. Both of those guys turned into elite players within their first few seasons (though Roy’s career was cut short due to injuries).

Whether this leads to any action tonight remains to be seen. The Lakers have surely have multiple plans of action they’re trying to implement and how their night plays out will likely depend on who’s on the draft board when certain picks come up, whether those teams have other assets the Lakers like, and whether those teams like any of the assets the Lakers hold. The calculus gets complex quickly as you can see.

But, the way that I see it tonight can play out a few different ways:

  • The Lakers do nothing besides pick at 60.
  • The Lakers try to get into last half of the first round by buying a pick or trading a player (or future considerations) to pick a player they like (Perry Jones? Quincy Miller? Marquis Teague?).
  • The Lakers try to get into the top part of the draft and draft MKG or another top flight prospect that fits what they want to do.

Logically, I think the Lakers either stand pat or look to get into the last half of the draft. There’s value later in the draft and this front office has long been about value. Plus, I think finding a partner early in the draft that’s willing to make a deal is slim. Tonight is the night where potential for the future rules over present day production more than it likely should. This makes high draft picks valuable to the teams who possess them, these slots are like their reward for being bad teams. They don’t like to surrender them.

However it goes though, we’ll be here to discuss. Hopefully you’ll join us.

Darius Soriano

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82 responses to Draft Day Thoughts

  1. Why not trade Pau, Barnes, along with 60th pick to Rockets in exchange for Scola and Lowry or Dragic? Seems like both teams get better to me..

  2. If pau is traded I would love to see the Lakers pick up a 1st round selection to take Andrew Nicholson. He could really stretch the floor for Bynum and Kobe with his shooting but he still rebounds well and is fairly athletic.

  3. #1. Probably because Barnes is an unrestricted Free Agent and Dragic is a Restricted Free Agent so neither could be traded w/o their permission because it would need to be a sign and trade. Not to mention reports that just surfaced saying the Rockets no longer have interest in Pau Gasol.

  4. I’m glad to see that there are numerous ‘rumors’ involving the Lakers. While not all of them are legitimate – I will hold on to the thought that where there is smoke there is fire.

    I may prefer changes that involve trading assets and stockpiling picks in this draft (I think now is the time to go young and rebuild). I can understand if the FO wants to play to win for the remainder of Kobe’s contract.

    If the Buss family is OK with the mind numbing tax bills I’m fine with it – its not my money. However, If the Lakers go all in these next few years we have to be aware that at some point the team will have to get a tax reset and get below the cap.

    I’d rather start taking my medicine now and be better two years down the road. I can’t complain if the Lakers want to delay that prescription as long as possible.

  5. Howard, Paul, Rondo, Smith. The names linked to the Lakers by LA Times are not getting any better. It shows the value in our players in other GMs eyes are decreasing. Something has to be done or else we’ll get nothing for them.

    Lakers keep putting Pau’s on the trade blocks. He’s a great guy but he’s still human and can just check out on this team. I still would rather keep Pau but Josh Smith is no slouch. As lateral a move it would be it helps both teams.

  6. Unfortunately can’t see any team in the top 5 interested in Gasol (except maybe Sacramento, only because I’m counting on the Maloofs’ insanity). Getting MKG somehow would have me giddy.

    Interesting time of the year, so many rumors flying around. Look for Kevin Martin to be traded from the Rockets as well; reports are he won’t sign an extension (I do remember he was fairly ticked after the failed Paul trade).

    With the Rockets losing Dalembert, something tells me they’ll end tonight with a center. Reports are they’ve cooled on Gasol, but who knows. If you put a gun to my head, I’d say they go for Gasol or Drummond today. But that depends on a top 7-8 drafting team biting on the Rockets’ lower draft picks.

    Shaping up to be one of the more fun draft nights in recent memory.

  7. I would LOVE to have Mo Williams, guy may be a liability on D but his shooting is constant. Guys like Chalmers are average defenders but you saw how his shooting (especially from outside) offsets a lack of D.

    Please no Josh Smith.

    If the Lakers get Gilchrist all I preach is to have patience, he is a project on offense. But he is a beast on D and in transition.

  8. If Josh Smith case, keep Pau.
    If Iguadala’s case, keep Pau.
    If Zach Randolf’s case, keep Pau.
    If Scola plus Houston draft pick, release Pau
    If DWill’s case, release Pau

    if nothing comes out from Pau or RonRon, trade all the 2nd unit including the remaining asst. coaches for a young first round draft pick PG. Hoho!

