Draft Day Thoughts

Darius Soriano —  June 25, 2014

For the purpose of this post, I am not going to explore the idea that the Lakers trade this pick as part of some deal for a more NBA-ready veteran or in some master scheme to clear more cap space in their pursuit of a certain free agent (or two). Instead I will focus on the Lakers making a selection in this draft with the idea they will keep the pick. Which, you know, could totally still happen.

I won’t pretend to know what the Lakers will do with their pick. In fact, I doubt their front office does either. Sure, there are scenarios and contingencies but in reality there will be more than one good choice on the board when the Lakers select from their 7th slot. When the clock starts for their pick they will have to trust their evaluations, throw in some gut feel, and dive into the prospect pool in hopes of nabbing a difference maker.

To this point in the process, I really haven’t found a favorite to root for the team to pick. The Lakers have not selected this high since before I was in elementary school. The idea is so novel to me that it seems strange to fall in love with just a single prospect when there is potential for so many of them to help the team in one way or another. As I’ve said many times before, I could make a case for any of the top eight players on most draft boards to come in an be a rotation player on next year’s team.

At this point in the process, however, it can be difficult to see the forest through the trees. You can only watch so much tape on a prospect before your start to either overly nitpick or praise. Watch too much of Julius Randle or Marcus Smart and you might become too concerned with a lack of length or a style that is too dependent on bullying players who are in the same class physically. Or you go back and watch Dante Exum look amazing against a team of top american prospects and forget that it was only one game. This is the nature of evaluating and a reason why I am happy the draft is finally here. There is no more film to pour over in order to evaluate how good a player might or might not be. There is only making the pick and starting the process of prospect development that will be a much bigger factor in the player reaching his ceiling than any of those games we have watched over and over again on our TV and computer screens.

With that being said, here are my final thoughts on a handful of prospects who the Lakers may have the opportunity to draft. Who knows, one of them might actually end up being a Laker later on today.

*Joel Embiid, C: First off, I don’t think he falls this far. When it comes right down to it, someone will gamble on him in picks 3 to 5 via their own pick or trading up to get him. Guys with his size + burgeoning skill are rare and someone will take him even with the specter of Oden/Yao/etc out there. So, in saying that, if he were to somehow make his way to #7, I’d want the Lakers to draft him. Yes there are injury concerns and those certainly worry me. If he ends up not recovering or having a limited career because of recurring issues either with his foot or his back, I’d probably look back and wonder why the team was so silly to take the risk. But, today, I’m all for the gamble. Players with his measurables who flash his ability don’t come around too often and at the 7th pick in the draft I think the risk is worth taking.

*Dante Exum, G: Another player who I don’t think will last to this point but am hopeful who will. I am just too intrigued by his measurables and the little tape I have seen of him to let go of the idea that I’d want him to be a Laker that I have to include him here. I think he can be a true difference maker in the league as he develops physically and learns how to use his physical gifts. I know there are real questions about whether he’ll develop well and if he can truly be measured against other top players due to his background and lack of exposure against top competition. But in 5 years I could see him being one of the best 2-3 players from this class in the same way that Wade was from his draft. If that sounds like too much praise or a reach, it may very well be. But when I watch him on tape I see a smooth athlete who understands angles, how to use a change of pace, and who sees the floor well. I also see a guy who has pretty good mechanics on his jumper and looks like he can finish in traffic against bigger players. Add in his pedigree as someone who grew up around the game and I can imagine a development arc similar to Tony Parker — another foreign born prospect with an american father who came into the league young.

*Julius Randle, PF: I don’t know if Randle will last, but he’s someone who continues to end up being the Lakers’ pick in mock drafts. He has his detractors, but the more and more I have watched of him the more and more I believe he will be a very good player in this league for a long time. He has good size, skill, and by all accounts is a hard worker who has a drive to be a great player. Also, I find comfort in bigs who compete and have the motor he does to continue to get after it even when things go against him. Things may be hard for him in certain match ups, but I don’t see him as a guy who will quit. Instead I see a player who will take up the challenge and find a way to be effective. Other players have more upside, but this guy just seem to know how to play the game while finding ways to maximize his strengths. I’d be more than happy if he ended up a Laker.

