Julius Randle to Workout for the Lakers on Tuesday

Darius Soriano —  June 16, 2014

With less than two weeks before the NBA draft, teams continue to bring prospects in for workouts and interviews to get one last look at these players before having to make a final decision on who to select. The Lakers are no different and, after hosting several big name prospects two weeks ago, are bringing in another well known prospect on Tuesday. From Eric Pincus of the LA Times:

The Lakers will work out Kentucky forward Julius Randle on Tuesday in El Segundo at the team’s practice facility.

Randle is a 6-foot-9, 19-year-old power forward who helped the Wildcats advance to the NCAA championship game, before falling to the Connecticut Huskies.

Through 40 games at Kentucky, Randle averaged 15.0 points and 10.4 rebounds. The left-handed freshman projects to be a top-10 pick in the NBA draft on June 26.

In several mock drafts, including those from ESPN’s Chad Ford and Draft Express, Randle is the player who ends up going to the Lakers with their 7th selection. So, the fact that the team is bringing him for a workout should not be a surprise. Randle is seen by several analysts as one of the more NBA ready prospects and considering the Lakers are hoping to have a quick turnaround next year, that fact may hold extra weight when it is the Lakers’ turn to make a selection.

Despite a recent report that Randle will need to have foot surgery to remove a screw that was part of an earlier surgery, Randle is still projected to go in the top 10 picks. The procedure is seen as relatively minor and though it will keep him out for most of the summer, he is expected to recover in time to be ready for the start of training camp.

All that said, while Randle was plenty productive at the University of Kentucky, he does have his detractors as a prospect. Due to physical measurements and athleticism that are only average for NBA power forwards, there are questions whether his bullying style will translate to a league where he will no longer be a man among boys physically. He is seen as a player who will need to make adjustments to his style, develop a more consistent jump shot, and learn how to finish around the rim against players who offer more height and length than he saw on a nightly basis while in college.

The flip side to that, however, is that Randle’s dimensions are almost exactly the same as David Lee — a player who matches up quite well with most NBA PF’s physically. Further, Randle’s motor and aggressiveness should help off-set some of his physical limitations. After all, going hard all the time is a skill too and Randle seems to have that in spades.

In any event, after getting up close looks at potential picks Marcus Smart, Noah Vonleh, Aaron Gordon, and Doug McDermott the Lakers will now get to see how Randle performs. And while it will not be in a group setting where they can see how he measures up against his peers, they will still get to run him through some drills and get a better sense of who he is as a person. Whether all that adds up to him being the Lakers pick on June 26th remains to be seen, however.

Darius Soriano

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185 responses to Julius Randle to Workout for the Lakers on Tuesday

  1. I like Gordon and Vonleh personally. I think I’d take either guy over Smart. Not down on Smart as a player, but it just seems that every year we see young guards bouncing around in free agency/trade. Guys like Dragic/Lowery for example. You don’t often see good/great PF’s getting moved or who are available like that.

  2. Saw a lot of David Lee when he was with the Knicks. I’ve only seen Randle a few times. If Randle could be the type of player that David Lee is, I would love to see the Lakers draft him. However, I just don’t see that. Lee has the ability to put the ball on the floor and he is able to adjust the arc and angle of his shot to finish over size. I didn’t see much of that from Randle in the admittedly small sample size that I observed him in. Apparently the Lakers are doing their homework by working out potential picks, so I’ll trust them to make an informed decision. Hope they nail it.

  3. I hope they don’t draft him just because he’s (supposedly) more NBA-ready.

  4. David Lee is a 2 time all-star, once on the Knicks, but more impressively also on the Warriors. If Randle can be close to Lee, that should translate to success for the Lakers. Best player on a very average Knick team, and top three player on a good Warrior team.

    Disclaimer: David Lee was the last 1st round pick (#30) in 2005, w/ a number of forgettable players chosen before him (among the better known: D-Will @ #3, CP3 @ 4, Bynum @ 10, Danny Granger @ 17, & Nate Robinson @ 21).

    http://www.basketball-reference.com/draft/NBA_2005.html

  5. I think this pick should depend on whether or not the Lakers know who their coach is what type of identity they want to have, whether or not they have a shot at any free agents or re signing any of their players from last year. It makes sense that they are waiting, but I would have at least hoped they would have hired a coach by now.

    Randle, to me is an eventual all star in this league. He’s 19 years old still, just played in the ncaa finals, he has a post up game, he has a nice mid range jumper, and he is still probably growing, plus for a big he has a great motor. I see him as a better prospect than most and feel his ceiling is Elton brand but this pick depends on the direction the Lakers want to take and nothing that comes out of the front office gives me faith they have any plan. Plus, I feel like everywhere I look in the league there are great young guards so it’s easier to get a guard than a big this young, this good.

  6. Kobe keepin it classy

    “Jurgen is a coach, a manager,” he said. “He’s not a GM or owner of the franchise. When you look at it from that perspective, it changes a little bit. But you probably could have used another player as an example.” whole interview here:

    http://espn.go.com/los-angeles/nba/story/_/id/11096347/kobe-bryant-agree-jurgen-klinsmann-comments-us-sports-teams

    what if Kobe dropped his contract and went to play in NY with Carmelo, or Duncan. Tim Duncan could actually get his sixth ring before kobe, not that he has been the best player on the team for a while, but still that’s crazy how the spurs have set the team up for next year, only boris diaw and patty mills aren’t under contract ……yet…..wow. With the youngest finals mvp since magic…..wow. If I was kobe I’d take the veterans minimum just to prove a point and go win a ring to keep up with timmy haha.

  7. Come on, lucky number 7!

  8. I’m just not very certain Randle will excel in the NBA. I think he is a 1st round talent but not in the top 10 picks.

    I think Smart would be a good choice of someone who could start for the Lakers right away. Excellent 2 way player and a very sensible pick at 7.

    Vonleh I thik needs some time to develop. But given his size, ability to shoot, big hands, speed and athleticism I think hes a great pick at 7.

    Gordon I think is a feak of an athlete. If he could shoot he would be an amazing SF as is he projects as undersized PF but whose athleticism may make it work.

    LaVine, I would target as a trade down pick. I like versatile guys. Trading down would mean bringing in additional assets and possibly getting rid of Nash. LaVine I think has bright future. I would love to bring in PG Vasquez who is big enough to play SG/SF as well to start. Then have LaVine backing up Kobe/PG minutes until his body matures more.

  9. Renato Afonso June 17, 2014 at 9:28 am

    People usually give too much importance to wingspan and jumping ability. If athletic ability was all that was needed to succeed in the NBA scouting wouldn’t be hard and every team would be loaded. Bringing Randle in for a workout is the obvious thing to do as then they will make sure if his development will be easy or not.

    He doesn’t have a good jumpshot. He doesn’t finish with his right hand. He doesn’t steal the ball or block shots as a defensive big. He scores, rebounds, hustles and seems eager to work on his weaknesses. How can anyone say he’s a bad pick? Let’s wait and see…

  10. Below is a note on Randle from NBAdraft.net:

    “Notes: One of the most polarizing prospects of this year’s draft … He started the year regarded as one of the top forwards in the country. Talented and tough he was the star player of the highly valued freshman class of Kentucky … He has been very solid averaging 15 points and over 10 rebounds per game, but the poor performance of the Wildcats until the NCAA tournament seemed to have diminished the Randle brand … His upside is in fact the same one he had one year ago, very limited. However he is definitely a player ready to produce.”

    I suspect that the Lakers are simply doing their due diligence. Randle has huge strengths (power and rebounding) and glaring weaknesses (average size, poor defense, plays almost entirely below the rim). Similarly, Aaron Gordon offers huge pluses and minuses. On the plus side is Gordon’s almost unworldly athleticism (incredible jumping ability, quickness, mobility, youth, tremendous upside). Also, he is, together with Marcus Smart and Andrew Wiggins, one of the premier defenders in the draft. On the other hand, Gordon’s shooting (including FTs) is abysmal.

    Both are tantalizing prospects. And both present risks. I sense that Gordon’s upside might be higher. The question is: can you correct Aaron Gordon’s shot? If so, I think he might be the Lakers’ choice. If not, then the Lakers will probably go with Randle (or maybe Doug McDermott).

    I’m sensing that on draft day, the Lakers’ choice may come down to a Randle vs. Gordon decision. We shall see.

  11. Personally I think people look way too much on the flaws of a 19 year old. Everyone seems to forget what players like Kobe, Durant, Kevin Love, etc looked like as 19 year olds. And I think Kevin Love is a good person to look at. He fell to 5th because everyone saw someone unathletic and a little overweight. In his first couple of years he looked like he would be lucky to be a starter in the league. Now everyone is trying to find ways to get him. Remember all the experts thought Rondo, Finals MVP Leonard, Paul George, etc to be 15th or less as prospects. Beasley was a can’t miss prospect that many people questioned the Bulls for not taking first. The problem with everyones thinking is that it is all about the players strengthens and weaknesses. The truth is it is all about how the team develops the prospect and the work ethic of that player. That’s why I am not worried about whomever the Lakers get. They turned a projected late 1st round pick in Bynum into an allstar (before his ego and injuries finished off his career). They made Kwame Brown into the best he ever was (hey you can only do so much with so little). In fact the Lakers have an excellent track record for getting the best out of players. Give me the guy who will put in the work and the Lakers will teach them to reach their ceiling. And as for Randle that ceiling is high. Everything I read says he works really hard and is coachable. His shot will get there and his rebounding will always be a strength. I don’t see why he couldn’t be like Kevin Love (who couldn’t shoot threes until his third year in the league). Of course it will take 5 years to get there and by then Kobe should definitely be gone. Marcus Smart is a guy I like the most. His one big weakness is shooting and the Lakers have some of the best shooting coaches. I could see him as Deron Williams in his Utah days. Vonleh will be an easier fit than Randle and give you better D, but doesn’t have the scorers mentality to ever dominate on offense like Randle. Vonleh is a lot like Bosh in that way. Super skilled and a two way player. He will be a perfect third option. And Gordon has the best work ethic out of all of them. Look at what they said about Kawhi Leonard. It reads almost exactly like Gordon (the reason Kawhi went 15th). Couldn’t shoot, kind of a 3-4 hybrid, and very athletic. I am excited for whomever the Lakers get.

  12. While I think wingspan and jumping ability are not valuable on their own. they contribute quite a lot to the quality of basketball being played. I would rather take a young, long and bouncy player with a work-ethic and some brains than a more developed player who is limited athletically. Now, if the less athletic player shows some deep insight into the game then all bets are off. For instance, Kevin Love was never a great athlete but his touch around the rim, his post moves, his rebounding and his passing were always world-class. He had an intrinsic understanding of the game. Magic was never an elite athlete, but his understanding of the game, his work-ethic, his size and competitiveness made up for his limited bounce and foot-speed. Some guys can see the game unfold sooner than others and this makes up for a lot of athletic limitations. I don’t see that in Randal. He has great touch around the basket, he works hard, and will probably become a very good shooter. I don’t see his ability to anticipate being able to make up for his athletic shortcomings enough to think of him as an all-star caliber player. He is not a bad pick, but I think there should be better players available at #7.

    Gordon at the #7 pick would be a huge error. If he wants to improve his shooting he could get lessons from Dwight Howard. Gordon’s touch around the rim is pretty bad too. I love the other stuff he does but none of that is going to make up for the 4 on 5 basketball the team will be playing on the offensive end.

    A week ago I would have said the Lakers had zero chance of getting Exum, now I’d say there is maybe 5%. He is dropping in the mock drafts and there is at least a decent chance his agent may be working on dissuading the Lepers from taking him ahead of us. In a perfect world, they pick Gordon and we get either Exum, Smart or Vonleh.

    If the best player available is a power forward, I would love that convergence of need and opportunity, but I still think the team needs to grab the player who they think will be the best player in 3-4 years, not the guy who will contribute to their missing the playoffs by a bit less next year.

  13. Randle: I’ve already said why I don’t like him. Perhaps positional scarcity should be taken into account in making this pick. As Chris Y notes, guards are more easily found. The FO believes in taking the BPA regardless of position, which is the right approach for a roster devoid of talent. If the talent level between Randle and a guard prospect is close, we might the Lakers taking a big like Randle. Renato’s points about what Randle has as attributes are well taken. If a guy has weaknesses but is a hard worker with a great motor, he very well might become a great player in time. To me, the key is can he develop the shooting range to space the floor? In today’s game, that is critical for the four spot. If he can, you might have a helluva player.

    Mike Trudell interview with Ryan West (previous thread): Again a good interview by Trudell that gives insight into the draft decision process and a few worthwhile nuggets. I liked what Ryan West said about Bill Bertka; who is still sharp as can be and pretty much invented modern scouting. (Side note, I went to high school with his daughter who was a hottie.) Nice to hear that Jesse Buss has made improvements to the scouting department. Not the first thing I’ve read about Jesse that suggests he is on his way to being a capable scouting professional.

  14. Bottom line: HUGE % of Laker fans are nervous about our teams #7 pick. It can’t be an ok pick, or even a good pick. It has to be the best possible pick they can make at 7. Why?

    -because they are not projected to have a 1st round pick next year (unless they’re worst than this year).
    -because they have soooo much of the salary cap tied up in an aging superstar coming back from serious injuries and neither we (nor they) have any idea what his on court production will be.
    -because they still don’t have a coach (so much for building from the top down)
    -because there are sooo many questions about the ability of the front office and the direction they taking.
    -because no one appears to know who else will even be on the team.

    Looks like the #7 pick will have more pressure & expectations from the his team fan base then any other 1st round pick this year. Hope he can take it.

  15. As I have said, this will be IMO the most important pick the franchise has made since 1980–even picking at 7.

  16. Side note: Congratulations to Kawhi Leonard, only the second player from California to win the finals MVP award. Kawhi Leonard was a football player at Canyon Springs High School in Moreno Valley before a referee/ex-Riverside King player/former Pepperdine University guard Marvin Lea found him and convinced him that basketball was the sport in which he could excel. Leonard took his 11 inch hands to basketball, and the rest is history, now he’s the NBA Finals MVP.

    For more information, the article is detailed at TeamEleate.com this youth basketball program from Riverside is developing good basketball players.

    Randle most likely will be a decent NBA player even if his arms are T-Rex short like former NBA player Kevin Willis. I’m more concerned about his basketball IQ more than his physical limitations. He can develop a go to move, become a decent 15 foot shooter, and learn to finish around the rim (see Jodie Meeks). However, he will most likely not change on his court awareness.

