Podcast: Final Thoughts Before the NBA Draft

Darius Soriano —  June 15, 2017

In our final podcast before the NBA Draft, Pete and I take one last look at some of the prospects, answer a bunch of listener questions, touch on the most recent LeBron/Lakers rumor, and have a spirited discussion about Jerry West’s leaving the Warriors for…the Los Angeles Clippers? Yep, that actually happened.

Click through to listen to the entire episode.

Darius Soriano

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  1. Rick in Seattle June 15, 2017 at 10:57 am

    While some young people may not be aware, Jerry West was a life-long Laker–both from his playing days, as well as an exceptional GM. It’s sad to see the way that the organization has turned its back on him.

    And now as colateral damage, it appears that his son will be departing the Lakers and moving over to the Clippers. This is a disasterous public relations move for the Lakers front office and ownership. Who is next? Are they going to cut ties with Kobe , Kareem or Worthy? Somebody is Lakerland is really consolidating their power, huh?


    • SOOOO, whoever Ryan West DOESN’T prefer the Lakers draft will be the guy they ultimately choose as Ryan’s influence evaporates.

      This story is only getting worse……..the only way it gets better for the Lakers is if the Clippers also hire JIM BUSS…………other than that, this is a PR and a competitive net LOSS for the Lakers.

      Maybe the Lakers can hire Kim Kardashian’s Director of Player Personnel to replace Ryan West???


      • Clay calm down Jesus, the story is getting worse on your mind. Ryan West wanted to work with his father, good for him!!
        Ryan dint run the team. He was a minor executive that happened to be the son of Jerry West. The Lakers didn’t want to bring Jerry in, i say good!!! Cut all ties!! the past is the past and let this new front office fail or succeed on their own merits. I mean, who cares really, if the Lakers get back in contention who would give a crap about Ryan West.


    • I love Jerry West. He is very arguably the best basketball GM ever.

      What I don’t see is how he would fit with the current Lakers. He was an advisor with the Warriors and, as such, got a lot of the credit where he was definitely not an every-day participant. He did not make the decisions. The same would be true, + a great deal more, with the Lakers. This in an organization where the new management is trying to establish their own brand.

      Jerry is 80 and will occasionally advise. He will not set any direction, but will get a lot of the credit for any success and very little blame if things go south for the Clippers. For the Clippers this is fine, but for the Lakers this greatly weakens the front office hand going forward.

      It is great that we fans love Jerry – and I think Phil’s ouster of him 16 years ago was a crime – but this is not the time to bring him back.


      • If the Lakers FO and Jeanie are actually thinking in these terms, then they will have problems. The last thing that they should be worrying about is who gets the credit, and while Magic Johnson is new to the FO game (Magic and Pelinka’s combined lack of FO experience is in fact one of the best arguments for bringing in experienced and seasoned consultants like West) he is not a guy who needs to “establish a brand.”

        As I knew would be the case, the arguments against West being here are mostly ill-conceived. It pretty much comes down to, “We don’t know all the details.” Leaving subtext aside, the guy has been consulting with Golden State during their ascent to dominance and even though West himself is 79, the Warriors are not exactly old NBA news. Add that to his long-term track record and his connections to the Lakers, and you would need compelling reasons to argue against bringing him on board to consult. Such reasons may well exist, but they won’t be known here, unless new and key facts come to light.

        And, as noted below, this does put more pressure on Magic and Pelinka to show that they they know what they are doing.


        • Magic took the burden,willingly and the gargantuan pressure, is time to put up or shut up. Jerry had a cozy consultant job but he didn’t build the Dubs.


          • And Magic has never had any job of any kind as an NBA FO executive. Some of the arguments you are making might work if West had been consulting with Sacramento or had been retired for ten years. But given that he has been consulting for one of the best teams ever assembled and is currently working, your arguments are weak.