*Aaron Gordon, PF and Noah Vonleh, PF (tie): I honestly can’t decide between these two. Vonleh has the measurables and I think he will probably develop into a fine offensive player who can rebound. But whispers about how intuitive he is as a player concern me as players like that end up plateauing in their development because they never figure it out. Will he be one of those guys? I’ve no clue, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t consider it. That said, while he didn’t flash the defensive ability I would like, he has great two-way potential due to his size and a big like him who can stretch the floor and hit the glass is pretty rare. Will he ever be as good as, say, LaMarcus Aldridge? I’ve no clue, but his ceiling is probably that (or a bit higher) and that is very intriguing.

Gordon to me, in a way, is the opposite. He comes off as a very smart player who will take to coaching well and develop positively as he learns to channel his athleticism. And that athleticism is considerable. I don’t know if he’ll be a SF or a PF long term and his jumper is very concerning. But as a P&R dive man and a weak side slasher who can finish above the rim and hit the offensive glass I see him having a niche he can slide into early in his career offensively while being an excellent defender. I’d add, that his positional versatility is something that works in his favor for me. The league is moving more and more towards Forwards who can start the game as a 3 but soak up minutes as a 4 and Gordon seems like he’ll be able to do that throughout his career. With his defensive potential what it is, I think you have to take notice and rank him accordingly. I guess in the end I’d go Gordon over Vonleh which is something I didn’t think I’d say at this point in the process. I know he has his detractors and the idea of him floating around the wing while his man helps off him is a concern, but he is skilled and smart enough that I think he will be able to compensate.

*Marcus Smart, PG: Before I take too much heat for not mentioning Smart until now, let me just say that I’d be happy if Smart were there and was the pick. I think he’d contribute more, in year one, than a couple of guys I have higher on this list simply because he does have pro-size and seems to have a plan in how he attacks on both ends. Knowing how you want to do things is important for a young player and with his competitiveness I think he will be a fine pro early on. That said, I think in 5 years every player (save Vonleh, maybe) listed above him here will be the better player and I might even say that a guy like Zach LaVine will be as well (and maybe even Elfrid Payton). This is nothing against Smart and like I said if he is the pick I will slot him into the rotation as either a starter or the 1st guard off the bench and a guy who can play 20-25 minutes a night and even close games as a defensive wing in certain match-ups. That has real value. And if he ever finds his range as a shooter I think his ceiling raises exponentially. But as I’ve watched him more, and when taking stock across the league in positions that have talent and what helps win games, I just think the bigs offer more as a foundational player long term.

As I said up top, I don’t know what the Lakers will do with this pick. Even when Magic Johnson and James Worthy were selected by the Lakers with the first pick in their respective drafts, there were viable alternatives that the team was supposedly considering in Sidney Moncrief and Dominique Wilkins. Of course, Magic and Worthy ended up being Lakers and the rest is history. And while I don’t expect whoever is selected by the Lakers at #7 to end up having their number hanging in the rafters one day, the promise of getting a good talent at that spot is intriguing nonetheless.

Darius Soriano

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81 responses to Draft Day Thoughts

  1. Guys with his size + burgeoning skill are rare and someone will take him even with the specter of Oden/Yao/etc out there. So, in saying that, if he were to somehow make his way to #7, I’d want the Lakers to draft him.


    I would rather have Smart than Randle, but I expect if those two are there when the Lakers pick, they will take Randle. I expect there will be a big deal and a surprise or two tomorrow.

  2. Let the rebuilding begin.

  3. If the Lakers are hoarding all their cap room for the Lebron/Melo pipedream, then there is a 0% chance they help teams dump salary in exchange for more draft picks tomorrow.