    Gordon is athletic, plays defense, basketball IQ, has decent handles, and can improve his shot (see Lebron James, Trevor Ariza, Derek Fisher, Blake Griffin, Kevin Love et.al). If he’s willing to get in the gym with a shooting coach and put up 1000 shots a day, his shot and form will develop.

    Smart is strong, plays defense, can run the offense, high level of intensity, and can also improve his shot (see above).

    Kobe is maligned for driving free agents away from the Lakers based on his, “I eat first” mentality. All three of the aforementioned players in the draft proclaim how they would love to play with Kobe Bryant. Fans appear to have overlooked how many draft picks promulgate their desire to play under the tutelage of the “Mamba.”

  17. I think people are overrating the importance of this pick and saying the Lakers don’t have a plan. They do and you can figure it out without being told it. They plan to take the best player available (they won’t care about position) and that player will be a trading chip for a star player (Love, Westbrooke, Durant, Irving, etc). They have said that don’t believe in building slowly. And they have the luxury of not having to like most other franchises. If they get Love or Irving, every year teams will be terrified of the Lakers as a place FA will want to go. Once they are a decent team all the stars will want to play there again, they know it and other teams know it. So I think the only reason they would keep the rookie (more likely to get traded midseason than on draft day) is if those teams refuse to trade with the Lakers. And we know guys like Horford, Love, etc are up for trades. Durant wouldn’t go to LA as a bottom feeder, but if they were even a 7th seed on the rise they are betting he would.

  18. TheNumberOfFlopsIsTooDamnHigh June 17, 2014 at 1:10 pm

    I think Justin hit the nail on the head: everyone gets caught up with the flaws of (19 year old) draft picks.
    Plus all the focus on stats like wingspan and vertical leap, when in fact it is much more about character and personality, the will to continue to work hard and improve,
    be coachable and a team player
    that will determine how valuable a player will become (and continue to be) for a team.

    That said, I think this can not be evaluated from a few youtube scouting vids and a couple of (rehearsed) and short interviews. It takes a real character to evaluate another character, and some real face to face time. Not a stopwatch and measuring tape.

    I also think that it speaks volumes that we just saw a team without a real “superstar” (albeit legit hall of famers, no doubt) completely dismantle the team with the best basketball player currently on the planet, plus some other more or less super-star players. (and this is coming from an absolute LeBron non-fan)

    Not much athleticism or above the rim flashiness there, just a group of guys that bought into a philosophy and followed the direction of a good coach, instead of ego padding stat sheets.

    So while I am looking forward to the draft, I think it is also really important at this time to get the right coach and staff in place, and start plotting a system and direction that helps us get back to contention, before we can add all other pieces of the puzzle.

    Oh and by the way, I’ll say it again: if we don’t at least land one top talent in free agency on top off nailing this draft, it will make it even that much harder to lure one top free agent next year, let alone building a complete team that can contend.

  19. This is the problem w picking 7th – the lakers need talent at every position – and therefore usually should just take the most talented player regardless of size etc… problem is picking this far down and with deficits at every position the FO (and fans for that matter) are now forced to split hairs and over examine every deficiency for a multitude of players in a what could be a very talented draft – instead of knowing they’ll be well off regardless who they pick if they were in the top 3-4. All other things being equal, talented bigs are harder to come by so I think size is going to end up winning out in this draft for LA

  20. the other Stephen June 17, 2014 at 1:52 pm

    Nice points, @Chearn. By the way, Kevin Willis only had a 6’10″ wingspan, but he was still 7’0″.

  21. hey darius: hope you had a great father’s day weekend.

    what I see in Julius Randle is his ability to make free throws, especially down the stretch in games during this past ncaa tournament. and of particular importance, was how randle put himself in position to be at the free throw line. this ability will go a long way toward helping and beneficial to any nba team throughout any game and in particular during crunch time.

    remember, he’s young; less the pink flag concerning his foot; big body; does not appear to be afraid to bang bodies. I like his toughness. wouldn’t hurt to take a look see.

    Go lakers

  22. @Chearn: I think you are very right about Kobe. Young guys grew up idolizing Kobe and by the time they get into their prime Kobe will be retired. Guys who are currently in their prime by the time Kobe retires could very well be on the decline. One of things that made Gasol so great was he could play 2nd fiddle without it being an issue.

  23. By the way Randle has an NBA average wing span for power forwards. So talk of Trex arms seems off. He has a 7’0″ wing span. I don’t think that will be a big issue in the NBA. He will never be Ibaka, but it won’t really affect him on offense and won’t kill his defense. Plus his D will be fine so long as there is a shot blocking big with him (you know how no one points out David West short arms or D, or Zach Randolph, and no brings up David Lee’s shot blocking, although his other aspects of D are brought up quiet a bit). Look Randle won’t be a franchise PF like Duncan. But look at all the other PFs who he can be just as good as: Kevin Love, Al Jefferson (surprizing he doesn’t get more AJ comparsions), D Lee, Randolph, D West. And that is just off the top of my head (I picked only guys with 6’10 with average wing spans with the same potential Randle has in my opinion).

  24. My concern with Randle is his height. He’s 6′ 7.75″ in socks. My fear is that he is a tweener. What is his outside shot like? Has there been any discussion about him losing some of his weight and playing the three?

  25. @Leo, He is definitely not a 3 and would be too slow to play there. Plus his shot at 15 feet is still a work in progress. He may play some 3 in his career but he is definitely a 4. But the 6″8 is overrated. That was without shoes. Every NBA player goes by in shoes (where he is 6’9″). Here is a list of players from the Draft Measurements:
    Blake Griffin 6’8.5 height, 6’11 wing span
    David West 6’8.25 height, 7’4 wing span
    Kevin Love 6’7.75 height, 6’11 wing span
    David Lee 6’7.75 height, 7’0 wing span
    Julius Randle 6’7.75 height, 7’0 wing span

    He fits them perfectly (except for David West who has a greater wing span).

  26. “My concern with Randle is his height. He’s 6? 7.75? in socks. My fear is that he is a tweener. What is his outside shot like? Has there been any discussion about him losing some of his weight and playing the three?”

    This reminds me of Derrick Williams. Not really big enough to be a full time NBA power forward. But not quick enough on his feet to be a true small forward. These are the kinds of players I want the Lakers to avoid like the plague.

    I’m no fan of “combo” guards either. That usually means an undersized shooting guard who can’t get away with playing the two in the NBA. So they try to double as point guards but usually lack the court awareness and passing ability of a legit NBA point guard.

    I hope the Lakes can draft a player that excels in at some aspect of the game. Players can be developed in other areas. But you would like them to have some element to their game that stands out immediately.

  27. Justin:
    Blake Griffin 6’8.5 height, 6’11 wing span
    David West 6’8.25 height, 7’4 wing span
    Kevin Love 6’7.75 height, 6’11 wing span
    David Lee 6’7.75 height, 7’0 wing span
    Julius Randle 6’7.75 height, 7’0 wing span
    _____

    Not to be a party pooper but:
    - Griffin and Lee are pretty athletic in that they can play above the rim, handle the ball and run the floor.
    - Love can shoot the three like a guard, handles the ball and rebounds like a demon
    - You correctly point out that West’s wingspan allows him to play much bigger and he always had a plus motor.

    Randle does rebound well in college and that tends to translate well to the next level. However, I share the concerns of Leo and T Rogers as I think he will struggle with skill set of opposing Fours in the NBA. I think his ceiling is a heavier version of Jordan Hill.

  28. Todd: Regarding Randle – I think his ceiling is a heavier version of Jordan Hill.
    ___

    I agree, why not just resign Jordan Hill? He’d be cheaper and we wouldn’t have to spend #7 draft money on a player that wouldn’t contribute much in the first two years.

  29. Quoting SB Nation “Randle is built like a Tyrannosaurus Rex: all torso and no arms. He has a 6’11 wingspan, per Draft Express, which is enormous in most contexts, but not the super-sized world of the NBA paint. When matched up against the best power forwards in the world, he’s going to have a significant length disadvantage, a problem that could impact his game on both sides of the ball.”

    Randle’s Wingspan ratio to height is worse then David Lee’s. Randle’s steal ratio is also subpar for his position which is yet another red flag of future success in the NBA.

    I don’t mean to say Randle is a horrible draft pick but as I said he should not go in the first 10 picks. Randle should not be a consideration for the Lakers unless they trade down to get him.

  30. I think we’re in a good spot. We have the 7th pick in a 7 player draft. It’s a near certainty that Wiggins-Embiid-Parker go in the top 3. That 2nd tier (in my eyes) Is Exum-Smart-Randle-Vonleh in that order and we’re guaranteed one of them. That being said, i’m low on Vonleh because i don’t think he’ll ever be even an average offensive player. My hope is that Boston or Utah grabs him and we get Smart or Randle. If it’s Vonleh, i hope we trade down to 11 or 12 and grab LeVine and a high 2nd rounder. And if we draft McDermott, we’re screwed

  31. Regarding Randle: I just watched his DraftExpress video. If he can develop an outside shot I think he could play the three. I believe he has a better handle than most would give him credit for. As a small forward he would be a beast – in the NBA I think he is an average big forward.

  32. Chearn, can you name the last 43% free-throw shooter to develop into a serviceable NBA offensive player? You can go look it up but, I already have an answer for you. Gordon would literally become the 1st player ever to shoot that poorly and develop into a good NBA player. Plus, if you look at his tape, he is not that great a 1-on-1 defender. His foot-speed is excellent and he can stay with perimeter scorers, but he does not do a good job against college post players. He is far from a defensive stopper. Karl Malone, a far more developed player coming into the NBA then Gordon is, and he never shot FTs below 54% in college. He eventually became a good shooter and hit FT at 80%. He always had touch around the basket, but even that is a rarity. Tim Duncan shot 54% from the line in his freshman year and now is something in the 70% range for the last 6 seasons, and thats Tim Duncan. Duncan was a clear stud when he came out of college. He always had touch around the rim, even as a freshman. There are some nice things about Gordon’s game but unless he is attacking the rim, his scoring is going to be a problem for a while. You watch guys like Smart and Exum, who have trouble shooting, but not to anything like the degree Gordon does. Today’s game needs a shooting 4 to spread the floor. I can’t emphasize enough how bad an idea I think it would be to draft Gordon.

    Justin, the Lakers need young, cheap talent. It is more important for them to get that then it is for them to nab Love. The Lakers need to collect assets.

  33. P Ami: Asset acquisition is the key. Spot on.

  34. Ben Wallace was a fairly decent NBA player shot 42% from the free throw line. I don’t think Gordon is doomed but, it could be painful to watch free throws for a while…..

  35. Andre Drummond!!

  36. While playing for Oklahoma Blake Griffin shot .589 from the free throw line his last season (Sports-reference.com). His rookie year with the Clippers he shot .642, dipped down to .521 and made incremental improvements to .660 and .715 for a career average of .642 (espn.go.com). If Gordon is at least 75% as good as Blake Griffin is I think, the Lakers would draft him 10 out of 10 times.

    In the right system Gordon, Smart, Vonleh, or Randle are probable NBA players with sustainable careers. Regardless who the Lakers draft, that player has to steal some of the Clippers thunder to provide Lakers fans a measure of excitement and hope. Right or wrong, as has been noted, the player the Lakers selects will be required to walk in the door entertaining Lakers Nation.

    Just as others on this board, I believe the Lakers will draft for another team to bring a veteran player on board, it just makes sense. The only way this doesn’t happen is if the Lakers see the player as a cog for the team’s plans.

    BTW, since the league is pretty much driven by guards, Curry, Lilliard, Westbrook, Rose?, Paul, Bledsoe, Dragic, Lawson, Irving, Wall, and Teague, wouldn’t Smart provide the Lakers with an opportunity to join these teams with an intense point guard that defends? Generally, teams are built around the pg position or the center position, unless of course, Lebron is available then you start with a forward.

  37. i would also like to see the pick traded if we can get a veteran that can contribute immediately, and i assume the FO is thinking this way too.

    If not, there are many variables and legitimate concerns about each draft pick,
    but I think I see them drafting either Smart or Gordon if they intend to keep that player.

    Smart, if he’s being compared to Westbrook sounds like he can play well quickly,
    with a rep as a good defender.
    Gordon sounds like he has great upside and will provide some high-flying entertainment.
    And – Gordon was my father’s first name, so he’s bound to be of high character :)

  38. P. Ami,

    I think your judgement of Aaron Gordon is a bit harsh. Bear in mind that he is 18 years old (the youngest of all the prospective draftees) and still very much a work in progress. As such, if the Lakers draft Gordon (or even Noah Vonleh), they will almost certainly be drafting a player who will not be fully developed for another 2-3 years (or more).

    Marcus Smart and Doug McDermott are older, have more experience, and are more “NBA-ready.” But to villify an 18-year basketball player such as Gordon for having holes in his game is a bit unfair IMO.

  39. Darius,

    I hope it is ok to post this link here — I thought the analysis was interesting, particularly within the context of the ongoing debates on this site. I am not offering my own take, just putting the link for others to read and consider:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fancy-stats/wp/2014/06/18/kobe-thinks-teams-should-reward-players-for-what-they-have-done-he-is-wrong/

    As you (and others) have pointed out, roster construction, particularly in a changing contractual environment, is an incredibly complex undertaking. Knowing when a championship team is too old, knowing when a young team needs veteran leadership, knowing when to “start over” — all tough, tough questions with no obvious answers.

  40. I agree with all of you that guys develop. No question. I don’t see Gordon’s shooting as a hole in his game, I see it as a crater left by comet that precipitated an extinction level event. I’m not saying a team shouldn’t draft Gordon. I’m saying nobody in the top-10 should draft Gordon. What Ben Wallace eventually brought, after years of journeying, and for a pretty short amount of time, was special. He never became any kind of offensive player. That FT shooting was indicative of a real problem with his game. Chearn, I provided examples of player who went from 55% FT shooting percentages and over time got better at free throws and were able to extend their touch out to 18-20 feet. Gordon has limited touch around the basket and shot 43% from the line. There is no precedence of a player going from below 45% at the line to being a competent offensive player. Ben Wallace is an example that proves my point. Now, Gordon’s handle and his court-vision are better than what I remember Wallace possessing. So, there is that but the NBA game is played differently than it was at the time Wallace was relevant. First, Wallace was an undersized (but very strong) 5 who could put a brick wall between a center and the basket. If you watch Gordon, he does not defend the post well. College guys were able to beat him in the post. Second, You NEED to space the floor with at least one of your bigs, normally the 4. Gordon is not going to be a center. The positive is if teams are mainly using their 4s to spread the floor, Gordon should be able to defend the 3PT line really, really well and stay guys on the perimeter. He should be able to switch onto all numbers up to the 1 guard. That is a very useful player in the NBA.

