Lakers Recent Draft History At A Glance

Andre Khatchaturian —  June 20, 2013

The Los Angeles Lakers haven’t had much luck in the NBA Draft throughout the last several years. Though, it could be said that the draft really isn’t much of a priority for a team that has ‘championship’ on its mind every single year. This is evidenced by some of the transactions they’ve made over the past seven years, most notably trading away first round draft picks for superstars.

To say that the “win now” mentality didn’t work for the Lakers would be foolish. The team won two championships by trading for Pau Gasol and mortgaging two first round draft picks in 2008 and 2010. However, other than that gargantuan front office victory, the Lakers inability to attain first round draft picks and consistent misses in the second round are part of the reason why the team struggled last year and could continue to falter this year. The team’s core is old and slow and running a fast paced Mike D’Antoni offense with old and slow guys doesn’t seem ideal.

Let’s not blame the Lakers front office on whiffing at the draft completely, though. The Lakers aren’t exactly a lottery team and the first round draft picks that they’ve traded away have generally been late picks in the first round. That said, none of their first round draft pick trades, other than the Gasol one in 2008, have been beneficial for the Lakers.

The team traded Toney Douglas, their 2009 pick, for a second round pick in 2011 which turned out to be Andrew Goudelock. They shipped their 2011 first rounder along with Sasha Vujacic for Joe Smith and a pair of second rounders. They lost their 2012 first rounder in the Ramon Sessions deal last year and their 2013 and 2015 picks in the Steve Nash trade, which is still a work in progress.

Looking at the Lakers recent draft history will make one think that the team has acquired a phobia for first round draft picks over the last six seasons. Other than drafting and immediately trading Douglas to the New York Knicks at 29th overall in 2009, the Lakers have not had a first round draft pick. In the fact the last first rounder to even suit up in purple and gold since 2007 when they selected Javaris Crittenton, who currently faces bigger problems than basketball in his life right now. They will not have a first round draft pick again this year.

The Lakers have been limited to just second round draft picks ever since 2008 – 11 of them to be exact. From those 11, five never played for the Lakers (Joe Crawford, Patrick Beverley, Chinemelu Elonu, Chukwudiebere Maduabum, and Ater Majok), two played but are no longer in the NBA (Sun Yue and Derrick Caracter), and four were on the roster this past year (Devin Ebanks, Andrew Goudelock, Darius Morris, and Robert Sacre).

While it’s nice that the team still employs and gets occasional contributions from the latter four players, they are marginal at best and have many limitations in their games. In fact, these 11 players have combined to play 254 games for the Lakers, averaging 3.0 points, 1.2 rebounds, and 0.6 assits per game.

It’s difficult to ask any team to find the next diamond in the rough in the second round like Danny Green or Manu Ginobili. The team should be grateful that they at least receive some contribution from Ebanks, Goudelock, Morris, and Sacre. That said, not having a single first round draft pick suit up for your team since 2007 is inexcusable. The Lakers completely sold off their future and it’s beginning to hurt them now as they face lack of quality in terms of depth.

When one looks at the powerful Laker teams from 2008 thru 2010, they can see that team had several key homegrown Lakers first round picks. Andrew Bynum, Sasha Vujacic, and Jordan Farmar all played instrumental roles in the Lakers back-to-back run. Even in the three-peat, Devean George and Mark Madsen were important role players that were taken in the first round and contributed to the Lakers run.

With only one second round draft pick this year and not much flexibility to sign free agents, the Lakers could be in trouble for the future in terms of depth. That said, they have tradable assets they can use to prepare for the 2014 draft, which is one of the deepest in recent memory. The Lakers, for once, have a first round draft pick for next year, but having another one in a deep draft class would most definitely not hurt.

Andre Khatchaturian


46 responses to Lakers Recent Draft History At A Glance

  1. I am looking forward to whatever plan the Lakers are in a position to implement this season. If we lose out on Dwight, baring some sort of unlikely sign and trade comes to fruition (Bledsoe and Blake?) I would want to see the Lakers start moving forward and positioning themselves to get some young assets, expiring contracts, extra picks for 2014 and later, for both Nash and Pau. One hopes Kobe is realistic enough to know that his being amnestied and sitting out would actually increase his chances at winning a title in the next few years. Then in 2014, he can come back healthy, even if not as explosive as his old self, perhaps with Wiggins in the fold, maybe LBJ deciding to switch coasts, and Pau still available to be signed at a reduced price. We could do worse with the next season then in drafting well and developing young talent to fill the gaps for whatever future stars we will inevitably draw.