  4. Renato Afonso June 26, 2014 at 2:27 am

    Assuming the Lakers keep their pick (and I think it’s the most likely outcome) I think Darius list is spot on. Marcus Smart should be our clear #8 when ranking all the players simply because it’s arguable that LaVine and Payton can be better point guards in 3 to 4 years time. Word is that Payton is playing toe-to-toe with Marcus Smart in pre-draft workouts and may be as good defensively as Smart is.

    To be honest, if the Lakers could find a way to draft Gordon or Randle (in that order and I’m not that high on Vonleh) with the 7th pick and could add another first round pick to get Payton I would be ecstatic even if both don’t pan out in 2 to 3 years.

  5. As mentioned, definitely can’t see Embiid falling in our laps – especially with Danny Ainge and the Celtics selecting right before us – but if we’re lucky enough and he does, no way do I pass on him. In viewing him I see a little bit of Hakeem, Duncan and Garnett. Obviously, the Red Flags are understood, but with his size, athleticism, footwork and touch – and to think, he’s only been playing basketball for a few years now – I would most definitely role the dice on him and hope for 4,5,6 (Headcracks).

    With all that being said, I believe – as Darius mentioned previously – that we’ll be selecting between Randle, Smart and Gordon. While I’m not extremely high on either, if forced to choose, I guess Julius Randle would be the selection.

    But just watching Embiid, and the few clips that I’ve witnessed of Exum – who reminds me of a young Penny Hardaway – only 1 word comes to my head: Damn

  6. Id rather us get more picks …. its not looking good for us comparably for lebron or melo… one will go to houston or one will go to chicago … we need to find the next crop of guys post lebron era to get back to a championship level

    Also, houston could end up with almost the same cap space as us with 18 million if they trade lin which would open them up to going after guys like deng, lowry,and gasol or a group of solid role players in the 5 mill range …. houston is going to be a lot better next year

  7. Embiid

    That’s how my choices would pan out since there’s zero chance at Wiggins or Parker.

  8. If the Lakers are hoarding all their cap room for the Lebron/Melo pipedream, then there is a 0% chance they help teams dump salary in exchange for more draft picks tomorrow.

    I didn’t mean that the Lakers will make a big deal; I think there will be another team that does, though.

  9. The big difference between this time and all of the other lottery times is that the player is coming to a team that is a very blank slate. For example, Worthy was deemed a better team player than Wilkins and would accept not being “the man”. Character is going to be a very important issue with this pick because the player is going to have to be patient and wait for the Lakers to get competitive again. In addition, he will need to work hard on the rough edges of his game. Kobe will be around to show the player how much work is required to play in the NBA but there is no Derek Fisher to translate how that intensity works for mortal players. A lot of the success of this pick will depend on how accurate the assessment is of what the player is like above the neck.

  10. Have to disagree with picking Embiid. No way I take a big with that kind of injury history. If he can’t withstand college, I wouldn’t take a chance that his body will hold up in the NBA.
    If we didn’t need so much help and if we had a couple more high picks in this draft or 2015 I’d say go for it but we can’t afford to make that kind of mistake with this pick. We need to get someone who will, at the very least, be a solid contributor for many years to come.

  11. darius: in light of recent news of LeBron’s opt out coupled with reports that Carmelo and LeBron may be a package deal; it truly is a toss up for laker front office to go for the point guard or forward position with their number 7 selection in today’s nba draft.

    that being said, they should keep their pick and go for Julius “the hammer” Randle.

    go lakers

  12. I think the Lakers need a safe pick. Exum, Smart and Vonleh would be my top choices. Gordon is talented but the shooting is scary bad, Randle is NBA ready but I believe is very limited in future potential. Embidd has a huge Risk/ Reward value but I don’t see the Lakers as being in the position to gamble like that. If Smart, Exum, or Vonleh is not available I believe the Lakers should trade down to get LaVine.

  13. Draft day´s here, finally –
    I like either Randle or Smart, though arguements in favor of the other potential picks are compelling.
    Baylor, nice post

  14. Exum will be long gone, possibly in the top three. I can understand taking Embid if he is there, but he appears simply too fragile to withstand the NBA, He’s a gamble for a team with assets; that’s not the Lakers. I can’t see Vonleh dropping to 7, but if he did the Lakers would be thrilled because of his measurables and ability to both stretch the floor and play both ends.