    I can’t tell if Gordon passes as well as Blake. His handle looks pretty good and he seems to be able to do that point-forward work that Griffin has gotten really good at. He seems to have a better sense of defense than Blake has. He rebounds, he has motor. He has a lot of good habits and talents. So, I’m not trying to bash the guy. I am sticking to my point about his scoring. There is no precedence for a player developing into a decent offensive player with Gordon’s touch around the rim and abysmal proficiency at the line.

    I am shocked, BTW, with reading that Randal posted a 38″ vertical at the Lakers’ facility. There was absolutely no sign of that in his game while playing at Kentucky and if he added springs to his legs since the championship game, well then, I think my views on him can change. It is possible that a guy with explosive legs might not use that ability in game for some reason (mental block or maybe it effects his touch) but if Randal just put the work in and got bouncy, I would jump all over getting him with the 7th pick.

  41. From what I have seen of Gordon, he is a good pick anywhere past #5. NBA level defense on the back line is more about being able to rotate and make smart decisions on the back line as it is individual defense on a post player. Yes, the best defensive players do both, but if choosing one or the other I’d imagine the “rotating and being the right spot” guy is more valuable than the “defend the post one on one” guy considering how much P&R is run across the entire league.

    As for his offense, I don’t know if his shooting will ever develop to competent levels. I’ve seen the video and there is a hitch in his release. Whether that can be ironed out or worked around remains to be seen. Players do get better at shooting however. And in a P&R system, I could imagine him being a very good finisher as a dive man. I can also imagine him being the flash man on the back end of a P&R and be a passer once he makes a catch in the middle of the floor. The nature of the P&R makes it so the dive man must prove to be a threat when attacking the rim. That threat then affects the defense. If Gordon can catch in the paint and finish or draw fouls that will be tremendously useful on offense.

    When taking the entire picture, Gordon is a top 10 player in this draft. He has too many tools not to be. That said, the draft is nearly always a gamble on the fulfillment of potential and the ability of a prospect to grow his game in both predictable and unpredictable ways. There is a trajectory every evaluator has in mind for a prospect and the ability of a team to get him on that trajectory and for the player to put in the work to stay on it is what makes a player reach his theoretical ceiling. I don’t know how Gordon will turn out and haven’t seen enough to make any sort of declarative statement. But, again, he has the tools.

  42. Teri: Regarding Randle: I just watched his DraftExpress video. If he can develop an outside shot I think he could play the three. I believe he has a better handle than most would give him credit for. As a small forward he would be a beast – in the NBA I think he is an average big forward.
    __

    Does anyone know if the Lakers FO would consider playing Randle at small forward? He is similar in size to Jabari Parker who is considered a 3 at the next level. I agree with Teri and others who feel that Randle would be over matched against most NBA 4s.

    Part of the reason I say this is because I would like the Lakers to pursue Greg Monroe as a PF. I would resign Pau as my center.

  43. Darius, I see the hitch in his jumper and whether he could iron that out or become consistent with that hitch is one issue. I think the bigger problem is his touch around the rim. The language I am using probably makes it sound as though I am declaring him a bust before he’s put in the work and gotten his chance. I’m not trying to come at it from that attitude. I’ve just not ever seen a player with one year of college under his belt, bad touch around the rim, a hitch in his jumper, and 43% FT shooting becoming a competent offensive player in the NBA. I would not take that chance with such an important pick Whoever gets him, I hope I’m wrong… unless he goes to the Lepers.

  44. P Ami,
    I guess my point is it seems you’re saying he will never be a “competent offensive player” and that is such an all encompassing term. And I don’t think it it applies to a player who has the ball handling and passing skills or the pick and roll potential to finish above the rim that Gordon has. Saying he may never develop a reliable jumper and then discussing how that limits his ability as a player to stretch the floor (and the effect that has on spacing) is one thing. Saying what you’re saying is akin to saying he’ll be a minus on offense for his career which, no offense, comes off as silly at this stage of his development considering the other tools he has in his bag.

    I should add that I say this as someone who does have questions about whether his jumper will develop and how that will affect his ability to play from out to the 3 point line and in (which is becoming more of a requirement for players his size). But a guy at his size who can play in the open court and has the ability to pass well and create some off the dribble against bigger players should find a niche on offense — especially if used by a creative coach.

  45. How realistic is this scenario:
    a) Embiid/Parker/Wiggins go 1, 2 and 3
    b) Orlando chooses Smart
    c) Utah selects Vonleh
    d) Minnesota (in a pick acquired in a KLove deal) selects Gordon
    e) The Lakers pick Exum!

  46. Brian,

    Based on what I have read: unlikely, but certainly not impossible.

  47. why would Orlando pick smart and not exum? exum is taller and would be a point guard with length to go along with their small shooting guard.

  48. sufian: why would Orlando pick smart and not exum? exum is taller and would be a point guard with length to go along with their small shooting guard.
    ___

    Your right, Orlando would likely not take Smart – they would opt for Exum. However, Exum is an 18 yr old and may take some time to make an impact. Smart is virtually plug and play in the starting lineup. Smart is 6″ 3′ and Oladipo is 6″ 4′ so they are not a small back court by any means.

  49. RE Orlando and Smart vs. Exum: rumors have been out there for a while that Orlando really likes Smart as a prospect. It has been said he would have been at the top of their draft board had he declared after his freshman season with speculation that he would have been drafted instead of Olidipo had he been in the draft. Smart has also worked out for the Magic and a recent article from the Orlando Sentinel says the Magic “love his intangibles”.

    Of course all this could be a smokescreen, but It would not surprise me if Smart is picked before the Lakers’ pick and it would not surprise me if it is by the Magic. Now, whether Exum gets to #7 is another story entirely. Stranger things have happened, but that seems doubtful. My guess is that the Lakers are choosing between Gordon and Randle at #7.

  50. It’s official: Kobe is 100% healthy…according to him in the following interview from the World Cup in Brasil: http://hangtime.blogs.nba.com/2014/06/18/kobe-bryant-im-100-percent/

    Question: does this make anyone feel any different about the Lakers today than they did yesterday?

  51. I am actually not looking at this pick as being as significant as others are. It could be, only if we get very lucky. However most likely we will get a decent but not great player. I remember CHearn said not so long ago that an AC Green type would be good (picked 23rd). I agree. In fact – I would trade the pick for a rookie AC Green right now. But that is not coming anywhere near changing the franchise by itself. In any case, we can’t trade the pick for AC, so we roll the dice. We have had only 6 top ten picks since 1970. Everyone remembers Magic and Worthy who were both #1 overall. The other 4 were Kermit Washington, David Meyers, Junior Bridgeman, and Kenny Carr. One was known for breaking Rudy T’s jaw, 2 were traded for Kareem, one is worth about $1/4 billion and all 4 have a total of one all star appearances. So with the #7 pick let’s ask – what are the odds of getting a Worthy or Magic. I am thinking less than 5%. The odds of getting an AC Green or Eddie Jones (or Bridgeman who was a decent 6th man) might be about 60%, and the remaining 35% is left with guys like Kenny Carr (#6), or David Meyers (#2). Forgive me if I am underwhelmed. Someone cheer me up by telling me that Jim Buss just got a new haircut or a new suit.

  52. I’m 100% sure that Kupchak knows more about these prospects than I do.
    I kinda get a feeling the Lakers’ll make a good selection, or move.
    After two disappointing seasons in a row, and Kobe’s farewell tour looming,
    I think the FO feels the heat (no pun intended) to make this a very productive
    and promising offseason.

  53. As a UK fan I have watched Julius Randle play every game in college and a few in high school.

    Anyone overlooking or dismissing this kid as another PF hasn’t seen him play.

    First and foremost Calipari (love the guy but not the best Xs& Os coach) underuses many of his star players in order to showcase the crop of talent he has. Julius Randle has the ability to shoot outside shots and did so in high school but just like Anthony Davis, Cal restricted him to play in the post more.

    Regarding his athleticism, anyone questioning it needs to watch video, the guy can score on anyone. He was known as mini Lebron in HS because he can attack the basket and post up. He has excellent hands and touch for his size, especially around the rim. Where he got into trouble during the season at UK, is that A. Calipari rarely ran an offense, and B. He was triple teamed on a consistent basis. It is almost like Lebron in the finals this year, he would try to make moves, get triple teamed and pass out to shooters who wouldn’t hit shots (which made it that much harder for Randle to score). When UK players finally started to hit their outside shots is when you saw the team go on their tournament run. Honestly he has Lamar Odom ability, he has terrific handles and could probably play point forward and initiate offense.

    He is only going to get bigger, faster and stronger. He has the motor of a bull, he isn’t afraid to go up against anyone. He is a total team player as he sacrificed personal stats all season for the good of the team. He is a decent passer, his shot will be inconsistent initially. On top of it all he is an extremely nice kid who wants to be among the best.

    Measurements are great but I know in comparison to what Vonleh and Gordon did this year, Randle outplayed both. He will be the most NBA ready big man and he is an alpha male personality like Kobe in the sense that he will do whatever it takes to win.

    My last point about Randle is that while everyone is so high on Wiggins, those who follow recruiting know that those 2 had one of the more epic high school games playing against each other with Julius playing him evenly. You can watch youtube highlights and see the guy is just as elite as Wiggins, now in terms of prospective futures, sure Wiggins could be better but Julius won’t be far off.

  54. Darius… I decided to look at tape on Gordon again. I seemed to have recalled him having less touch around the rim than what I just looked at. Looking at some of his work against UCLA, Duke, etc… It seems he can finish off the glass and with scoop shots. Gives me a better opinion of his prospects.

  55. Also I would like to state that some of these NBA scouts that talk publicly about players really don’t know what they are talking about half of the time. So take the things they say with a grain of salt, all year he has called James Young of Kentucky an excellent passer and ball handler and I consider him the worst I have ever seen in my years of watching college ball.

    The best way to formulate an opinion on a player is to watch countless hours of tape and see them in person, which is exactly what Mitch and others will be doing.

  56. randle reminds me of karl malone.

  57. * Meant to say Chad Ford in my last post

  58. @Todd, Yes Love can now shoot threes. He couldn’t in his rookie year. Randle will develop his game. Likely he will be a 4 that drives the ball to the basket. So he only needs a decent outside shot because most bigs will play way off him. And you ignore his strength and skilll around the basket. Zach Randolph isn’t any bigger (thus you see almost all of his comparsions to him). Randle should be a post score and shooter similar to him. And watch draftexpress breakdown of him. He will be a double figure rebounder much like K Love. He goes after it and has a knack for knowing where it will go. And like K Love and Randolph he will be a poor defender (where his average length and size will be a problem) and need a shot blocker behind him. He won’t be a top 5 player ever in the league, but top 25 is still very likely. Remember alot of these experts project out players who end up being completely bust and guys like Leonard, P. George, Rondo turn out much better. Heck look at last years draft. #1 pick Bennet struggled (projected top 4), #3 pick Porter struggled (projected top 3), #4 Zeller struggled (Supposedly NBA most ready), I ignore Len and Noel because of injury, #7 McLemore struggled (Top 5 projected), and so on until MCW at 10!. I know you will say it is a weak class (and it was), but the point is everyone gets it wrong. You may not like a guy (most NBA critics hated Rondo and fans on boards said he should have been a 2nd rounder and couldn’t shoot), but it is not who you like but who the team can develop. Again I don’t think it matters who the Lakers get, that player will reach their ceiling with the Lakers (for however long they have him since I still think they will make a trade to win now and use that winning to recruit. There is a reason Lebron has no interest in the Cavs eventhough they have 3 #1 picks on that team. Lebron doesn’t want to wait or hope they aren’t bust. That will go with any team. Lakers will not get a 5 star FA until they are winners again. And Love is only 25 with a game that will take him to 35 no problem).

  59. @JC i agree with you 100%, i dont understand people demanding for “plans”, the FO dont have to tell us anything and several times they have hinted at what it is and they know the teams needs inside and out a million times more than all of us combined. Im not concerned about the Draft or the HC all those things are going to happen in due time and some people will complain regardless because its not what THEY wanted. The most encouraging sign i seen in months was seeing Kobe in Brazil he looks in great shape already and we all know how he takes real or perceived slights, whatever team we end up having it will be a better team with Kobe in great shape, even if he lost some of his athleticism, his skills are too vast and his basketball mind too sharp to just fade away i fully expect Kobe to be a top 10 player at the very least, and for all you people whinning about his extension, he repeated for the 1000th time that he plans to retire after his contract ends. Unlike the “doom and gloom” crew, i feel optimistic that the team will start improving next season and i always have expressed my suspicion that the team willl go for broke on 2015 to try to give Kobe a 6th ring send off. My biggest desire is seeing Kobe torching the league again so i could say “ye of little faith”About the pick? I dont going to guess anymore “let the chips fall where they may” they know what they doing.GO LAKERS!!!

  60. @Justin, the premise that the Lakers need to start winning to atract a 5 star free agent is a bit silly, how many games the Celts won the season before they got their “big 3″? The Heat were a doormat 8 seed team before they got their “big 3″ if it was so important that the team they were going to was winning why they didnt went to the Cavs that won 127 games combined the 2 prior seasons? What the Lakers need to do is start putting the right foundation in place. The Lakers are always going to be atractive to free agents. About the kids in the Draft im more exited about some more than others, but to presume to predict their careers at this point? SMH, i dont believe the hype on any of these players until they start bumping against grown men in the NBA, i would not dare to presume to guess how these kids games are going to develop. Some of this kids are going to grow a couple of more inches,bulk up, get more confortable with their bodies, work on their games ect,ect,ect. Kobe for example was a terrible outside shooter when he came in. Too early to presume to predict career developments.