  2. The front office is in a tough spot right now, draftwise.

    In the past, the Lakers’ late-first or second-round picks who’ve come up big have typically involved one of two criteria: unpolished but high-upside players (Divac), perhaps with questions of character (such as Van Exel, Peeler); or those who fit a particular need within the system (say A.C. Green) in place at the time. This latter approach explains why the Spurs have done so well in later rounds — they’re looking for limited skill sets that suit their system, just as A.C.’s size, shooting range and athletic ability was a perfect fit for the late-era Showtime years.

    Right now the Lakers can’t even say for sure what their system will be, nor can they count on how much, if anything, they’ll get from three of their prior-season’s best four players, come 2013-14. That’s a big challenge.

    Dr. Buss, Mitch and West (depending upon who called the shots at the time) each did well on the rare occasions they had high first-round picks, landing All-Stars in Worthy, Eddie and Bynum, even Magic. But with no high picks and so many uncertainties in play this year, it’s really asking a lot to expect Mitch & Co. will find a key contributor on draft night.

  3. Maybe the Lakers can draft Nick Van Exel again this summer in the 2nd round. I’d do it!!

  4. The part that I fail to get is what is the purpose of having a D-league team? It is not obvious that the players are refining their basketball skills in terms of team play and it does not seem to be used to develop talent. My take on the late second round picks is that these are players who may need more time to develop. So why not draft players who are otherwise gifted but have holes in their games that can be worked on? Then have the D-league team run the same offense and defense as the Lakers and have the players be more likely to produce when then get called up. It may take 2-3 years for a player to become useful but then you would have a system that supported the Lakers.

  5. I see the Lakers as essentially on hold until the Kobe Bryant era ends.

    How could it be otherwise?

    His contract is beyond massive and the dude “sucks all the air out of the room”, so to speak.

    I think it’s somewhat similar to the situation the Lakers found themselves in with Magic and his seemingly endless returns to action, one way or another (by coaching or unretirement).

    How do you say “NO” to a titan?

    That said, I think moving forward, the Lakers will need to build through the draft. Talented young players on their rookie contracts seem to be the best value for the money and the punishing salary cap of today – which may be replaced by a true hard cap in the future – will limit the abilty of big market teams to apply their financial advantages. At the very least, it will require a modified approach to achieving excellence.

  6. Damn .. Just bring him back in some type of ‘Official’ capacity. What’s so hard about that?

  7. Well, i call it the price of sucess, of contending year after year but i hope we can get our draft situation sorted out soon, i mean, we could get lucky on one of those picks but my memory is hazy but i dont think any of the picks that we traded away aint exactly burning the league right now, i proposed some days ago or rather rant about if Dwight comes back how about trading Pau for some 1st round draft picks for this year or better yet next class? I dont know if this is possible with the new CBA but if it is it should be worth exploring. Just thinking out loud.

  8. Renato Afonso June 20, 2013 at 4:37 pm

    Chris J, I wouldn’t call Divac unpolished. If all, at his age and size, he was fairly polished when we drafted him.

    Now, you do mention one thing. Drafting players whose skill set meets the team’s needs. For a long time we had the triangle in place (except for that one Rudy T season) and PJ didn’t lose much time developing players. He actually tried to get seasoned veterans to help him. What we do need to do is have a plan. Who’s our franchise player? Who’s the 2nd best man? What’s the best strategy to help those two win the title? Which coach is better suited to get the most out of them? And with our current roster, what specific skill sets do we need to acquire to make the team stronger?

    If we don’t answer the first question, we’re certainly not answering the second. And only after answering them all, can we look for answers for the last question.

  9. @ Renato — Vlade was better than advertised as a rookie, but my “unpolished” remark applies more to how he was perceived around the league. There hadn’t been many foreign players in the NBA at that point so many people had questions — the language barrier and his cigarette smoking were two I recall reading. And honestly, if there weren’t some lingering doubts about his abilities leading into the draft, there’s no way a 7-footer with great hands who passed like a guard would have still been available to the Lakers picking 26th. If he were American, he’d have been a lottery pick in 1989.

    As to who the Lakers can build around going forward, and under what system? Your guess is as good as anyone’s. As Fern said, that’s the price to pay following years of success and a push to stretch out one more run with an older roster. Eventually, everyone has to start over.