    Two of these three will likely be there: Smart, Gordon or Randle. Randle gets the pick because of power, explosiveness, motor and pro-ready toughness. Any of these are solid picks.

    Surprise pick: if Randle is gone, don’t be shocked to hear Elfrid Payton’s name here. Rumour is the Lakers have him ahead of Smart based on their head to head workout. This kid is the real deal.

  15. Nick Van Exile June 26, 2014 at 10:28 am

    chibi: I think the dream of using our cap space to help teams dump salary in exchange for their draft picks has pretty much died now that Houston was able to dump Asik and receive (not give) a first round pick.

    Whichever player the Lakers end up picking, I hope they pick somebody who is a relentless hard worker and competitor. A rookie who doesn’t work hard or show some competitive fire is going to have an absolutely miserable first two years of their NBA career playing with Kobe! That’s why I’m favoring Randle/Gordon over Vonleh right now. Vonleh to me looks like he has the skill and NBA-ready body/length to be the best of them but he doesn’t seem to have that competitive fire. He looks like someone that will prosper on a smaller market team where he doesn’t have the pressure of all the Laker great big men weighing on him. The point is probably moot though as most mock drafts have Vonleh gone before the Lakers pick.

    I’d prioritize a big over a guard in the draft because there are quite a few playmaking guards available via FA. If the Lakers go with a guard, I’d give Payton the slight edge over Smart.

  16. If the Lakers draft Embiid it has to be with the understanding that he will not help the team next year at all. He is projected to miss the next six months due to his surgery. So if he starts his ‘training camp’ in December/January he could be on the court by January/February. If he hits the inevitable bump in the road and he’s delayed a month your now looking at February/March. If the Lakers are out of it, which they will be if they field a team similar to this past season, then it makes no sense to play him at all.

  17. the grizzlies are trying to dump tayshaun prince and are offering the 22nd pick.

  18. Decision Day. We’ll find out what the direction the FO is taking in a few hours. If they end the day with an established veteran then they are in win now mode. If they end the day with a pick, picks or a very young player then they ‘reloading’ (I don’t think they will call it rebuilding even though that is what it is).

    I have no problem with a reload/rebuild. By accumulating young pieces you can give your FO the assets needed to make big moves. Houston had nothing a few years ago except for a lot of young players, picks and cap space. When Hardin became available the FO was able to jump on him. When DHoward became available the FO had cap space to bring him on. Now, with Lebron and Melo available the FO has a young asset (Chandler) to use as an inducement to move Jeremy Lin and potentially sign both of those players.

    I know hard core Laker fans will fight this path but all you have to know is that the Lakers and LA are better than the Rockets and Houston. I’m willing to give Mitch the time to accumulate young players, picks, cap space and the time needed to create the next winning Laker team.

  19. Nick Van Exile June 26, 2014 at 11:32 am

    Taking on Tayshaun Prince’s expiring for the #22 pick is interesting. Prince could be flipped later around the trade deadline for another useful asset. I think the big question is if the Lakers like anyone in the range of the #22 pick. If Tyler Ennis was available, I’d probably go for it. He may be gone by then though. I guess I prematurely closed the door on the Lakers’ chances of using their cap space to take on an expiring contract + first round pick.

  20. Warren Wee Lim June 26, 2014 at 11:41 am

    I wouldn’t be surprised if we were one of the teams that did that deal: #22 + Prince for cap. However, our cap is technically not present yet.

  21. @Warren: They just agree to terms let the other team know what pick they want then consummate the deal on July 1st. I expect a lot of trades on July 1st.

    The Vasheed plan is alive and kicking (player + picks). ^_~

  22. Since we are rarely in a position to take a meaningful draft pick, I’m unclear –
    If we draft a player but intend to exchange him for a veteran, is that announced immediately?
    or not until July 1?