  61. Fern- I agree with you. But I think some fans feel uneasy about the direction of the team at this stage and want to see a road map to once again being a contender. I personally think that asking for such things is pointless, given that so much can change week to week during free agency and year to year, but I recognize that such requests will continue until the FO can put to rest some of that uneasiness through actions.

    As a side note: I hear the Clips may be looking to part with some pieces in an effort to clear cap space to make a run at a certain highly coveted free agent. I think thats a fools errand as I highly doubt any marquee free agent will want to be associated with the Clippers until the Sterling mess is settled. However, I also think this may be an opportunity for the Lakers, who have enough cap room to take advantage of the situation and add some of good pieces to the roster (like a solid center) for very little while still retain enough financial flexibility to still make a run at a good free agent this off season (potentially, even the same highly coveted free agent the Clippers desire).

  62. That last anonymous posting was me.

  63. Robert,

    A couple of weeks ago, I posted a list of all #7s since 1980. Some busts, but also some really good players, Steph Curry arguably being the best. The pick is important because:

    1. It is, literally, the only asset other than some cap space, and the brand, that the org has. Kobe at his salary is not really an asset until he proves he can play well, and his salary is so massive that other teams will have as much or more cap space over the next two years.
    2. The Lakers need high-level cost-controlled talent at all positions. This is their best shot to get a guy who fits that.
    3. The Lakers need something significant to go right–to work. One thing that I am going to keep mentioning when it fits: some of the moves that the Lakers make right now will likely affect whether they can actually get any of these FAs that people are fantasizing about. There is buzz out there that Kevin Love would like to play here, if the team were good, but as it is, he has already pretty much written the Lakers off.

    So, it is like I said so many times: Buss needs to start getting some wins on his big decisions. Losing 60 games a year until Durant is a FA and then praying that he comes here almost certainly won’t cut it. To start climbing back up the ladder, they need to pick the right guy now.

    Finally, if you still want to go for this Tank II thing, you should probably hope that they take Aaron Gordon. He may develop into a good player, but is is unlikely that he will help all that much this coming year.

  64. Eric: Good post from someone who has watched a lot of tape of Randle. I’m beginning to feel better about him as a prospect; in no small part to reading what others like yourself like about him. He passed the eye test with his more cut physique and generally leaner, longer look at the Lakers workout. I think Darius’ projection about it being either Randle or Gordon makes a lot of sense.

    Now here’s my not so stealthy stealth pick: Efrid Payton. He might be a reach at 7, but it is unlikely that the Lakers can trade down and still snag him. I think Laker fans *should* read a lot into Smart and Payton being invited back to workout on Friday against each other. Reputedly the head to head workouts between these guys have been super competitive and impressive. I’m sure they are seriously considering them both. I get excited by guard prospects!

  65. >>>how many games the Celts won the season before they got their “big 3?? The Heat were a doormat 8 seed team before they got their “big 3?

    Garnett and Allen were traded to Boston; Garnett only agreed to sign on long-term after Allen was there, to go with Pierce, as well as Rondo. Miami cleared their entire cap, more or less and was working with inside info.

    >>>Lakers are always going to be atractive to free agents.

    Except Dwight Howard.

  66. The other 4 were Kermit Washington, David Meyers, Junior Bridgeman, and Kenny Carr.

    Bynum was chosen at 10, actually.

  67. for those worried about the idea of people being paid for what they have done in the past, how is the pay scale determined if not by past performance? no one gets 20million dollars out of school, they have to perform at a high level consistently before they get to sign a big contract, just like anywhere else that people work for wages. is it too much for Kobe? maybe, considering the cap, but the fact is, all the other players are going to be taking huge pay cuts, since they haven’t performed at a super high level consistently. the purpose of the new CBA was to force salaries down. there will be more and more good players who only get a couple mil. the Lakers will be able to fill the team with role players in any case. if their superstar isn’t able to play anymore, then it’s lights out.

    i suspect Kobe is going to be in the best shape that he’s been in for quite some time this year, but that’s me. if he is Kobe again, the Lakers have a chance, assuming everything goes well, maybe a really good chance. we don’t know what will happen yet, not with any certainty, anyway. in a few months, things will be a little clearer. the same goes for rebuilding and what players we can and can’t get. lots of crazy things that were never expected can happen, both good and bad. if we really know the future and the result of every move and who will win and who will not, beyond any doubt, then the games aren’t even fun and who cares who is right and wrong. let’s just hang it all up. the Laker fans’ problems are not nearly as dire and hopeless as a Cubs fan. can’t we be hopeful for a few months longer, at least? :^)

  68. Bring on the 26th!!

  69. Kevin Pelton has put up his WARP draft board. It is Insider, so I won’t link it. But it has Smart #1, Randle #15, Wiggins #19, and Clint Capela, whom no one is talking about, #2.

    It is bascially a performance projection based on a statistical formula. So…it will be interesting to see how things go for Wiggins, and for Capela.

  70. rr,
    A couple of days ago (I think it was) you posted that this year´s draft pick will be the most important to the team since 1980, and ´ve beenI pondering that since then. However, your post to Robert yesterday (at 6:48 pm) breaking down WHY it´s such an important pick is nothing less than superb. I hope the FO feels the same way.

  71. Byron: He needs to be named coach by Monday. It will be better if he is on board and part of the program before the draft even if that is just for show. Byron is a team guy and will support whoever we draft whether he has input or not. It will just look better if we have him on board.
    rr: Pick is important yes – but I think you will agree that it is unlikely to be earth shattering. Bynum is actually another good example of a middle of the road type pick. Injuries are part of the luck factor. With regard to tanking, I think we should draft the best talent available- period. The tanking discussion comes in with regard to FA. Do we sign people to get us marginally better in the short run or do we keep our powder dry for future years? Any picks we have we must maximize – especially this one – as you point out.

  72. rr: Please give me a former Laker’s name who you would be satisfied with as our pick. A guy as good as and who had a career like: ________. I said AC Green or Eddie Jones. Do you think we can do better than that? Do you think the odds of doing better or greater than the odds of doing worse?

  73. rr: Your post about Pelton’s WARP is enlightening. I am a big proponent of keeping the #7 pick due to the fact that the Lakers need a core piece out of this draft. However, one strong argument for trading down for multiple picks (ie: for #14 and #18) was the chance at getting Capela and another asset. I think Capela will be better than Serge Ibaka.

  74. @Robert

    Eric Pincus seems to think the Lakers are waiting to see what the team is going to look like before hiring a coach. Unless they are hiring a coach that can positively effect recruiting, why does having a coach hired help the team? Personally, I would be worried about a team that is concerned about how the team looks over, at this point, a not critical need. I don’t mean to say that coaches are not critical, but for a guy who will not, nor should he, have any input on the primary, current needs of the team, why waste energy on bringing anybody in? Frankly, anything the Lakers do can, and will be spun to look bad by those unhappy with the decision they go with or hoping to undermine them.

    The Lakers should have tanked / It’s a disgrace to tank
    The Lakers should hire Phil no matter what he wants / How do you give up power to a guy with no FO experience
    Kobe needs to be a life-long Lakers / How do you pay a guy for past performance?
    The FO got Nash and Dwight to add to Kobe, Pau and Metta / How do you give up draft picks and Bynum for a washed up Nash and bad-backed Dwight?

    The list of dichotomies is endless and so are the ways a team can be made to look bad. Better not to worry about it and just make the decision based on substance rather than just image. Obviously, image can indicate substance but in this case, I don’t see that at all. That is especially true if the choice is Byron. I still have hope there is a better idea for who will be coach floating around the Lakers FO.

    What rational metric is there in giving odds on the Lakers selecting a player as impactful as Eddie Jones or AC Green? There seem to be players in the draft who will have all-star impact and perhaps higher. There is a good chance one or more of those players will be available at the 7-pick. There is a chance the Lakers will pick one of those guys. There is a chance the Lakers will be capable of developing that player to his potential. What are the odds? How on earth can any of us know that?

  75. PS- The point I guess I would make to add to what I wrote above… The value in taking the chance on a #7 pick is probably pretty good as that player can become an asset and the Lakers need those big time. Suppose the team trades the pick straight up for Love (which will not happen) that is acquiring an asset, true. The problem is that it is acquiring an expensive asset in exchange for a potential, cheap star. If the Lakers wait a year, the team might acquire that same expensive asset without giving up that pick and will likely have a small chance of winning one of the top-3 picks next lottery. I don’t think the Lakers should miss the playoffs just to get that 1% chance at winning the lottery but I think the team needs to avoid getting stuck in that mediocre middle of having to fight just to make the playoffs every year. Avoiding that in the west means nailing a few picks and getting quality FAs.

  76. Nick Van Exile June 19, 2014 at 10:33 am

    The last first round pick the Lakers made is facing murder charges for shooting and killing a mother of four and drug charges for transporting 900 lbs of cocaine (all this is after getting suspended by the NBA for a locker room altercation involving guns). Vonleh/Smart/Randle/Gordon look great to me!

    I think all four of these potential draftees will have good to great NBA careers. They all seem to be hard workers who would be willing to do what it takes to improve their games. One advantage I think Gordon has over the other 3 guys though is the excitement factor because he can pretty easily make plays above the rim, similar to Blake Griffin.

    As far as Gordon’s outside shot goes, according to this interview (with the Boston Celtics blog… BOO!), he has changed his mechanics since his college season has ended and has been displaying a much improved outside shot:

    http://www.celticsblog.com/2014/6/12/5805758/aaron-gordon-works-out-for-celtics-displays-improved-shooting

    With Embiid’s foot injury, how far might he fall? If he’s available at #7, do the Lakers roll the dice on Embiid? Even with the injury, I’d think they’d have to take their chances and take him. At #1, I don’t think you take that chance. At #7, I think you have to for a possible franchise center.

  77. Lakers waiting to see “what the team looks like” before hiring a coach:
    This says to me they’re actually waiting to see if a draft-day trade goes down.
    Then they pick a coach that their new player, a veteran, may want to play for.
    This is not the same as letting that player select the coach; they wouldn’t do that for Kobe, at least not officially.
    It wouldn’t make sense to wait to pick a coach based on who they get in the draft. A new draft pick will play for any coach. And any coach should be able to coach any young enthusiastic player.

  78. My guess–and that is all it is, of course–is that Embiid will go at 3 to Philly now. Wiggins 1, Parker 2. And, yes, if Embiid is somehow there at 7, I would pull the trigger, even after the Bynum experience. Bynum did help the Lakers win twice and helped the team get Howard.

  79. Yes! If six teams pass on Embiid due to his foot injury, I’d love to see the Lakers pull the trigger and select the kid.

  80. NBAHistory NBA History
    RT @MagicJohnson Pat Riley during his press conference, had me so fired up and motivated! I wish I could play for him again!

  81. The Lakers need to stop chasing rainbows and mortgaging their future. The last three years have destroyed the franchise. The management appears too unsure to even appoint their next head coach. Kicking that can down the road will not make the decision any easier. Find someone and then support him! Decide on a blueprint of what the team will be like and start filling positions. Right now they are letting other teams delve into the coaching pools and negotiate trades to make their teams better. Does anyone think the best use of Jimmy’s time is watching how high potential draft picks can jump? It would be more comforting to know that Jimmy has a team analyzing the Spurs to see how they became such a successful franchise.

  82. Pardon my ignorance. I heard about Embiid, but how is it possible now that Exum can still there at 7? Wouldn’t he go 6th?

  83. If Enbiid drops and are available i hope the Lakers pass, 18 years old and back and now foot surgey bc of a stress fracture? This guy have not even played a minute of professional basketball and is already a health case. No thanks, its like he has bust written all over his forehead.

  84. @Fern Sorry I disagree. Let me explain. The Celtics traded for the big three. In fact KG refused to go until they got Ray Allen. He wouldn’t play with Pierce and the #5 pick (which strengthens my point). Players don’t want to go to a team and build something. They want a team that is already a playoff team that they could make a contender. Dwight left because the Lakers looked old and done. The Rockets were the upcoming team. Lebron went to Miami only because Wade and Bosh came together. They believed they were a championship contender (which was true). Durant, Love, or whomever isn’t going to come to last years Lakers team. But if they have someone good and not at the end of his career, players would come (even with Kobe only having two years left because they would then feel like others would come take his place). And I know that is what management felt because they did everything they could to win last year. If they didn’t have the injuries they would have finished in the 8-10 range because they tried so hard to win. You have to understand that once you have been in the league for a few years their peers basically laugh and taunt players that haven’t won. That’s why Love is trying so hard to leave. You think Kobe or Lebron don’t mock Durant. It may in goof fun like you would your buddies but your buddies want to be able to come back at some point. Look at Barkley. On air a role player like Kenny Smith mocks him. Look at Barkley’s face when that happens. What does Shaq say. The thing that matters most to the great players is winning a title. Being the greatest player never to win means nothing. And the young players see and hear it from the Ewings and Barkleys. The absolute best way for the Lakers to get a superstar from FA is through being a playoff team. For most other teams the draft is a necessity, but for the Lakers it is too slow of a process.

  85. In my opinion, Embiid has now become a huge red flag. I’m surprised that so many here are willing to roll the dice on taking him if he falls to #7. What are two of the most concerning issues for basketball players – especially centers – back and especially foot injuries. (Recall Bynum, Oden, Walton, Bowie, Ming, Ralph Sampson, etc).

    Let’s be honest, the Lakers are desperate for talent why would they take such a chance on Embiid at this point? If they blow this pick then they are destined to hit bottom hard these next two years (remember no guaranteed pick next year).

  86. Robert,

    I would address the draft from three angles:

    1. I think the best way to look at players is in tiers. Using examples from OKC and HOU, since they have good and fairly traditional rosters:

    Tier 1–Elite, all-time great (Durant)
    Tier 2–All-Star (Harden)
    Tier 3–Very good starter (Ibaka)
    Tier 4–Average to good starter (Parsons)
    Tier 5–Rotation Player (Nick Collison)
    Tier 6–Bench guy (Francisco Garcia)

    These lines can be blurry; people may disagree about what tier a guy should be in. A guy may be in a higher or lower tier on a different team or with a different coach, and there are levels within the tiers. But I think it mostly works. So, when you draft a guy, I think you ask yourself what tier you hope he can be in if he works out. Picking at 7, I think Kupchak and Buss need whomever they get to be a Tier 4 at least and we hope a Tier 3.