  10. Andre excellent write up. I have questioned Mitch for several years. Other then the Pau deal, which may have been helped or created by West, Mitch has done a poor job with both drafts and bench. West was able to construct while also building for the future and did so with substantially less money to play with. Add in the new Jimmy Lakers with the scouting staff flushed and I as a long time fan wonder if the head or the tail is leading this horse to the finish or the glue factory.

  11. This series would have been so much more fun if Manu didn’t cough it up at critical possessions…

  12. What. A. Series.

    Bosh owes Battier a second life’s supply of Bud Light. If they had lost, he would have been absolutely eviscerated.

    As a basketball fan, sad to see the Spurs go out like that. Considering how little effect Lebron had on Parker early on, to see Parker wilt towards the end of the series like this was shocking. Manu’s brilliance always used to outweigh his human mistakes – he’s always played on the edge of control – but as he’s aged, that balance has tipped. Duncan, brilliant as always – just a game of bounces. Ewing’s underhanded flip shot flashed into my mind as I saw Duncan’s shot hit the back iron.

    The Spurs may have more chances, as Leonard is going to keep growing. But as Ginobili has aged, they’ll need to find a second playmaker / penetrator to take over in cases where an elite defender like Lebron can take Parker out of the game.

  13. I don’t know whether it was age or injury, but that was a terrible performance by Manu. He could barely handle the ball.

    Manu turns the ball over 20 times, parker gets tired and duncan misses point blank layups. Thats the game. Now we have to listen to the talking heads at espn say lebron is the GOAT. Can’t wait.

  14. Spurs gave it away in game 6. They deserved to lose in game 7 tonight. You can’t give away a championship like that and expect to get away with it against a championship team. Ok, time to hear the Lebron hype!

  15. Game 6 .. That’s all that the Spurs’ fans, the actual player’s and the entire organization will be thinking about all summer .. Game 6

  16. Manu jokes aside, it was actually a mismatch from the start that was only close because:

    1. Pop came up with a brilliant defensive scheme that worked on LeBron for a while
    2. Kawhi played like a young Kobe with poise
    3. Heat didn’t think much of Green until, well, Bosh declared that they will

    I was a bit shocked that the Spurs couldn’t take advantage of Bosh’s 5 fouls, especially with the way Tim abuses Bosh, but I guess Tim was spent (and old).

    Still very jealous of the Spurs’ ability to pick up young players like that. They won’t be able to replace TD (who, due to this loss, will not get a clear-cut advantage over Kobe) but it seems that they already got a nice building block in Kawhi.

  17. James played 45 minutes and put up a 37/12, on 12/23 shooting, with 8/8 FTs and 5/10 3s. Only 2 TOs. He has now gone over 30 in four consecutive Game 7s, and only Elgin Byalor, with five, has more 30+ Game 7s.

    At some point, it is better to tip the cap and move on.

  18. well said rr

  19. Miami just had more experienced role players. I don’t know all the details, but you have guys on their team who banded together to chase the ring. A guy like Haslem didn’t even play in this series’ final games. Miami is beyond deep. Rashard Lewis and James Jones can’t even get on the court for Miami in the playoffs. They would be heavy contributors if they were on the Lakers. Hell, even Juwan Howard would be called into action on the Lakers. In Miami, he wears a designer suit to the games. Depth won this series for Miami. Their depth allowed them to compile the best regular season record and acquire homecourt throughout the playoffs. You think that mattered in a game 7?

  20. San Antonio was one rebound away from the ring. Or one Kawhi free throw. Or one less turnover by Ginobli. Close but no cigar. Congratulations, Miami!

  21. Not that I feel bad for SA or anything, but in the years they come close, they really miss it by bare inches. Millimeters, even.

    2013 – the Game 6 we just saw
    2006- Manu’s foul on Dirk and his three point play
    2004- Fish’s 0.4
    2001- OK, we annihilated them in this one.

    Lot of success and a lot of agonizing, heartbreaking games for that fan base.

  22. Miami’s depth also showed up in the battle of attrition. Parker’s barking hamstring and Duncan’s knee woes won’t be used as excuses by the Spurs, but in such a close series they may have been a deciding factor.

  23. Only seven guys scored for Miami in the game tonight, and James and Wade scored 60 of their 95 points.

  24. The only deciding factor was on game 6 with 20 secs to go on regulation. You only have 1 chance to win. And you fail…

    Worst: You HAD it!