  23. And like Darius said there are so many promising prospects here it’s tough to pick just one.
    If we end up w Randle, I’m sure he’ll do pretty well.
    I do like Aaron Gordon’s “up”side.
    I loved the Zack Lavine highlights I saw but we’d have to trade down and he’s probably a longer term project. His game is gonna be sweet though, I think.

  24. Of course if we were to make the Houston Rockets the road map for our reload/rebuild it would help to have Daryl Morey as our GM.

  25. As a UK fan I can’t advocate for Randle enough, the guy has the “it Factor.” Don’t believe the foot injury reports at all because none of those plugged inside the program at UK say the reports are true.

    Regarding Noah Vonleh: People realize he struggled to play on a terrible Indiana team that didn’t even make the NCAA tournament right? I mean measurables are great and everything but give me a guy who has proven himself over a guy who may not “have it between the ears” any day of the week.

    And Darius regarding Dante Exum: Since I follow high school recruiting so much I don’t get the hype on this guy. I believe he is a top 3 pick tonight based off media driven hoopla. Yes he has great measurements, but there are several things that just scream bust for me. First off the guy isn’t a true 1 or 2 guard, and he’s not a good shooter so that really hurts who he is since he is an inbetweener. Secondly the vast majority of when his hype started following the Nike Hoops Summit last year where he made easy work of the Harrison Twins of UK and Kasey Hill of Florida. Literally that is the only sample size we have of a top 3 guy against other elite prospects! As a UK fan I can confidently say the Harrison Twins are some of the worst defenders I have seen at UK in recent years and Kasey Hill didn’t even start at Florida so I don’t find it shocking that Dante played well against them. Heck many SEC point guards who aren’t even worthy of being draft picks had no trouble besting the Twins and Hill. Someone will get fired for this pick. I can see it being a Bill Simmons piece years from now. Also add to the fact that the Nike Hoops Summit game is basically a glorified All-star game where US athletes don’t try as hard as international athletes do so seeing Dante dominate anyone wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility. So really who wants to use a top 3 pick on such an unknown?
    I could be wrong but this just seems like another Darko to me. I would even pass on him if I were the Lakers if he fell that far.

  26. The Lakers gave away their picks assuming they had just built a new dynastic power. I believe the lakers should restock the pantry with talent by utilizing their cap space then getting the crown jewel elite player next year.

  27. What channel and time (PDT) is the NBA draft on? I looked at NBA TV, but they only seem to have pre-draft and post-draft information.

  28. Nerver mind, it is 7:00pm ESPN.

  29. Btw draft is 4 pm PST
    7 pm eastern

  30. Every year there seems to be one or two players from the draft who surprise the world (Damian Lillard, Paul George, Chandler Parsons, Kawhi Leonard) . Of course, we won’t know for several months, but I’m guessing that the best candidates for playing (somewhat) unexpectedly well next season (and making the other teams wish they had drafted them) could be one (or more) of the following:

    Elfrid Payton, Louisiana Lafayette, Guard
    Nik Stauskas, Michigan, Gurad
    Jordan Clarkson, Missouri, Guard
    Cleanthony Early, Wichita State, Forward
    Clint Capela, Switzerland, Forward

    At least, that’s my list. We shall see.

  31. J C, thank you very much.

  32. Mid-W: Good list, sans Capela. Very raw talent. Needs seasoning (skill development) to survive on an NBA court.

  33. Nick Van Exile June 26, 2014 at 2:46 pm

    “…..notice Dwight wasn’t on my list.”

    chris y: But Spencer Hawes could be!

    Eric: Exum also was on the FIBA U19 All-Tournament team with Gordon and Saric last year. Still a lot of mystery around the guy. I think if he had went to a Division I college for a year and did his thing, he could have gone #1.

  34. Nick Van Exile June 26, 2014 at 2:56 pm

    Mid-Wilshire: That’s a solid list. I’m glad you didn’t include Zach LaVine on it. I think he is way overhyped right now. It’s telling that he couldn’t crack the UCLA starting lineup (as a UCLA alumni, I don’t know any alumni that thinks he’s going to be a superstar in the NBA like Westbrook). I think Payton has a good chance of being this year’s Damian Lillard (and he’s turning that franchise around). I may have just talked myself into Payton at #7 after thinking he was a reach yesterday!