    2. History–not of teams, but of the draft. Here again is the list of all 7th picks:

    http://www.basketballinsiders.com/history-of-the-nba-draft-by-pick/history-of-the-nba-draft-pick-number-7/

    3. What the consensus is about the draft itself. Talent evaluators might be wrong about any one guy, and any team might miss on any one pick, unless they are picking a guy like Shaq or David Robinson. But the consensus about the group is usually pretty accurate. The consensus was that 2013 was a weak draft; so far it has been. The consensus this year is that there are no lock-and-load franchise players, but that it is a pretty deep draft. I expect that will be the case.

  87. Embid has a “stress” fracture with very little stress put on him the last four months. This is after a stress fracture in his back. I wouldn’t take him till the late first round. Unless of course my doctors tell me if he changes his diet and takes suppliers his bones will be stronger.

  88. Pardon my ignorance. I heard about Embiid, but how is it possible now that Exum can still there at 7? Wouldn’t he go 6th?

    There is very little chance that Exum will be there at 7, based on what we know now. Chad Ford’s updated Mock has Embiid slipping to 4, and Exum going to Philly at 3.

  89. I’m surprised that so many here are willing to roll the dice on taking him if he falls to #7.

    So far, I think only Sid and me and one other guy have said that. The Lakers have already made a $48.5M dice roll on Kobe’s health; I think Embiid would be worth the risk.

    Yes, he might be Oden or Sam Bowie, but recall that Walton, Yao and Bynum all delivered various, but high, levels of NBA play for a few years, and that Zydrunas Ilgauskas bounced back from multiple foot surgeries to have a nice career. And as noted, the Lakers are almost certainly not getting a superstar at 7. I would not take Embiid 1-4, and if there us a guy there at 7, say Smart, that the FO absolutely believes in they should take him. But the Lakers wouldn’t be passing on Jordan or Durant here.

  90. As I have said, this will be IMO the most important pick the franchise has made since 1980–even picking at 7.

    ——-

    If not 1980, for certain since 1982 when the Worthy/Wilkins question (or even Cummings) was on the table. Hindsight says the front office did well on that one (though Wilkins probably would have been a great Laker as well).

    In this year’s case, at No. 7 there likely won’t be two slam-dunk options available, so the pressure’s on.

  91. Hi folks, two quick questions related to the ongoing debate:

    (1) When is the earliest players can “opt out”?
    (2) When is the last day players can opt out?

  92. Here you go Robert–Embiid is your new man for the multi-year tank:

    “Joel Embiid suffered a stress fracture to the navicular bone in his right foot,” Embiid’s agent, Arn Tellem, said. “He is scheduled to have surgery tomorrow. Joel will be unable to participate in any additional workouts, and will not attend the draft in New York. We will have no further comment until after the surgery.”

    The navicular bone is at the top of the foot, near the ankle. NBA team sources suggest this is a difficult bone to heal because of circulation issues. Sources say Embiid could be out four to six months. Some evidence, according to sources, indicates these types of stress fractures also are at great risk of recurrence. Because of that, Embiid is no longer likely to be the No. 1 pick in the draft. The question is, how far will he fall?”

  93. Baylor Fan,

    I share your sentiment 100%. Its comical the Lakers think they are keeping their options open by waiting to choose a coach. While they have waited most of the other viable coaching options have been taken off the table. Waiting is not keeping their options open. Its restricting their options and painting them into a corner. But that perplexed state of thinking seems to characterize this organization more and more.

    My fear now is surrounds Joel Embiid. As the news of yet another injury sinks in I’m just crossing my fingers he is not still on the board when the 7th pick comes around. The Lakers don’t need anymore injury drama.

    Of course Embiid’s injury all be kills my long shot hope of them drafting Exum.

  94. @Sid…
    I, for one feel a lot better about the Lakers upon hearing Kobe declare he’s 100% healthy and ready to go. Moving forward, Kobe is still a big piece of this team. I look forward to seeing one of the greatest players ever back on the court and to bring able to see the remainder of his career.

    Kobe is not going going to do it alone: the Lakers are a long way off from NBA glory . But he’s still relevant, whether you like him or not.

  95. Health is, or has become, so key to having a winning team. Not saying anything we don’t know here, but the Lakers are being destroyed by injuries. I wouldn’t think they’d want to take on more risk with anyone who is young and already with significant injury problem(s). Whatever it takes to evaluate the physical stability of a prospect, that should be high on the Laker list.

  96. I do wonder if Embiid’s injury is real. Seems like if could be a ploy to get him to LA or Boston. Either way the Lakers will know what his medical charts look like before they have to draft him. So I am not worried yet about the pick. What does concern me is if this is a true injury how this could ruin the Lakers pick. If he has real problems that means the Lakers will be forced to choose between a gamble on Embiid or whomever is left between Vonleh, Randle, Smart, Gordon. I don’t like the idea of not having a second choice. I was fine if it came down to Randle and Vonleh (or any of the other choices) because I felt the Lakers would figure out what works best for the, But this means they either just take the last 2nd tier guy or possibly a huge gamble. And looking at the Lakers track record, they will go Embiid and pray he is healthy. And by the way if they took him he may not play many minutes. Look at how much Bynum played year one.

  97. @Justin, you said in your comment that the Lakers have to start winning before atracting a 5 star players, what i said was that those teams were not winning before they got their championship caliber players, the Celts were dead in the water and the Heat weren’t that better off. They atracted those players because of what those franchises are. There is not going to be a big 3 convergence in Milwakee. The Lakers need to be start winning not because they need to atract a 5 star player, they need to start winning because thats Lakers culture, the 5 star players will come in time like always, maybe not this season but im hopeful about next summer.

  98. Embiid: So I guess he could be the Sam Bowie of this draft year. Question is: Who is the MJ and who is the Hakeem? Oh yea – they aren’t there. I thought this was a great draft year.
    rr: You did not answer : ) You are my GM. So with the 7th pick, you would be successful if you got a guy like _________ (former Laker). We draft the best player available. No tanking with regard to draft. FA are a different story.
    T Rogers/Baylor: Agreed. What exactly are the Lakers waiting for? They need to make a move. This inactivity looks like indecisiveness. They need to make a move on Byron by Monday.

  99. Robert,

    I answered. Pick any ex-Laker you want who you think is Tier 3 or Tier 4 (see above).

  100. rr: just saw your response and e-mail. I agree. Avg to good starter s a guy like AC Green or Eddie Jones. “No lock and load franchise players” Also agreed so the chances of doing better than an Edie Jones/Green type are slim, but there will be at least 2-3 busts in the top 10 (Darcos or Kenny Carrs)

  101. @rr im sorry but saying that drafting Embiid and hope we get a few good years like Yao, Walton, Bynum or Z-whatever is just i better not say, i mean, that’s what you would settle for? Those guys were walking hospitals, what would be the point? If the Lakers in the state they are goahead and do this i would boycott the team,period, at “im done” level, that would be the worst case scenario of stupidity i could think of. The Lakers need someone that can contribute now not a 18 year old walking hospital with bust written all over him. I was high on him before but he broke down at the college level!!!, imagine him in the grind of a 82 game season?Like i say a thousand times i dont expect a Kobe or Magic, if we could get a nice rookie that can help right away i would be extatic, Embiid is not that rookie. And about Kobe, he is 100% healthy and looking fit and trim, can’t wait for him to shut up the doubters AGAIN…

  102. rr: Maybe a shout out to Chad Ford for the “tier” model, no?

    rfen: Projected durability needs to be taken into account–agree. This might include history of injury, body type, style of play (e.g.high flyers suffer more injuries).

    Aaron: I believe the apparent weakness of Embid’s skeletal system can be mitigated through diet and supplements. But the changes don’t happen overnight.

    Anyone: No one knows how far Embid will drop. If he goes inside of the 10th spot, it will likely be to a team that can risk a pick. Lakers aren’t an asset rich team. Good gamblers understand risk, and I’m confident the Lakers will see Embid as a high risk they cannot afford if he should drop to them.

  103. @rr im sorry but saying that drafting Embiid and hope we get a few good years like Yao, Walton, Bynum or Z-whatever is just i better not say, i mean, that’s what you would settle for?

    It is unlikely that the guy take at 7 will be more than a good starter; Embiid might be much more than that–an All-Star center–if his body holds up, and the Lakers are so far down that they need something dramatic if they are going to get off the deck. Also, Bynum was on three Finals teams and two title teams, and then was the bait to acquire Dwight Howard. Walton won a title as well.

    Additionally, if Embiid were on the team and did little next year, that might set the Lakers up to keep the pick next year, and then have Embiid and another high-level prospect with a year to develop on-floor heading into the summer that Kobe’s deal comes off the cap. Put it this way: I think Embiid is as good a bet as Kobe (coming back from two major leg injuries, to the same leg, at age 36, in his 19th NBA season, to be a Top-10 player worth a massive salary again) is.

    All that said, the fact that Embiid has had these issues prior to being drafted, much less playing in the NBA, is a huge red flag, and he could be Oden or Bowie, and I understand wanting to avoid that scenario.

  104. Fern-I like your points, but it is highly unlikely that you can draft a player that will have an immediate impact on any team. I mean, these are 18-20 year olds we are talking about. If that is your expectation, then you may as well quit following now ’cause I don’t see how your expectations can ever be met given the type of talent available in this draft and our draft position. I wish it were otherwise….

  105. Manny as suposedly “loaded” this Draft is there is reason to believe that some of these guys can help right away. Im not expecting a 20 ppg guy for crissakes not even a starter right away. But then again we can get a really good contributor right away, for example what was Lillard draft position again? He was drafted 6 and that Draft was not as deep as this one is hyped as the deepest since Lebron’s class. Im not saying we getting a player like that but the Lakers will draft the best player available and the Lakers dont have time for “projects” the Lakers need talent right away and there is some talent to be had in this Draft even at number 7. With the hype this Draft has we ain’t drafting a scrub. If we got something out of Kelly scrapping the bottom of last year Draft there is no reason to doubt that we should be getting something better that him or an 18 year old already breaking down Embiid.

  106. rr: Maybe a shout out to Chad Ford for the “tier” model, no?

    No. I read him around draft time, but I didn’t know he used it, and in any case, it is a common approach, neither original with me nor Ford.

  107. Good gamblers understand risk,

    Basically every risk that Buss has taken has backfired so far, and his latest one with KB is off to a very bad start.

  108. The Cleveland Cavaliers have offered their head-coaching job to David Blatt and the two sides are in contract talks, sources confirmed to ESPN.com.

  109. melcountscounts June 19, 2014 at 7:33 pm

    All those draft picks for Steve Nash, what a joke. Anybody could have told them not to do it, same as any educated fan could tell the Angels not to sign Pujols for TEN years. There are always younger players coming along, keep some picks and plan for some kind of future.

    Much as I like Embiid, I think I would pass at this point, too many red flags. I wouldn’t mind Marcus Smart (Dwayne Wade type?), or Randle (although I would like to know how tall he really is).

    What a crazy business, when an unknown 19 year old may cost you more than resigning the steady Jordan Hill.

  110. rr: you should read Ford’s piece on tier rating the prospects. Great minds and all that. . . .

    basically every risk that Buss has taken

    I am invoking the spirit of Dr. Buss and hoping the FO channels his gambling savvy. Seriously though, Jim cannot blow this pick and so he won’t risk Embid.

  111. Fern makes a good point. We can throw the results from past drafts out the window. This year’s class is the best in years, and higher expectations should naturally follow.

    And please say no to Embid. This draft is way too deep to invest so much into one player.

    If the Lakers draft a guard, Greg Monroe will be available….and if the Lakers draft a big, Lowry will be available.

    I’m starting to feel the butterflies with draft day approaching.

  112. I believe we should keep the #7 if Smart, Exum or Vonleh are still available. Otherwise trading down makes a lot of sense. I would then want to look at getting 2 of the following in order of priority:
    LaVine-Mad athletic combo guard, with a decent jumper.
    Anderson – I would really like the Lakers to find a way to get this kid. He has a huge wingspan, rebounds, shoots, and can run an offense. Opens up a lot of possibilities. Would love to have a great coach like Karl who could really find a way to make this guy a monster to defend against.
    Hood- Great shooting SF
    Randle – Yeah this is about where I value him. He has a solid body. He has a high floor but a low ceiling too.
    Ennis- Good size solid PG
    Napier- Small but polished PG
    Tavares- One dimensional tree but he is a tall 7′-3″ one dimension.

    I’m leaving Embiid off my list. Bynum 2.0? I’m just not enthusiastic about rolling the dice on a guy who is already breaking down.

  113. Funny getting excited about the draft.
    As a Laker fan I’m not even used to paying attention to it.
    Now I know ‘how the other half lives.’

    As far as immediate impact guys we could land
    I think Smart or Randle have the best chance.

    I still think Lakers have something (a trade) up their sleeve.

  114. Sounds like our Lakers may have a very real opportunity at Embiid. “According to Sean Deveney of the Sporting News, one anonymous NBA GM says you can’t use a top five pick on an injured Embiid.

    “I think there is a point at which you use a pick on him, where you’re hoping maybe these are just fluke things that are not going to be recurring,” one general manager told Sporting News. “But that point is not in the Top 5 or so. You can’t use a Top 5 pick. I think there are too many other good options there to think about using the pick on one who has these injury problems.”

    Lakers have been “swinging for the fences” in the last few years anyway, why stop now, especially since they are still locked into Kobe’s unknown on court production & salary cap limiting agreement.

  115. Sid

    Do not agree. Swinging for the fences is what made them one of the worst teams in the league and worse in franchise history.

    As a business owner myself, it took me years to figure out to fiirst crawl, then walk and finally run.

    Lakers are on their backs and can not swing for the fences again(Nash, Howard, Mumbles). Pick a guy who is not a HIGH RISK but can get you at least to the crawling stage and stop gambling with the fans time.

    Without the TW gift, ownership would be more apt to make sound moves as opposed to gambles.

    Found money is often fools gold!!

  116. Julius Randle is the next Elton Brand. That is his ceiling. He’s 19 years old. T rex arms? he has the same wingspan as very good bigs in this league look it up. This pick again depends on what direction the Lakers want to go in, doesn’t seem like they have any plan. They are trying too hard to be different and seem like they know something everyone else doesn’t, when in reality I just think that other situations and teams look more attractive to free agents coaches and everyone because everyone knows the front office is a reality show when you have Jim Buss running it. It kind of looks bad when you need to put a timeline on your tenure. ….just in case you continue to suck that much.