  9. Chalmers is a ball hawk. Williams isn’t in his league defensively, but much more versatile offensively. He’d be a good pickup.

    I could go for some Josh Smith. His defensive versatility would be a perfect complement next to Bynum’s slow feet. Offensively … well, I hope the Kobe System helps him find something resembling an outside shot. The spacing would worry me, but could be offset with proper cutting and athleticism. I don’t like the contract – you’d have to sign him to an extension and eat up 2014 cap space. On the plus side, we’d have our first true space cadet since shipping out V-Rad.

    Assuming we’re not getting a top 5 draft pick for Pau, and taking into account reports that the Rockets have cooled on Pau, Josh Smith represents probably the best we can do. Teams don’t seem too high on Gasol right now. But I guess your view of Smith depends on your tolerance level for brain farts.

  10. based on what i’ve read over the last couple of days, the 5th(SAC), 6th(POR), and 7th(GSW) picks are going to be major factors in draft-night trade activity. these teams have worked out players projected to be mid to late first rounders and have prepared to trade down if need be.

    what do you guys think of sullinger? where do you take him?

    i feel like if the lakers have a shot, they ought to take it. he rebounds the ball and can hit 3s. and he’d be cheaper than jordan hill, can play behind either pau or drew, and allows both bigs to play inside.

  11. My hope is that Ramon is no longer content to be a bench player. Now that’s he’s sampled the limelight, I hope he has an affinity to the taste of starting and is not interested in being the side dish and would much rather be part of the main course. With this in mind I imagine him somewhere working on his jumper and defense.

    Two players in camp at each position putting pressure on the other player to compete at peak level is never a bad thing. Some of these guys need some hungry players breathing down their backs to take their positions. If not innate that’s the only way players are pressed to improve.

    Casper Ware has been preparing for this night since he was 10 years old. He’s grown up around basketball as his father is well known in Los Angeles basketball. He’s a good kid and not afraid to compete against ANY player.

  12. Reportedly Kings will keep their #5 pick if Robinson’s on the board, and trade it to Houston if he’s not.

  13. the lakers have 3 assets to use to trade up. They have the trade exception, Ron Artest, and Steve Blake. Those two players aren’t terribly valuable, but there are teams drafting anywhere from 15-30 that might look to trade worse contracts for merely bad ones.

    To identify trade partners, you just need to identify which teams are looking to shed salary and trade away terrible contracts for (merely) bad ones.

    That leaves us with 5 teams: DAL, HOU, ATL, ORL, CHI, and GSW.

    I’d say DAL, GSW, and ORL would be willing to sacrifice a pick to rid themselves of shawn marion, biedrins/jefferson, and turkoglu. ATL and CHI want to rid themselves of Marvin Williams and Carlos Boozer, but the price is just too steep. HOU might part with Scola if they need to clear capspace for another free agent or to facilitate a trade, but that’s kind of up in the air.

  14. Apparently Odom is going to the Clippers and the Utah Jazz are getting Mo Williams.


    This could be a taste of what the offseason is going to be like—no one is going to be gifting anything to the Lakers anytime soon.

  15. FA is still a couple days away there’s time for something to be done. But if Smith is traded and Lakers only wind up picking in the 2nd round. It would amount to a fail.

  16. Thanks David Stern for allowing the rest of the league to be bullies to the Lakers.

    There’s no coincidence that the league has taken a heavy hand with the Lakers as soon as Dr. Jerry Buss became too ill to manage the Lakers.

  17. Chearn: I thought when Jerry Buss became ill, he left someone else who was capable in charge? Is that not the case?
    Gasol: These potential deals are making me ill. Josh Smith (at least his contract goes in 1 year)? Zach R (omg – this guy is signed up through the next century). We should haved traded 14′ for 7′ when we had the chance. And Jameer would have been a much better starting PG than what we have.

  18. The best thing that happened in this draft, every time the face of David Stern the crowd. Priceless, this will go on up to the 30th pick.

    Let’s have a little fun on the draft day since our turn is on last pick.