  35. M-Wilshire: Interesting list indeed.

    Especially Elfrid Payton. Would you take him over Smart?

  36. If the Lakers go with a wing player over a big, my pick would be Payton as well. His outside shooting gives him the edge over Smart. Kupchack stated a couple months ago that next year’s offense will be designed around Kobe’s strengths. If that’s the case, it will be crucial for the PG position to be able to spread the floor. In the new NBA, not having outside shooting in at least three positions is becoming a bigger liability by the year.

  37. My order, FWIW, assuming that Embiid and Exum will not be there:


  38. Plan9 and NVE,

    I think Elfrid Payton’s stock is rising. Who knows? He could go in the top 8. He could go to the Lakers. I read somewhere that in the last workout for the Lakers, Marcus Smart had real problems containing Payton. And Smart is supposed to be an elite defender.

    Could Payton be that diamond in the rough?

  39. Who told you Payton can shoot?

  40. Payton? Not me. But he can penetrate and get to the line. Excellent passer, great on the ball defender.

  41. Relative to Smart, Payton has better potential to become a consistent outside shooter. He has the mechanics and release down, but just needs some practice. Smart might have to change his entire mechanics to become a consistent outside shooter.

  42. chibi,

    I understand Payton shoots about as well as Aaron Gordon (which means his shot stinks). But he has great numbers in assists, rebounding, plays gret D, averages 2.3 steals per game, and gets to the rim. And he’s 6-4.

    He could go higher than some people are predicting.

  43. Some projections have Exum sliding to #7, can i dare to hope? Im really nervous right now for real.Him and Randle are my top 2 choices but with my luck we pick someone else. Lol (biting nails)

  44. vonleh has fallen to #10 on draftexpress

  45. in yesterday’s draft preview, jay bilas said noah vonleh has “girth underneath”

  46. “I won’t pretend to know what the Lakers will do with their pick. In fact, I doubt their front office does either.” Darius.

    I hope you’re wrong D.

  47. @chibi, must be bc of that Django suit he is wearing lol.

  48. Darius: “I won’t pretend to know what the Lakers will do with their pick. In fact, I doubt their front office does either.” Wow – sounds like something I would say : ) “throw in some gut feel” Whose gut? : )

  49. Wiggins & Parker gone, Philly on the clock…now it gets interesting.

  50. Philly is smart for taking the plunge on Joel Embiid. They have a zillion draft picks this year. They can stomach the risk.

  51. Dante on purple?

  52. Chad Ford is reporting Dante Exum to the Utah Jazz

  53. Ford reporting, that Utah will take exum…. so close…

  54. Ford reporting, that Utah will take exum…. so close…

    Yeah, but seeing Nick Young’s 41-point game in Utah was worth it.

  55. Had my fingers crossed for a fellow Australian in Forum blue & gold. Oh well. Now we just want Boston to whiff on their pick…

  56. Looks like Lakers are picking Chas.

  57. Boston taking smart… rondo trade coming???

  58. Oh well, one can only hope smart pick by the Jazz. I take comfort in the fact that in a couple of years he will be screaming to leave the Jazz and then we can snatch him lol. That or he becomes a bust lol.

  59. Lakers taking randle…. there we go

  60. Lakers will select Julius Randle. Welcome to the Lakers.

  61. Ford reporting the Lakers will select Randle.

  62. I was hoping for Vonleh once Exum & Smart were gone – but it looks like Noah is dropping fast…

  63. go randle. go lakers.

  64. We got Randle yeahhhhh!!!!!!!!! The obvious choice and my second best selection. Really happy!!!!

  65. If we keep this I hate this pick. Too short and not athletic enough for PF. We aren’t keeping it anyways.

  66. I think they should have taken Vonleh, so this is big decision #2 on Buss’ time clock, with Kobe’s contract being #1. Coaching hire will be #3. Hope the FO is right.