  117. I am secretly hoping kobe completely voids this contract just to shut everyone up who complains about it, then goes and plays for like 5 mill a year for New York and teams up with Carmelo Tyson Chandler, Phil Jackson, Derek Fisher. That’s one thing everyone is discounting that KOBE has no options, he can do whatever he wants, if the front office continues to disrespect him and play pr games and not even interview someone like Derek Fisher just because Jimmy boy doesn’t like Phil Jackson…..who won your franchise 5 rings…..anyway that’s what I take comfort in, whose to say Kobe doesn’t want to leave in a year, go team up with Pop and Leonard in SAS. If the front office continues to stutter, I can see Kobe leaving. Of course non of this matters if Kobe can’t play anymore, but if he can I hope he will average 20, 7, 7 and play more SF.

  118. Can’t void contract and then sign somewhere else.

  119. Chris Y, I’m wishing Kobe will make that move also, that would be the best move for all parties involved, but it can’t happen.

    Ko, I’m a business owner myself. Which is why I’ve been so hard on the decisions made by the front office. I’m a realist. Serious rebuilding won’t start until Kobe’s current contract is history. I’ve heard all the reasons why it “made sense” to sign Kobe to a 2 years, $40 mill, 2 year farewell tour. None translated to a serious contender during that period. Their current “plan” appears to be “hope & a prayer”. Embiid fits that plan very nicely w/ Kobe & Nash. If his health doesn’t improve, Lakers don’t re-sign him at the end of his rookie contract.

    I understand your point of the front office admitting they made errors, can no longer afford to take big chances and play it safe, but the chance at 7′ Embiid is one I’m hoping they are willing to take.

    We’ll know in a week.

  120. Why not interviewing Fisher is a disrespect to Kobe Bryant?dramatic much? For your information that contract extension is signed, so the Lakers have Kobe lock, stock and barrel, he cant go anywhere and he has say a million times he will retire a Laker. Dramatic level:99

  121. And Chris Y becomes a repeat winner of our award for comment that completely disregards the realities of the collective bargaining agreement. Special recognition for the fact that it isn’t even a small oversight, but something that is completely against the rules. Your prize, this time, is this link: http://www.cbafaq.com/salarycap.htm

  122. “B-Ball Experts” are expecting Embiid to fall from #1 to the “4-6″ range due to the news of his latest injury.

    Nightmare scenario: Celtics choose him at #6 and he becomes a healthy all-star :-(.

  123. I have a feeling Embiid won’t fall all the way to 7.
    If he did, Lakers will draft him.
    Lakers history of iconic big men combined with their penchant for gambling will compel them to swing for that fence.
    If this scenario did play out – it could be good karma from the veto.
    Unfortunately I doubt Danny Ainge will pass on him and gift wrap a potential franchise player to the Lake Show.

  124. I just heard that Randle was nailing jump shots and that he definitely still has that from his high school days. I am guessing he is much better pro than he showed at KU. I am now really excited for him. Also I am more fearful of Embiid. I hear it is exactly what Yao had. So you may get 6-8 years out of him if you are lucky (and I know the Lakers would probably take that), but I would rather have a player ready this year and one you could have long term (or at least trade at some point). My favorite for them to take would be Smart. Can’t wait until the draft

  125. Embiid: My question would be this: We know the health thing is a gamble. So after consulting our experts in that area (that was a joke), we determine if that is a chance worth taking. However we also must consult the “basketball” experts. Embiid is not like Hakeem/Ewing/Shaq coming out of college. So what we are saying is that the health has to pan out and then the player must also pan out. The odds begin to get longer. It still might be worth it, but our health people and our basketball people need to be held accountable for this one. There are good gambles and bad gambles and in order to make good gambles – you need good information. Do we have that? If I owned the team – I would consult with Aaron with regard to the health and rr with regard basketball. I like my odds better than Jim’s on this one : )

  126. I still think that the Lakers’ draft choice at #7 will come down to Randle vs. Gordon — offense vs. defense, a relatively safe pick vs. a player with potentially great, athletic upside, someone who could be steady, perhaps the next Elton Brand vs. someone who can guard 3 positions and shore up the Lakers PNR defense. Not an easy choice. The team’s selection could all be based on this week’s workouts. Apparently Randle’s workout was fairly impressive. Gordon will be in El Segundo today.

    By the way, are the Lakers still looking for a head coach?

  127. @Robert, I don’t think you have to worry about his game when he is healthy. Offensively he got better every game (much like Bynum). And defensively there is a reason people are saying his floor is Ibaka. He would be a game changer on defense almost in his first year (much like Drummund was). But it is still a big gamble because you are talking about a gamble on his body. Look at it this way. You might get a dominate center that does it on both ends (and the Cavs were super impressed because he was nailing 3 pointers in their workouts. His game is advancing at a rapid rate and he is not just a post up player). If he stays healthy you are a contender pretty much after year two or three (he is improving that fast). Of course as we have seen with Oden (and to a lesser extent Bynum), if he is injury prone you threw away your pick. This in a year when there are 8 potential all star level players. No way he passes the Kings even if he misses the year, the drop off is too much at that point. But the Lakers will still have to figure out if it is better to gamble (losing at least half of this year of Embiid and not being ready the rest of the year) or taking the safe pick and getting a guy like Gordon, Randle, or Smart. Everyone has there preference but no one knows what the Lakers will actually do.

  128. Mid: “By the way, are the Lakers still looking for a head coach?” We better not be. This announcement needs to occur like right now and it needs to be Byron. The longer we wait – it just makes him look like a back up choice. Also, if the pick and he are not best buddies from day 1, it will just start rumors that Byron never wanted him. Get Byron on board now and we can all claim it as a group decision with regard to the pick. There is no reason to wait. Candidates are not developing under rocks that are somehow going to be turned over. Selecting Hollins or someone like that would not make sense now after all this time. We just need to do this. It will not solve much of what ails us, but it will stop making us seem like an indecisive/directionless management team.

  129. And if you are one of those who does not like Byron then you need to tell us who then. Especially after all this time. And it better not be someone with the last name of Buss.

  130. “And if you are one of those who does not like Byron then you need to tell us who then.”

    I’m sorry, but this is silly. Candidates have strengths and weaknesses that can be discussed without needing an alternative to prop up. I don’t need a better candidate to know that I don’t like Scott as a coach. And if another choice is made and I find flaws in that guy, I’ll point those out too. This is what’s called evaluation. Saying Scott is the best of a bad lot isn’t a compliment and shouldn’t be part of the criteria of making a hire.

  131. Darius: We need a date to Prom. We need to take somebody. And most of the cheerleading squad is already going with someone else. So yes comparisons can be made. If the lot is bad (I did not think it was), then we do in fact need to pick the best of a bad lot. And as you know I have said many positive things about Scott and I realize not everyone agrees).
    If we still had MD on board we would have the “do nothing” option, however that is not the case. Unlike prom we do not have the option of not going. We have to pick somebody. So pointing out weaknesses in candidates is valid, but IMO doing so without suggesting an alternative is not a complete solution. Neither you or anyone else on this board are required to provide an answer, but the Lakers have to, and we must do so from the dwindling list of available candidates.

  132. I’m excited for the draft but I’m eye balling July 1st right around the corner. This is when the Lakers cap room comes into play and some moves that are not possible on draft day will become possible.

    I already discussed some draft day options and if one of those players are not available Mitch would be wise to deal the pick.

    After July 1st. I’m looking for the following check list.

    Acquire a bloated 1 year contract (s) but still productive player (s). This covers the short term for this year.
    Acquire draft rights to players. This gives the Lakers long term growth as a team.
    If possible shed Nash’s contract.

    I think this is all doable. With the right moves the Lakers can become a decent team this year with a bright outlook in the years to come that will attract more talent.

  133. Well, as chris y seems to take the prize for not knowing the fundamentals of contract law, I’d like to add the fundamentals of human biology.

    Yao Ming, Bill Walton and other players with foot problems did have a few years of success on the NBA level. The difference between them and Embiid is that they had a few years of success on the NBA level before getting injured. Embiid did not survive his first season as an indentured servant for the NCAA. The plantation masters in the NCAA do not permit their servants to spend the amount of time working in the gym that the free men of the NBA can spend. The NCAA masters do not let their plantation overseers train the servants in organized settings but for a certain number of hours a week. Plus, the NCAA only gains a return on their investment through no more than 40 games a season. Each of those games are 8 minutes shorter than the NBA game. So, without Summer League, the free man’s version of summer training, the free man’s version of training camp, the 82 game schedule, and then the rigors of big-boy playoffs; Joel Embiid already has stress fractures in his foot and back. Check that, Joel Embiid has these bone problems after only half a season in the fields of NCAA indentured servitude.

    You aught to consider that the clock on Walton’s and Yao’s careers don’t really start with when they were drafted. They start with when they were first injured. Don’t think of Embiid being able to make it through a seven year career like Yao did, or getting 3 dominants seasons out of him like Portland got out of Walton. No, you need to think more in terms of, what did those teams get out of those players once they were injured. Keep in mind, when both players were injured, they were developed players. Embiid is a raw player who needs reps and won’t get them while healing from his various injuries. He can’t work on his game with a boot on. He needs that work as much as any player in the draft.

  134. Nick Van Exile June 20, 2014 at 10:30 am

    chris y: the Elton Brand comp for Randle is not a good one because Brand, like Zach Randolph, was blessed with an enormous wingspan. Brand’s wingspan is 7′ 5.5″ and his standing reach is 9′ 2″ (compared to Randle’s wingspan of 7′ 0″ and standing reach of 8′ 9.5″). Those extra inches allow Brand and Randolph to play bigger than their height (blocking and challenging shots) and score and rebound with bigger defenders on them. It also allows them to dribble the ball lower to protect it from getting stolen as well as poke balls away that they otherwise would not be able to reach. It also helps players, especially bigger players, to still be effective players when their jumping ability has started to decrease with age. A large wingspan measurement is not, and never should be, the end-all measurement of a player (Michael Olowokandi had a 7′ 8″ wingspan and we all know how lame he was!) but if all other things are equal, the guy with the longer arms will be the more effective basketball player (and will probably be effective longer, barring injury). Like height, you can’t “teach” a longer wingspan.

    Now, I’m not saying that Randle won’t be an effective player in the NBA because I think he will be. Other players, like Kevin Love, have a similar height and wingspan as Randle and he’s obviously effective. But if Love had long arms like Elton Brand, he’d be able to shore up his major weakness, defending and protecting the rim (or at least have the option to do those things if he wanted to).

  135. One scenario that could play out is Love getting traded to Boston, and Minnesota using the 6th pick on Embiid. Minnesota has Pekovic, and they would also have the 13th and probably 17th picks, plus another future pick or two from Boston, so they could afford to gamble, and to wait.

    As to whether the Lakers should do it if Embiid is there at 7: as people who read my posts know, I am quite opinionated, and I have my opinion about this question. But, it is not as strongly held as my opinions often are, for two reasons:

    1. I don’t have either knowledge about or access to the medical data, and it is my assumption that even skilled medical professionals, with that access, will be able to tell for sure what will happen to Embiid.
    2. As noted, Embiid is not a slam-dunk prospect, even healthy. But I do think that he is one of the 2 or 3 highest-ceiling guys in this draft, and mobile rim-protecting bigs are very hard to find. And, IMO having one would make it easier to get other guys here. I don’t think a guy like Gordon or Smart or Randle will have that kind of value.

  136. rr,
    An interesting player the Wolves have too, though, is Dieng. He really came on as the season progressed and showed he could be a good rim protector and a solid finisher around the rim. He also filled in well when Pekovic was injured. In your scenario, I’m not saying the Wolves would for sure pass on Embiid because of Pek and Dieng, but they could easily look at another position (PF or a wing) and figure they’d let someone else take that risk should he still be on the board at #6.

  137. My post should say “not even.”

    As to Dieng, that is a good point. The questions would be to what extent Minnesota would be looking at asset acquisition and to what extent they would be looking at roster construction. I would suggest that there will be wings available at 13 and 17 that they might like in terms of trying to get a guy to fill that need, and that in the wake of losing Love, adding a potentially excellent big in Embiid as a long-term asset would be worth it. And, if Embiid can’t play, they still have Dieng.

    Also, while the Love spec is focused on Golden State right now since they have some good players, Boston has more to offer in terms of picks and cap relief. I think a GS trade would be putting Minnesota in position for a second-tier playoff seed run, while a Boston trade might work better long-term.

  138. I’ve been watching the comments for several weeks and reading the back and forth comments on Kobe’s extension and thought I’d like to weigh in on the discussion. Some are of the opinion that the Front Office (FO) doesn’t know what it’s doing because we can’t field a championship team with Kobe’s contract. And why in the world would the FO offer Kobe that kind of extension and further more why would Kobe accept that much money if he really wants to win another championship. Others are of the opinion that Kobe deserves the extension for a variety of reasons. The one person who finally hit on the real reason was BigCitySid “I’m a realist… I’m a business owner myself.” although the rest of Sid’s post was more about FO errors. For true realist the fact is the Lakers are a business. And it is well documented that Kobe is good for business. They gave him a $48 million dollar contract over 2 years because he’s good for business. Bottom line the Kobe contract extension is all about business. Whether the Lakers win a championship or not, lots of money will be made and the reason lots of money will be made (Superstar and Global Icon Kobe Bryant) and the main reason for the making of the money got a contract extension for a fraction (even less after taxes) of the money he’ll earn for the organization. It’s good business no more, no less. After all is said and done the Lakers are a business and profits are the ultimate goal of any successful business. And lots of money will be made, Championships or no championships!

  139. Bottom line the Kobe contract extension is all about business.

    This has been covered multiple times. As I have said, the defenses of the deal seldom have anything to do with the team on the floor–rather, they talk about business, revenues, branding, and narrative.

    And there is of course much truth in that. People (not just Lakers fans) will be very interested in the team early on next year, simply out of curiosity about seeing Kobe and the draft pick play. But, if Kobe either

    a) Gets seriously injured again and is simply gone
    or
    b) is in and out of the lineup and playing ineffectively and inconsistently
    and
    c) the team is again a deep lottery team with a lot of grunt players on short contracts

    Interest will wane quickly. The Lakers brand is very strong, like that of the Dallas Cowboys, the New York Yankees, the Montreal Canadiens, or Notre Dame football, and it will survive a protracted down period, if such a thing happens. But a lot of that brand strength is based on putting winning, exciting basketball teams on the floor. That, ultimately, is the “business” that the Lakers are in, and Kobe’s value to that business is tied to his basketball skills.