    Well, I’m glad I’m not a Spurs fan.

  25. Robin, only 5 players scored for Miami. In fact, 4 of them combined for all but 3 of their points.

    Bosh went scoreless on 0/5 FG with 2 TO’s and 5 PF’s. Snoopy’s right, he owes Battier a Ferrari right now.

  26. Warren Wee Lim June 20, 2013 at 10:08 pm

    Grats and hat tip for a well-fought series. As a basketball fan, though i I lost nearly $2000, this was plenty entertaining.

  27. Exactly, Miami won this series, not Lebron. More of the talk will be about Lebron possibly being better than Jordan because he has two rings now. In my opinion, Lebron should not even be compared to Kobe yet, until he at least gets another ring. People totally ignore how deep and talented the Miami team is as a whole.

  28. People totally ignore how deep and talented the Miami team is as a whole.

    No player does it alone, but as noted only five guys scored for them tonight (not seven, as I said). James scored 37 and most of the big ones down the stretch; he was huge in Game 6. Bosh didn’t score at all tonight, and they won anyway. Wade was good tonight, but he had a lot of issues in the playoffs and is getting old. They have some older 3-point shooters, a decent PG. and a decent reserve big in Andersen, but take away James and it is not a very imposing group. The whole thing revolves around him.

    I don’t like the way ESPN covers Kobe and LeBron, either, but James is by far the best player in basketball right now, and he is the biggest reason reason that Miami won the title. To suggest otherwise doesn’t make much sense.

  29. I’m glad that the Spurs lost…I’ve made my reasons clear many times, so I won’t repeat them again. I watched the game at a sports bar, so I didn’t get to hear anything after the game. Did anyone come down on Duncan for the 2 huge shots he missed or was all the blame on Manu? As for Lebron. He’s the best player in the game right now.

    rr- ESPN and many sportswriters have been writing that Lebron is better than Kobe before he ever won a ring. He has 2 now, but he won’t get another one in Miami unless they can flip Bosh for another superstar. Wade is old and broken down and he may contribute much less next year than he did this one.

  30. I disagree. I think you need to give the greatness of the Heat team credit first. This is a team game. The biggest reason the Heat won is because the Heat are a great team. You can’t really double Lebron because of the talent and shooters all around him. He had freedom to basically shoot open jumpers all night long. Keep in mind, it took a great game from Wade to win game 4. Lebron was Robin in that game. I don’t believe Kobe had that luxury in his last two championships, though I could be wrong. Given Lebron a lot of credit is acceptable. He is by far the best player in basketball today. However, media will treat him like a god as if he was the sole reason the Miami Heat won. Disgusting.

  31. Can someone explain why Tony Parker was on the bench for that crucial offensive possession near the end with the Spurs down 4?

    The only thing I could come up with was Pop wanting Ginobili to create with the floor spread using three-point shooting, but Parker has been equally good, and more consistent.

    This mirrored game 6, when Parker also rested for that last crucial offensive possession with the Spurs down 1 that resulted in a Manu turnover. That was attributed to fatigue, though.

    Just puzzling to me, that’s all.

  32. Simonoid

    I was in shock when I went to the box score and saw only five players scored. I felt that the game would go close to the final result, but as much as I hate him, Shane pulled Miami out of the fire. The difference of the game was really that banked in 3 pointer at the end of the quarter. The final score would have been different. What is funny is Chris Bosh doesn’t score, gives up a double-double to a 37 y/o man, and still gets a ring. If Pau did that we would crucify him. Ginobili had a good game statistics wise, but failed at the end. Green came crashing back to earth. Unbelievable. He finally hit a three and Pop pulled him. He was never the same.

  33. Battier came up big for the Heat to clinch this one. We all know James will be himself, however the poor play of Bosh was covered by Battier. I think this core of the Heat heavily relies on Lebron, however with the weak East, the Heat will definitely dominate them, unless Rose plays next year to challenge them.
    Remember this is their 3rd trip to the finals, so fatigued will come to them sooner, thats my opinion.

    Anyways, it was fun watching the last game of the season, of what has been a murder of a season for us Lakers. The 2 misses by Duncan down the stretch was really shocking.
    Age really affects greatness. (Here’s hoping Kobe will challenge that.)