    Here is the face David Stern many eons ago:


  19. Sometimes you just wish Lakers fans could have the same suspense. Who are the Lakers drafting? Instead we’re waiting for the last possible pick. Sigh

  20. Robert-Oh yea, that’s right.

    New Orleans with Davis and Rivers are nice building blocks.

  21. Chearn, especially if they resign Eric Gordon. Let those two guards shoot the ball and have Davis clean up the glass.

  22. Lakers are always trades or bust. Struck out twice already this season. What happens if we get to strike three?

  23. Harkless a replacement for Iguodala?

    Also, the lady interviewing Dell Demps should probably never be allowed to interview anyone ever again.

  24. Why does ESPN have the draftees holding ladders? And dancing with their heads poking out between rungs? Who produces this and how are they the Worldwide Leader in Sports?

  25. Some good players left would be nice to have a few picks right about now in the 20s. This is a deep draft.

  26. Kevin: We already made our picks. They were RS, JH, dumping Fish, dumping Luke, and dumping Kapono. Not that I disagree with the last two of those, but why did we have Kapono in the first place, and who gave Luke the lifetime contract?

  27. Robert,

    Howard is recovering from back surgery and almost certainly would not have signed an extension here–and OKC would have almost certainly beaten the Lakers anyway.

    Like I have been saying: you don’t have answers here; no one does.

    Smith is a good player and would help with the lack of defensive activity–he gets steals and blocks. He has efficiency issues, but his deal ends this year–when Howard is a FA as of now. You should be pushing for a Gasol/Smith deal if you still want Howard.

  28. rr: I hope you found my post two threads ago amusing : )
    I agree that nobody has answers. However how did we put ourselves in the position where the question has no answer? If this were a game of chess, I would resign and knock my king over. I would not want to concede, however the act of knocking Jimbo over would be too hard to resist : )

  29. Lakers haven’t had a first round pick since javaris critterton! Think they regret selling those first rounders now for a measley 3 million. The lakers have spent a lot of dough on salary but made no investment on the future which is why er are stuck in pergatory now. There are no easy moves that make us better st this point so we need to start a salary purge and stocking up picks. We can be legitimate again in 2 years if we are smart and bring in the right fa’s after we are under the cap.

  30. Congrats to Jim Buss for another successful draft. Of course they traded away their 1st rounders for guys without contracts but all is not lost.

    I understand Jimmy’s new scouting staff did pick two winners at Hollywood Park Race Track today.

  31. However how did we put ourselves in the position where the question has no answer?

    Partly by giving your hero an $83M contract extension.

    It is a combination of things–some the Lakers’ own fault, some unavoidable. And, as much as I hate to say it again, the answer may have been “Chris Paul.”

  32. Disappointed at the lack of draft-day trades after all this smoke. Both Baylor guys Mitch was supposedly interested in are still there. Not as big on Jones, but I would love getting Miller this late if we’re able to move up.

  33. Smith: The best thing about him is the fact that his deal expires in 1 year. Zach would be worse as he would still be listed as a cap hold in the year 2020. If we go that route, I would prefer to get picks, “youngsters”, and an unwanted contract for Pau.
    rr: Yes – partly due to my hero’s contract. And partly due to the Veto. And partly due to incompetence.

  34. Darius.

    Just went back to read your intro. What?

    “FO has always been about value”. Really?

    Name a value pick in the last 7 years because I must have missed it. Unless they are playing with other teams that is.

  35. Ko: Jimbo is actually correct about the scouts. Why do you need them when you have no picks? Hey Ko – In my dream world – I own the Lakers, and rr is my GM. Would you like to run my scouting department. After all – you do have familiarity in the beverage area do you not?

  36. I like this pick. OKC will get the best out of Jones. The rich get richer.

    I wasn’t big on him for us (at least if we had to give up Gasol to get him) but for a straight up pick this late, excellent reward potential.

  37. There won’t be anything left when the Lakers pick. They should give that pick back to the NBA.

  38. Quincy Miller, Doron Lamb, Draymond Green are still there

    Come On Lakers…

  39. Ken,
    The context of that sentence was in relation to getting into the last half of the 1st round where there was a lot of value to be had. The Lakers have often tried to select players of good value in the spots where they selected them, while also taking calculated risks where need be.

  40. Draymond Green played for Izzo and stayed all 4 years. Was productive went to a couple final fours. He can play Lakers should trade up for him.