  67. I absolutely love the pick. Julius Randle is a much better player than Vonleh and will fit right in. Great pick!

  68. Just curious, who would you have picked Aaron?

  69. Well if Rambo, Sacre and Marshall are on the court the team may not score. But all in all I like it as they were a very soft team last year. Guy is tough.


  71. Being that I’m not a big fan of college basketball I am not sure if Randle is better pick than Vonleh. So I can’t too excited either way. I am just glad to see the Lakers get some new, young talent. They need as much of it as they can get.

  72. Nick Van Exile June 26, 2014 at 5:28 pm

    I was worried that the Lakers were going to pick Vonleh over Randle. I love that Randle said he was going to make the teams that passed over him pay. That’s the competitive fire that separates him from Vonleh and I think that’s also a reason why Vonleh’s stock is dropping.

  73. Warren Wee Lim June 26, 2014 at 5:29 pm

    Dear Julius Randle,

    Welcome to the Lakers!

  74. Being that I’m not a big fan of college basketball I am not sure if Randle is better pick than Vonleh.

    Me neither, but I think Vonleh has more long-term upside, based on what I have seen and read. I think going with Randle with Vonleh still on the board indicates that the FO wants either a short rebuild or no rebuild. I am not going to second-guess the FO too hard on this, other than putting in my .02 that I would have preferred Vonleh. But Buss and Kupchak need to be right about Randle, since there was another PF on the board.

  75. Me neither, but I think Vonleh has more long-term upside, based on what I have seen and read. I think going with Randle with Vonleh still on the board indicates that the FO wants either a short rebuild or no rebuild. I am not going to second-guess the FO too hard on this, other than putting in my .02 that I would have preferred Vonleh. But Buss and Kupchak need to be right about Randle, since there was another PF on the board.

    My thoughts exactly.

  76. Randle is an absolutely better prospect than Vonleh, hands down. I understand Vonleh’s potential, but Randle was a beast the minute he stepped on the court. Furthermore, he brings the necessary attitude to thrive under the spotlight. I think he’s got an excellent work ethic as well. Vonleh is being pitted as a stretch 4, but didn’t really shoot a lot of 3’s in college. In addition, he was basically all that his team had and still couldn’t dominate. Now some attribute this to the lack of quality in his starting guards and their inability to get him the ball. But I do think it says something that Randle was on a stacked team and was still by far the best guy on that team. Yes, I’d like him to be a little taller and while he didn’t show the ability to step out and hit the jumper I think that’s more attributed to the scheme and the fact that Calipari didn’t let him. I’m confident that he has a good stroke and will eventually be able to hit a 16-18 footer with consistency. The stretch 4 idea is less of a concern as Ryan Kelly already plays that role. I’m really intrigued by Randle’s skill set and more importantly I think he fits both in the short term (ready to play now) and long-term (building block potential).

  77. Every draft a player states, “I’m going to make those other teams pay for not selecting me.” Generally, that player turns into an average rotation player. As a competitor, I used to like to hear them say this until time passed and they were unsuccessful.

    Gordon gone at no. 4, huh. Sigh….

    Hear’s hoping that Julius Randle is the one player that proves the scouting world wrong. The Lakers need players with athleticism, defense and bounce, what with the likes of Sacre, Marshall, Nash, and Kobe lacking in those areas.

    It won’t bode well for the Lakers if Lebron is the only player with athleticism (if Aaron’s plan comes to fruition, that is).

  78. Whoever this TJ Warren guy is… Is gonna make the Suns very happy. He looks good.

  79. Classy move by the NBA on Isaiah Austin so he can hear his name called.

  80. Miami just drafted P J Harris out of the D League. I thought you just select D League players from their team, obviously I’m wrong.

  81. I’m always fascinated by the player that San Antonio drafts, so I’ll watch the development of Kyle Anderson 6’9 power forward out of UCLA. I watched very few UCLA games this year so I’m not sure how his game will translate to the NBA. He is now duly noted.