  34. Give credit where credit is due. LBJ had a monster game. He carried his team to victory (almost half the points came from him). Like I said before, don’t let your love of Kobe blind you to LBJs skill. It’s the same situation Kibe faced when he started to dominate and People couldn’t let go of MJ

  35. This Miami title already makes them better than the Celtics “Big 3”. Two titles, 3 Finals appearances in 3 straight years. Celtics one title in 6 years and in a rebuilding phase. Overrated jokers.

  36. KenOak: Yes – We need to root against Celtics, Spurs and all other rivals.
    Kobe 7/5 Duncan 5/4
    Jackson with Lakers 7/5 Pop 5/4
    For you LeBronze and Wade haters. Yes – not my favorite either (especially that punk Wade). however LBJ is already one of the best of all time (like it or not).
    The key is to not put your team in a position where your fans need to make such choices !
    Now back to the topics at hand: DH, D’Antoni, Phil/Shaw/Scott, and Kobe’s recovery

  37. Clippers: So the basic ESPN report now sounds like this. Well,- if the Clips get Doc Rivers, there is a 99% chance Paul stays, and if they get Shaw/Scott/Hollins, there is a 95% chance he stays. The implication is that if Vinnie had stayed that the odds would be way less. So now on to the Lakers. Instead of my usual rhetoric, since the Sopranos have been in the news lately (James G RIP), I present you the following. The first bottle is the Clips and the second bottle is the Lakers. Michael Imperioli tells you what we are doing at the end of this video.

  38. Gotta give credit to Miami… Three finals in 3 years and 2 championships. We were there not long ago and they are there now. Scary to think they could probably get to the finals 2 more years in a row before their core is blown up. And even then, I think Bosh just showed the Miami FO that he is expendable and is easily replaceable by players making way less money – especially if it means keeping LBJ and Wade around (albeit Wade would be for sentimental reasons).

  39. “I don’t believe Kobe had that luxury in his last two championships, though I could be wrong.”

    I don’t think you are giving Pau Gasol enough credit. He was probably the best big man in the league in 2009.

  40. Now back to the topics at hand: DH, D’Antoni, Phil/Shaw/Scott, and Kobe’s recovery

    Exactly ..

  41. @Keno… Drafting Marc, trading for Shannon Brown, Trevor Ariza, Jordan Hill, and Clark… These were all done by Mitch and worked out nicely for the team. Getting Metta also worked out for the team. Considering where the Lakers have drafted, they may not have done as well as the Spurs but they have done well enough. Mitch did draft Bynum and that is hard to argue with. He traded for Chris Paul and Dwight Howard (getting rid of Bynum just in time). If you ask me, Mitch has done an incredible job and 5 finals visits with 3 wins is on his resume. Even Jerry West drafted Sam Jacobson and Ruben Patterson with Rashard Lewis available. He drafted Devean George with AK47 available and John Celestand and Ginobili available. This game can be played forever. Mitch is not the problem.

  42. Snoopy2006 — As to your “bare inches” post, it made me also think of how the Spurs may have advanced one season thanks to a close play that went in their favor.

    Had Horry’s three-pointer gone down in Game 5, the Lakers would have won the game by a point and had a 3-2 lead in that series. It slipped out, and instead they went back to San Antonio and were closed out in six.

    Considering how the Lakers had mauled the Nets the prior year — and how badly the Spurs mauled them in the 2003 Finals — you can’t help but wonder whether Horry’s shot being oh-so-slightly off was the difference between a four-peat or a summer spent chasing down Payton and Malone. It’s the close plays that define the champions, even if they’re not always head and shoulders above the runner-up. Which is why the game is so fun to watch (even when hated Miami wins).

  43. RE: Chris J.

    I remember that Game 5 to VS the Spurs as well… I am pretty sure we were playing at San Antonio… Kobe was a beast that game… brought us back… He was doubled on that play and passed to a wide open Horry for the 3 that missed… OUCH… so close…
    Then SA beat us at home to close out the series.

    You are right about the close plays defining champions…

  44. However, media will treat him like a god as if he was the sole reason the Miami Heat won


    Sole reason? No. Main reason? Clearly.

  45. Excellent take, Andre.

    With the new CBA the Lakers are going to be exposed for not having enough good, cheap talent. The easiest way to acquire such talent is via the draft. That said, if the Lakers do not get off to a good start next season, it would serve them well to aggressively explore a trade of Pau for younger players and picks; something akin to what Memphis did to them a few years back.

    Otherwise the final Kobe years, and beyond, will be a lot rougher than anyone would have ever hoped.