    It’s rare to get 4 year players who play hard with some talent. Prime example Last year the difference between Goudelock and Morris in being prepared for the nba was huge.

  41. Draymond Green won’t be available by the time the Lakers pick. Wish he were I’ve watched him play for three years at Michigan, he competes.

  42. Sigh. I was hoping for more exciting trades. And I was hoping (although I knew the chances were minimal) that we could get up into the 30s. Having your team draft so late takes a lot of the fun out of the night.

    Quincy Miller continues to fall … fingers still crossed …

    Like the Crowder pick from Marquette. Reminds me of Faried with more handling skills. He’ll be a good energy role player.

    Green just went to Golden State.

  43. We have a front office full of numbskulls. Can’t recognize talent when they see it. You can honestly say Lakers are the only team that didn’t get better tonight.

    I expect big things in FA.

  44. Darius @39: It is now evident that we did not get into the last part of the 1st round. We also did not score anything significant before the TD last year. We also let the Sasha TPE expire. We have not yet used the LO TPE. I know I am a little aggressive in my FO views, however at some point, isn’t the FO accountable for inaction? Often ESPN jokes that some commentator got as many rebounds/points as a player did when that player gets a goose egg in the box. Aren’t I am accomplishing the same thing as the FO by drinking a martini. Isn’t there something wrong with that?

  45. Magic drafted 2 big men when they already have 3. Dream Big.

  46. Kevin: Your first sentence at #43 is justification for adding a 4 point shot to the NBA rulebook. You just hit one.

  47. Metta WorldPeace ?@MettaWorldPeace
    Wow I just got a text.. Yal gonna love this trade.. I can’t say; my law firm told me hush.. This is like “wow” in a blonde girls voice

    Metta WorldPeace ?@MettaWorldPeace
    The trade has to involve a Midwest city that breeds beef and a major city that breeds stress Amazing I can’t say or I’m done

    You think this is legit?
    Of course Metta has this habit of… well being metta

  48. Lakers get pick 55 select Darius Johnson Odom

  49. Lakers select Darius Johnson-Odom with the 55th pick

  50. Dallas takes Darius Johnson-Odom with what was originally our draft pick. Cruel twist of fate. This guy will be the best blogging NBA player in about 2 years.

    Edit – 50 – nice heads-up. So we paid to get our pick back.

  51. @49 we bought the pick

    Chad Ford ?@chadfordinsider

    Lakers select Darius Johnson-Odom with the 55th pick (via Mavs)

  52. Exactly how many lefty’s were in this draft? I wonder if this year’s class is a record for the number of left hand players that are drafted.

  53. All those Marquette players are bulldogs. Nice pick Jim, Mitch

  54. Wouldn’t be surprised if Darius’s head just exploded. Don’t know much about DJO but like the pick based on the name alone.

    I didn’t get to finish my edit – we paid to get our pick back, but considering the savings on LO’s contract it matters little. Wonder how much the cost was.

    Just 3 picks away …

  55. Woj saying the Spurs are taking Denmon. Scott Machado is still available!! Rejoice, Dave M!

  56. Darius Johnson-Odom’s middle name is Earvin. Best Pick Ever.

  57. Prediction: Scott Machado at 60?

  58. From Mike Bresnahan’s Twitter:

    After failing to trade into top 5, Lakers tried to move into 20s for Jared Sullinger or Perry Jones, The Times has learned. Came away empty.

  59. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Czhs_SQ5Kyk

    Confidence, Cocky whatever it is I like his attitude. Sure Kobe will too. Bye Bye Sessions!

    One 4 year senior the other a 3yr player. Develop these guys.

  60. Training camp fodder…..

  61. So Machado, Brown, and Holloway all go undrafted. That was anti-climactic.

  62. The best thing about him is the fact that his deal expires in 1 year.


    You are underrating him, IMO. But since I overrated Sessions, you won’t believe that.

  63. Breaking news!

    Based on the Lakers draft picks Vegas has them as favorites to win it all!

    In 2020

  64. The Lakers passed on Isaiah Thomas last year. I know nothing about Sacre but the Lakers need a 10-12 MPG guy at the 5. It would be helpful if this guy can do it.

  65. Reports say is Sacre a pretty old-school back-to-the-basket type center, with true center size. The Lakers say phooey to your theories of the league getting smaller and more athletic.