  140. I would add that Kobe himself is a strong brand now, in some ways stronger overseas than in the US, arguably, and that brand will survive even if he can’t do it on the court anymore. But the same thing applies: a lot of his personal brand strength is based on basketball performance.

  141. Robert, looking like a directionless, indecisive management team is only a problem if they are actually an indecisive and directionless management team. Picking Byron Scott just to look like you are decisive and have a direction is like putting your finger down on a map and going there, just to go somewhere. What if your finger points to the ocean… and while Byron may not be an ocean (that would be Dunleavy), I’d say Byron is something like putting your finger down in the middle of Death Valley and not packing water.

    Byron took the New Jersey Nets to the finals. His best team in New Jersey ranked 5th in PTs allowed and the 9th highest pace. They also had the 5th highest margin of victory in the league. Not bad. Then when you look at their strength of schedule, they literally had the weakest schedule in the league. I’m taking all my stats from Basketball Reference, BTW. Those teams went up against nobody special in the East (all 14 of the teams below league average in strength of schedule that year were from the East. Only one team in the east had a greater than average strength of schedule and that was the Bulls) and lost convincingly to the west representatives. Those things happen but I would argue that Byron’s teams that made the finals were not the second best teams in the league. They were not the 3rd or fourth best either. They were probably on par with the middle of the pack western teams. Maybe a 5th or 6th seed. So, I am very unconvinced that Byron should get much credit for getting his team to the finals twice. Let us not forget, his time in New Jersey ended with a mutiny.

    His players forced him out of his job in favor of Lawrence Frank. That is a failure of coaching. He was unable to sustain a positive culture in New Jersey. This while winning and with his leader being perhaps the best point guard since Magic Johnson. Then Byron went to New Orleans and found himself coaching the Point God, who is probably an NBA finals appearance away from getting into the Hall of Fame. A win in the finals would likely ensure CP3 a ceremony. Never once did Byron get his team to the conference finals. He had an in their primes and healthy Tyson Chandler, David West and Chris Paul. His defense was pretty good… if you think allowing above the league average in FG% is good. They ranked 16th in the league and that was with Tyson Chandler defending the middle and Chris Paul at his peak on the perimeter. All that said, they had an excellent margin of victory, #6 in the league and were the league average in age. The next season he lost in the 1st round (Granted CP3 had injury issues) and was fired nine-games into the next season. Now, I don’t know what positive can be taken from Byron’s time in Cleveland. He never made the playoffs and had a winning percentage under 30%. If you take all his seasons as coach, he has a 44% winning percentage and I would argue that his time in New Jersey inflates his winning percentage. Nothing about his style of coaching stands out. I’ve never watched a game he coached and thought, wow that adjustment the team made really changed the direction of the game. All I ever saw was that Byron noticed he had a great point guard and decided to let the man do his job (maybe he learned his coaching style from playing with Magic).

    With all that said, a coach is only as good as his talent, unless he is one of those great coaches like Jackson, Pop, the Van Gundy bros, and Carlisle who have proven they can produce a team better than the sum of their parts. A bad coach loses his team, like Scott did in New Jersey.

    The following quote comes from New Orleans in the wake of their firing Byron, “Accountability was our theme this past summer,” Hornets vice president Chad Shinn said in a statement released by the team. “We talked about the fact that everyone on our staff is held to a certain standard of performance and we didn’t feel this was happening at the head coach level.” That is from the NBA.com page, Nov 12th 2009.

    This followed his firing from Cleveland

    “I have tremendous respect for Byron professionally and a great deal of admiration for him personally. At the same time, it is critical for where we are as a team to ensure that we capitalize on every opportunity for development and success and we have fallen short of that on the court,” said Grant. “I believe we needed to make this change in order to get to a better position to achieve our goals. I know I speak on behalf of the entire Cavs organization and the Cleveland community, in thanking Byron for his three years here and his hard work and many contributions on and off the court. We wish Bryon and his wife, Anita, the best.”

    According to the Cleveland, Byron fell short of developing players and leading their team to success on the court. Irving being injured as well as Varajao’s injuries all play into that, but is that the coach’s fault? Obviously not, but on top of those issues, Cleveland chose to go back to Mike Brown over keeping Byron around. If you look at Byron’s record, I don’t think you can argue that Cleveland was bringing Brown in to tank. Byron was doing a good enough job of that on his own.

    The opportunity to bring in a former player from the glory years is obviously attractive. That said, I would rather go with Luke Walton who is an unproven coach than with Rambis or Byron who are proven to be mediocre coaches.

    I’m still hoping a rabbit gets pulled out of the hat and JVG is hired, or maybe we manage to steal Messina away from San Antonio.

  142. “They gave him a $48 million dollar contract over 2 years because he’s good for business. Bottom line the Kobe contract extension is all about business.”

    I’m not sure this explains completely why the Lakers were so quick to offer the extension without, apparently, much negotiation. Good business would be to get Kobe at the least amount he’s willing to sign for, and as far as I know, it’s not like Kobe was going to run off to another team (with an achilles injury, no less) if the Lakers took more time with the bargaining.

    What I’ve gathered from Laker ownership is that they’re sentimentalists. They’re not just business people. Owning the Lakers is emotional, especially if you’re also a fan and inherited the business from your dad. They really are big Kobe fans, and they wanted him to, not only go out as a Laker, but to do so as the highest paid player in the league. Another angle I believe—Laker ownership feels they need Kobe. They need him to be their on-floor leader. He’s the guy who knows how to win championships. Give the ball to Kobe – he’ll get it done. They’re putting a lot of the weight on his shoulders, which takes some weight off of theirs.

    Assuming Kobe can still play two more years at a high level, what we’ll see is if the Laker FO got it right as far as being able to put the pieces around Kobe to give the team a real shot. I believe they think they can, or at least thought they could when they decided to pay Kobe what they did.

  143. Parrothead Phil June 20, 2014 at 12:01 pm

    I agree with Robert (I believe this is the first time I’ve done so) about needing to hire a coach now. The Lakers have already interviewed all of the potential coaches and they must know whom they want to hire. Waiting makes it appear that they just selected the best of the rest after all the other clubs filled their coaching vacancy. I also agree that Scott is a good choice. I have always liked him as a coach even though he has a reputation for being hard nosed and wearing on players. That has reportedly happened only after 2-3 years of successful basketball. Many on this board have noted that the next coach may merely be a caretaker until the next coach comes along. Scott would be able to get the team to play hard and win. That is pretty much what I am looking for in a coach. Plus the sooner the Lakers hire a head coach, the sooner that coach can begin to hire his assistants before the quality ones get snatched up by other clubs.

  144. Ford:

    That leaves the Celtics. From everything I can gather, GM Danny Ainge, barring unforeseen complications in Embiid’s surgery, wouldn’t let Embiid slide past here

  145. Parrothead Phil June 20, 2014 at 12:13 pm

    rr: The other point (it has been written on here before) about Kobe’s extension that can be made is that is was a both a basketball and a business decision. As Julien stated Kobe puts butts in the seats, eyeballs on the TV, and generates clicks on the internet. That’s the business side- $$$. The basketball side is that the Lakers maintain the reputation of “taking care of their stars”, in essence paying for past not necessarily future performance . This is an important factor in luring free agents, Howard not withstanding. My rebuttal to the Howard argument is that he does not have the mental makeup to play for the Lakers with all the pressure and expectations that entails and was never really going to stay (unless the Lakers actually won rings in 2013).

  146. rr,
    Of course it’s all dependent upon Kobe’s performance as to whether the organization will make a bazillion or catrillion dollars. But let’s be real here, there are lots of sports team that suck but have loyal fans and are still making plenty of money. Let’s not think that somehow sucking means you won’t be profitable. The New York Knicks suck and have sucked for many years, they still earn plenty of money. The team has been in the top 5 in earnings regardless. Like LA it’s a big market with lots of loyal fans.

    As far as Kobe goes, we will see what that performance will be, there’s not one of us who can accurately predict what he’ll bring to the table over the next 2 years, age notwithstanding. I’m sure the Lakers have a better idea then you or I of what Kobe’s current physical condition is and if he is capable of performing at a level that will continue to earn profits. But the Lakers will make money even if he’s only capable of playing at a 75% level of what we we’re accustomed to seeing from him.

  147. The business side has been well covered regarding Kobe’s contract. Now let’s examine from a basketball perspective.

    There seems to be an erroneous assumption that Kobe’s contract will prevent the Lakers from becoming a contender.

    In this league (unless you are the Spurs), a superstar (or two) is crucial to contending for a championship. It is highly unlikely that a superstar free agent (i.e. Lebron, Carmelo) will be joining the Lakers this summer. Kobe was the only real option the Lakers had of signing a superstar this summer, albeit an injured one. His injury made the contract a gamble from a basketball perspective, but based on the free agent landscape, along with Kobe’s history of recovering from injuries, it was a good gamble IMO.

    Any superstar will cost $20 mil plus, and if Kobe can come close to his play pre-injury, he will be worth that. Even a healthy Kobe may not be worth $24 mil in the new CBA, but it’s close.

    If Kobe was not signed, there is no chance that this team will be contending next season, but with a healthy Kobe, they have a fighter’s chance, depending on the who the Lakers get this summer. As far as the size of his contract, the Lakers still have plenty of cap space to build a solid roster. If they choose to release Nash, they will have around $35 mil to sign free agents. That’s enough to sign two all star caliber players at $10 mil per, plus another $15 mil to fill out the roster (which includes a stud rookie who can hopefully contribute right away).

    As far as bringing in a superstar in 2016 (i.e. Durant), do you really think any superstar free agent would even consider coming to the Lakers if Jim Buss had not taken care of one of the greatest Lakers of all time? Not likely. From a PR perspective to attract future free agents, taking care of Kobe was a wise move.

    Couple these basketball reasons with the economic reasons to sign Kobe, and it was a no brainer.

  148. I’m sure the Lakers have a better idea then you or I of what Kobe’s current physical condition is and if he is capable of performing at a level that will continue to earn profits.

    Sure, they have access to information that we don’t. But, you can say that about literally any decision that the FO makes, and I doubt that they foresaw him going down for the season six games into his comeback with a major injury to the same leg.

    As to the rest, if the fans are that loyal and the market is so large, that could actually be an argument for not needing Kobe to the point where you pay him as much as they did. WRT the Knicks, people tend to group LA and NY together, but the markets are in some ways very different–weather, culture, history, elements of the demographics. And Lakers fans are used to winning.

  149. Ford says that the Lakers are focused on Smart and Randle, still may trade down, and are trying to get McDermott back in for a 2nd workout. Nothing about Gordon.

  150. I’m told players with injury issues tend to continue to have injury issues. The eyeball test tends to confirm this. Do I need to name a few examples? OK: Walton; Bowie; Oden; Bynum; Yao.

    I’m not “hoping” for anything in particular in terms of who drafts whom, because I’ve noticed GMs don’t seem to seek out my opinions. But, as a long time Celtic hater, if Embiid DID fall to the Celtics, I wouldn’t be too terribly unhappy.

  151. rr,
    And for the same reason you cited I’ll say that’s one of the reasons they paid Kobe the money, because regardless of his performance they’re going to make money. And they saw no reason not to pay him the money for reasons only known to those in the room who discussed the extension. I’m in the camp of those who don’t have a problem with the extension because it’s a reasonable financial investment that’s going to pay off regardless. As I said, having Kobe on the Lakers is going to make lots of money, either bazillions or catrillions and making money is what it’s all about, whether we agree with the decision or not. Only time will tell whether it’s a good or great financial investment for the Lakers. Ultimately, it’s a win-win situation for the organization financially.

  152. LT,

    And then there’s that!
    “As far as bringing in a superstar in 2016 (i.e. Durant), do you really think any superstar free agent would even consider coming to the Lakers if Jim Buss had not taken care of one of the greatest Lakers of all time? Not likely. From a PR perspective to attract future free agents, taking care of Kobe was a wise move.

    Couple these basketball reasons with the economic reasons to sign Kobe, and it was a no brainer.” LOL!!!

  153. The Kobe extension was a decision made under great duress and is against what the teams appearing in the finals have done. It is not possible to max out three stars and have enough left over for a quality supporting cast. The Kobe decision guaranteed that the Lakers did not take any of the players on last year’s squad seriously enough to want to keep them. In addition, the same will likely hold true for next year’s team simply because they will have to clear cap space again for free agents. The NBA cap rules stink but the Lakers ultimately supported the change and have to live with them.

  154. P. Ami: Nice post. Well written. I obviously do not agree, although some of the points are valid. The mutiny line was funny, but don’t all coaching stints end in either a mutiny or a firing? So rather then refute point by point: I have said all along that any candidate you throw out there could be lampooned. However you at least did throw out alternatives although I found it interesting that in closing you talked about Luke Walton or a rabbit being pulled out of a hat. So perhaps there is some master plan that we peons of the Laker Universe are unaware of. However if there isn’t and we are waiting for that rabbit then we truly are an “indecisive and directionless management team”. And if we wait another month and then hire someone who is already on the table – that is also foolish IMO for reasons stated earlier. So while I await the appointment of Byron – I will also look out for rabbits. “And if you go chasing rabbits; And you know you’re going to fall” Jefferson Airplane

  155. How good is Kobe for business? With him playing the Lakers dont get bumped off national tv games, even if the team stink people will be interested and btw he is a global icon and is as popular here than he is abroad, Kobe Bryant put butts on seats no matter where the Lakers play. At the end of the day the Lakers paid Kobe because of what he is done for the franchise and more importantly because they probably recoup more than double the investment. Because Kobe’s return next season and 2015 which he has stated that there is a strong possibility is his last go around would be huge deals, probably the biggest storylines on the next 2 seasons, thats how popular and important Kobe Bryant is for the Lakers and the NBA.

  156. Julien
    Here’s why I disagree.

    Yes Kobe is good for business.
    We all agree there.
    Guess what else is good for business?
    Winning.
    And championships are even better for business.

    Retaining Kobe at a little more reasonable price would have accomplished both objectives simultaneously and would have balanced current and future goals more sensibly.
    I personally had $16 mil per year as a nice compromise for Kobe.
    Not chump change by any stretch of the imagination and not an insult to Kobe at his age.
    To say, “they’ll make money anyway” is to grossly oversimplify the issue.