    I kid, it’s not like we were going to find Westbrook at 60. I can see the reasoning. It’s looking more and more likely that Gasol will be moved – that’ll create not only a hole at the 4, but a hole at the backup 5. Drafting a guy with true center size and looking for someone who could hopefully provide 10 minutes of backup C a night makes sense. Hope it pans out.

    I prefer to think Hill (if re-signed) could have played the backup 5 – he’s no anchor, but in a league where the starters are getting smaller and smaller, the need for a true center on your bench seems low. But I can see the logic with going for a position-based pick this late.

    From Jonathon Givony: “At the NBA Combine I asked DJO if he’s “too small to play SG in the NBA at 6-2?” He was REALLY close to taking me outside and beating me up.”

  66. Robert count me in.

    Players will beg to sign here when I tell them they will be paid in beer and wine.

  67. Smart moves to cover up potential holes if Sessions and Hill left.

  68. Darius has to like the fact that the Lakers now will probably have two guys named Darius in camp.

    And yes, “Darius Earvin Johnson-Odom”–gotta root for that.

  69. DJO repped the bar 17 times at the combine and has a 40 inch vert. That’s ridiculous.

  70. These are the face of the Lakers in post Kobe – Bynum, Ebanks, Morris, G-lock, Sacre, Hill, Sessions and DJO, Whoopee, how far can we go with that line up?

    BTW, Robert to keep your spirits high, here is a story from Sam Amico:

    “Source close to situation says if Dwight Howard isn’t dealt to Rockets today or tomorrow, Lakers fans may have reason to get excited. “Rockets are exhausting resources. If it’s not enough, (Lakers) will likely move in within the next few weeks.”

  71. Let Dwight Howard go anywhere but LA.

    The dude is exhausting.

    And has a bad back.

  72. bad back vs bad knees. take your pick?

  73. “Smart moves to cover up potential holes left by trading first round draft choices by drafting the last few picks left in the world”. Huh Kevin?

    Huh. I must be losing a grip on reality today.

  74. It’s retarded how that NBA makes the team that originally owns a pick actually make the pick. Then the trades are announced later??

    Why not do it like the NFL, way better model, no confusion, more effective!

    draft: another yawner for the Lakers…

  75. Ko: All it is insurance. Trying to make something out of nothing.

    Not sure how long the beer and wine lasts while Snyder’s around. He’s filling the coolers with E&J.

  76. Warren Wee Lim June 29, 2012 at 5:23 am

    DJO is someone thats a low risk high reward player. If he can become anywhere close to being a spark off the bench then we might have solved our bench problem. I’m cheering for him and Goudelock to fight or combine for 17-18ppg off bench.

    This is management not trying to overreact. Trades will come. Just gotta be patient and wait for the right deal. The Rockets/Gasol trade ship has sailed.

  77. “I’m going to come in, play my butt off, know my role, shut my mouth and try to help Kobe [Bryant] get another ring,” Sacre said. “I took [Turiaf’s] role when I was at Gonzaga and guess what? I’m going to take his role in L.A.”

  78. Warren Wee Lim June 29, 2012 at 8:08 am

    Sacre is someone thats going to provide stability and size at the backup C position. Whether he pans out or not, he’s a big body. Now it just looks to me like the Lakers are doing the J-Smoove -for- Pau deal. I believe Zaza will be headed to another team who will further give the Lakers yet another TPE to use/subtract from payroll.

  79. DJO reminds me of a Cuttino Mobley, but built like a d-Fish. While Sacre looks like Gortat with less athleticism

  80. kswagger: I like the Mobley comparison. He was a good player in the league.

  81. Last night,the Lakers were like the kid with his nose pressed up against the candy store window who is not allowed to go in the store.

    I don’t want to beat a dead horse, but last year’s veto of the CP3 trade really cut the Lakers off at the knees. During the seventies, the finals were shown on tape delay due to a lack of interest. The emergence of Magic and the Lakers in the 80’s brought world wide prominence to the league. Throughout the years the Lakers’ revenue sharing has propped up weaker franchises, and subsequently the league. And this is the thanks they got.

    I don’t imagine the Sterns will be invited to dinner by the Buss family anytime soon. After all the years the league has benefitted from the brilliance and popularity of the Lakers, Stern gleefully kicked them in the arse when he had the chance.