    And I’m one person that thinks Kobe if healthy may not retire in 2 years, especially if he’s close to catching Malone or Kareem.

    The cap restrictions have been described as nauseum here but Baylorfan said it well- both teams in the finals this year showcased players from both teams who had made legitimate financial sacrifices to win.
    And no, I don’t consider Kobe’s nominal pay cut from his previous bloated salary a sacrifice.

  157. Nick Van Exile June 20, 2014 at 3:09 pm

    It’s interesting that Doug McDermott declined the Laker invitation for a second workout. Does he have a promise from some team?

  158. P Ami
    Great post re Byron.

    It’s kinda weird they’re waiting this long to pull the trigger if Byron’s their guy.

    To use (Robert’s?) prom date analogy, the Lakers’ hesitance feels like they are bummed out that the head cheerleader is already going with someone else and now we’re not even sure if we want to go.

  159. nick van exile: his agent represents two free agent small forwards in nick young and gordon hayward. he may want to steer one of those guys to the lakers.

  160. rr,
    In response to your earlier comment about Smart/Randle/Gordon — Smart, Payton, and Gordon were all in LA today for a second workout with the Lakers.

  161. NVE,

    Last time McDermott worked out for the Lakers, he was defended by Aaron Gordon and, reportedly, had problems getting his shot off against Gordon. He may not want a repeat of that. He even remarked afterwards that Gordon is a great defender and a great athlete and has a real future in the NBA. That might be why he declined an invitation.

  162. J C: Byron is still getting this. It is just a question of when. Who else would be our date? Everyone will be showing up in a tux, and there we are in baseball cap and jeans.

  163. Just a thought, but maybe the Lakers as an organization aren’t actually terrible and directionless. I admit that the Lakers are as down as they’ve been since the move to L.A. It’s understandable that the response to this state of affairs is a belief that the Lakers are not being run well. However, this is all based on what has happened over the last few years. Now this sounds crazy, but I don’t believe we can judge the Lakers plan based on what actually happened. We need to judge the plan on what smart people and consensus judged to be the probable outcome of the front office’s moves at the time the moves were made.

    The front office knew it needed to make some changes after the end of Phil’s tenure. They were correct in this assessment. Here’s the major moves:

    -Trade for Chris Paul. Vetoed.
    -Trade for Dwight Howard and Steve Nash.
    -Reunite Nash with the coach he historically fit best with. A coach who had great success with using big men in pick-and-roll. Something the recently acquired Howard was pretty efficient running.

    Yes, a lot of resources went out the door to do the above. Yes, we know it didn’t work. In fact, it blew up in about the worst possible outcome. Yet how likely was that outcome?

    Pundits, coaches, players, and gms from coast-to-coast were pissed that the Lakers had stocked up as they had. It made them a real favorite to knock out Miami. Most people on this board were probably salivating about pushing the chips into the middle to get Kobe #6.

    In retrospect it has really hurt the team because of how it all played out. But these were not the moves of people who don’t get the game or how to build a team. If you ran this experiment in alternate timelines I’m guessing that it’s more successful than not. Maybe a 60% championship rate? With a 35% “very good but falls short of championship rate.” We just happen to live in the 5% “you won’t believe how wrong this all goes” world. It’s sucks but it’s fine. Because I still believe that at that time given the information available to them, the front office made the smartest and best decisions possible.

    All that being said, I don’t think they’ll be able to fix this quickly. Things blew up so bad that it will take a bit to climb out of this hole. (Though maybe we’ll wind up living the 5% world of “how did the Lakers get so lucky and rebuild so fast?” world.)

    But seriously, and I may be the last Laker fan with this viewpoint, I trust these guys to build a contender again.

  164. Nick Van Exile June 20, 2014 at 5:17 pm

    chibi/Mid-Wilshire: Those are both understandable reasons for the McDermott decline (although I had heard that McDermott looked good in the workouts so far… maybe in the ones where he wasn’t guarded by Gordon!). I was having trouble wrapping my head around some team (picking before the Lakers) making a promise to him.

  165. How likely was the Nash reunion with D’Antoni likely to blow up? – 100%, ask any Suns fan at the time. Nash was already in late Larry Bird mode his last season there.

    How likely was Howard to be damaged goods? – 100%, trying to come back from back surgery too soon. That was obvious the first time he stepped on the court and was painful to watch.

    The Laker FO had access to medical records and whatever tests they ran, all information we do not see. I would hope they would do a better job at estimating the limits of injured and older players than the average fan.

  166. Fern, Julien, LT:

    All those arguments fit under business, branding, narrative, and revenue, and I have heard the theory that Kobe’s deal will impress future FAs many times, here and and elsewhere. I don’t buy it, but there is no way to know at this point.

    As to LT’s attempt to make a basketball argument, the only thing I agree with is that it is unlikely that James or Anthony is coming here…in part because having a huge chunk of the cap tied up in Kobe will make it harder to acquire high-end talent, and, more importantly, Kobe has not yet shown that he is not done physically and therefore done as a quality, reliable player, much less a star. But for that above reason, I would have been OK with a one-year deal for Kobe. That said, big-time FAs are going to get money and PT and fame so, mostly, they want to win.

    Yes, if the Lakers stretch Nash, they will have a nice amount of cap space, although not quite 35M once you account for cap holds. But they would have more–and more flexibility next year–if Kobe were signed to a one-year deal for less money. Would he have taken something like 1/18? I don’t know. But I do know that he would not have gotten 2/48.5 on the market.

  167. Rob L,

    All that is true, and the Veto is the main reason I think Buss should get more time–and he has already basically announced how much time that is going to be. But you left out the Brown/Shaw and Phil stuff, and Kobe’s extension.

  168. Darius,

    I was just relaying what Ford said. Gordon may well be, and probably is, still on the radar for the Lakers.

  169. Robert, I brought up the New Jersey situation with Byron because it was a rare case of a team openly tuning out the coach and pretending an assistant was the coach instead. I can’t remember how long before he was fired that the stories began to emerge in which players were opening stumping for Frank. Maybe this was news because that team was still thought of as a contender in the east but I don’t think so. When you hire a coach, I think a major feature has to be that person’s ability to gain the respect of the players he coaches and use his influence to support the building of a family feel. You see this in San Antonio, in OKC, in Dallas, and in Lakerland in the times when the team was in good hands. Looking at Football, no team has sustained success like New England has and I don’t think there is any doubt there is a culture there. Look at the Kings and the success they have found. That organization shows all the trademarks of creating a culture. I do not trust Byron Scott with being able to do facilitate that process.

    The thing that would really eat at me if the Lakers pick Byron is that they had some options available. Rather than thinking of Fisher, Blatt and Messina as taking a gamble, I saw those as ballsy moves with a real chance at success. I’ve not followed any news regarding JVG coming. I haven’t seen any reports of that being discussed. I certainly haven’t heard of him being interviewed. I was hoping that maybe they were waiting for the finals to be over. Point being, I think he might be the last remaining known quantity that makes sense. That guy looks like he could have 10 good years in him, if his team is successful, and could groom a replacement too. I have read nothing to make me think he is interested, so there is that problem. Anyway, there must be guys out there who could do the job better than Byron Scott.

  170. and I may be the last Laker fan with this viewpoint..–

    Heh. Not at all. There are still Buss FO loyalists both here and around the net, and I hope they are right about the issue. But the Buss FO needs to start making some big decisions that don’t require explanations and contextualization a year later.

  171. Contexualization?

    Wow I can’t even watch the Dodger game I am so dizzy

    I am using that word next week somehow , somewhere..

  172. Too many letters for scrabble Ko

  173. Los Angeles Times
    View this content on Los Angeles Times’s website
    Lakers in talks to acquire Klay Thompson as part of Kevin Love deal
    The Lakers have been in discussions to acquire Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson for the seventh pick in next week’s draft, The Times has learned.
    View on web

    via multiple sources on twitter!

  174. The Lakers have been in discussions to acquire Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson for the seventh pick in next week’s draft

    Maybe Mychal is coming out from behind the mic to be one of Scott’s assistants…

  175. I don’t know how I feel about Love, but at least it shows there’s movement coming from the FO…if the story is true, that is.

  176. “Klay Thompson to Lakers for the #7 pick?” I know the Lakers need guys at every position, but doesn’t he play the same spot as Mr. Bryant? Or does this mean #24 will be playing a lot more small forward? Or is this just a crazy but interesting rumor?

  177. P Ami,

    Calipari, Scott, Avery Johnson all have Jason Kidd throwing them under the buss in common. Frank is probably not be to happy with him at the moment either. However, that doesn’t mean your assessment of Scott is wrong but Kidd has a track record.

  178. Hale, that is true… I don’t think Kidd was easy to coach. I would be curious to know how Carlisle managed him. Did it have to do with the fact that Kidd wasn’t The Man on those Dallas teams? Was it just a natural maturation process? Did it have more to do with Carlisle being one of these coaches who can figure out how to produce an environment that recruits talent into the culture of the team? It may well be a combination of those factors. I just have a lot of respect for Carlisle and what he is capable of. His work in Dallas has been masterful and that is the sort of coach I would like to see the Lakers shooting for.

    My lord, turning the #7 pick into Klay Thompson could be huge… Just think of how few good SG there are in the league. When a guy who does not play defense is considered the best shooting guard in the league and is the only 2 selected to the all-NBA Team, you know SG has issues. Just think, of the top 6 guards in the league only one is a shooting guard. Only three other 2s got votes for the all-NBA team; Dwayne Wade (can he be officially changed from Flash to Glue?), Monta Elis who is a tweener, and Damar DeRozen who is a nice player. I guess Joe Johnson is a shooting guard too. When I think of other quality SGs I think of Wes Mathews and Arron Afflollo. Those are the top shooting guards in the league. That ain’t much.

    Klay is still on his rookie scale. His contract keeps him on that scale this coming season and next. That means the Lakers can still get a max FA next season, perhaps trade for another (Irving) and sign another FA the season after that. Then they sign Klay to what one hopes would be a well earned max of his own. They would be well over the cap but will have reset their tax-cycle. All this while acquiring one of the best players in the league at a position of scarcity. These days teams can find PGs, SFs and PFs growing on trees. Those should be the positions we get as FAs.

    I’ll tell you this, from discussions I’ve had with Eric Pincus, he’s given me some insight into the Lakers FO. They seem to have very little faith in the draft. It seems strange to feel that way about a draft this deep and a pick this high, but perhaps the Lakers have a more informed view than we do as regards the draft and it seems to make them pretty skeptical.

    One final thought… If the Lakers manage to make some moves that indicate their ability to build a winner (trading for Klay could be one key bit of evidence of this happening) I would think that would make the franchise more attractive to a coach who is in a position to remain selective about the job he will take. I am grasping all the straws right now, but lets hope that is what the Lakers are in the process of doing. Maybe they are in the process of wooing JVG and Klay is the engagement ring.

  179. Warren Wee Lim June 21, 2014 at 11:45 am

    Why can’t we just hire JVG instead?

  180. Warren, I have a comment in moderation that discusses this

  181. Blake Griffin 6’8.5 height, 6’11 wing span
    Kevin Love 6’7.75 height, 6’11 wing span
    David Lee 6’7.75 height, 7’0 wing span
    Julius Randle 6’7.75 height, 7’0 wing span

    if he’s anything like the other names on this list, I’d take him with my 7th pick, that’s all I’m saying. You guys worry about whether or not he has webbed feet. He’s 19 and he has a post up game and mid range shot and he’s got a motor. Period.

    In regards to the CAP and the CBA, You conveniently put on a show to display my lack of intellect about something you’ve clearly mastered. And that’s fine, but understand the point I was trying to make and then attack my comment. My point to you guys was, I don’t think the lakers CARE about the punitive measures IF they have an opportunity to get kobe a sixth and go on that run.

    I COMPLETELY AWKNOWLEDGE THERE ARE PUNITIVE MEASURES, HARSH PUNITIVE MEASURES TO GOING OVER THE LUXURY TAX LINE. Are you happy? My point about the bigger business of basketball is that if you’re treating your franchise as a business, which it is. As a business, you’re willing to take losses in one area to gain a lot more in the whole. I’m not going to comment on the cap and cba anymore thanks for the link Darius, I’ll be sure to review it and thanks for pointing out the other parts of my post/posts or ever responding to anything that you can’t cut down while completely missing the point of my comment.

    @Julien said:

    The one person who finally hit on the real reason was BigCitySid “I’m a realist… I’m a business owner myself.” although the rest of Sid’s post was more about FO errors. For true realist the fact is the Lakers are a business. And it is well documented that Kobe is good for business. They gave him a $48 million dollar contract over 2 years because he’s good for business. Bottom line the Kobe contract extension is all about business. Whether the Lakers win a championship or not, lots of money will be made and the reason lots of money will be made (Superstar and Global Icon Kobe Bryant) and the main reason for the making of the money got a contract extension for a fraction (even less after taxes) of the money he’ll earn for the organization. It’s good business no more, no less. After all is said and done the Lakers are a business and profits are the ultimate goal of any successful business. And lots of money will be made

    so yes the lakers will LITERALLY pay, and I think you’re the one that’s going to report them and round em up for stern, BUT if they are making so much more in the grand scheme, they don’t care. That was my point.

  182. @Nick Van Exile. I don’t consider wingspan in my evaluation of talent, sorry. I don’t look at the players like cattle and check every aspect of their bodies a physical and standard tests like how high can you jump I feel are enough, especially if I’ve had an opportunity to watch said player all year on national television.

    Julius Randle is 6’9, Elton brand is 6’9 and was a year older than Julius when drafted and only 10lbs heavier. They both have a great post up game, can hit the mid range jump shot, and play hard. Why is this not a good comparison? He’s 19 years old and he just played in the NCAA final. Also, I’m not sure why you think Zack Randolph (plays with marc gasol, tony allen, mike conley) is a good defensive player or better than Kevin Love, love is 6’8 he’s not 7′ but he’s the best rebounder in the game which is a huge part of defense, your center protects the rim, i.e. Tyson chandler, roy hibbert, etc.

    Who would you rather have? Charles Barkeley or Samuel Dalembert?

    Oh really? but Dalembert has a really long wingspan……I will take Motor, NCAA finals appearance, post up game any day over wingspan.