            And, of course no one has said or suggested that the Wests can save the Lakers. The Lakers are still way down in a crater; it would take a couple of superstars to save them quickly. But I do think that the Wests could have helped, maybe helped a lot, and I think the FO would be better off with their input and ability.


      • I concur. With West, you will occasionally get an ultimatum, “We need to do this or that, if not I’ll quit.” He did that with the Warriors a couple times and whether he was right or wrong, the Lakers can’t afford that right now. I wish Jerry the absolute best going forward with the Clippers as they seem to be stuck after the first or second round of the playoffs.


      • There are no shortages coming from the press about trades, picks and all the rest. Quite frankly, it’s making my head spin.

        A month or so ago, the Lakers only had the #28 selection, no second rounders. Now they have the #2 slot as well and whoever the team selects, it will make the team better by a long shot.

        I can’t wait to see what the best five starting players, coupled with the best bench players can accomplish this year. Magic says he’s reaching out to free agency in 2018, I expect 4 or 5 of the youngsters on today’s roster to be traded in conjunction with that effort.

        In my opinion, this is going to be a fun year. What’s the chances of starting out 10 & 10 again?


      • Totally agree, what Phil did was a crime, but to think that in 2017 Jerry or his son are somehow going to save the Lakers is just dumb.


  2. Yes, the Jerry West to Clippers … crap … the icon and logo and patron saint of Lakerdom !
    But losing *Ryan* West is not merely an emotional or PR hit – from all reports he has been an integral part of the brains of this front office for some time, and taking on a bigger and deeper role in the new regime. Or … not (sigh).


  3. That was spirited! I was with Mr. Room on Jerry but Darius flipped it for me when he made a point of what we don’t know that may have led the Lakers to shying away from JW – information asymmetry. What JW brings good and bad is better known to the current decision makers than to any of us. Is he still the JW of old, as the years pile on and the game changes? Luke potentially had feedback from JW’s stint in NorCal? We don’t know and it won’t matter.

    The Ball/Jackson debates remind me of the Reggie debates in the 1987 draft, where Williams went 4th, Miller 11th. RW was then the more athletic, potentially elite defender, just short of a shot he’d develop later. RM was thinner and likely to stay that way, not a defender, “just” a shooter from anywhere inside the half court line. We know how that turned out.

    I just can’t imagine why LB, a taller Jason Kidd with 30ft range and ability to run a winning, selfless, frantic offense for 35mpg at UCLA, has so many naysayers. He’s my best bet to challenge Ben Simmons for ROY in 2018.


    • I see the Jason Kidd comparison, with the huge exception of the defense. Kidd was a strong defender. The dumb joke is that Ball is Jason Ki__ with a (strange) jumper.


      • You can learn how to play D much easier than developing a legit 30ft range, especially if your bball IQ is one of the highest we’ve seen in a decade or more. Why would anyone assume that JJ will become a capable bomber but LB won’t raise his D to average? Which I hope he’ll do way faster than the “pundits” say.


      • Ball’s defense is already strong in several areas, and he’s certain to become a stronger defender for the following reasons. First, he’s got excellent footwork and anticipation and length. Google the draft net videos on his D.

        Yes, he’s weak, and does poorly against power right now, but I can’t think of an area a player is more GUARANTEED to improve than gaining weight and building muscle, especially from the age of 19, and when he’s been developed as a skills player thus far.

        He’s also taller than Kidd, quite a bit, and a much better touch passer and off ball cutter and off ball player. Not to say hell be as good as Kidd, but if you could have taken Kidds defense, and dropped it to slightly above average, in exchange for shooting 38% from 3, he’d have been a MUCH better player.


      • Ok for everyone saying lonzo ball is a bigger jason kid or they are similiar. Just wow that is horrible analysis.

        First, yes both do have elite vision and see the court in creative ways, and both are big point guards that is literally where the conparison ends.

        Lonzo is a better 3 point shooter than kidd was in college. However that is about it for things lonzo does better than kidd at the same stage.

        Kidd had elite level speed when he was younger and could beat his man off the dribble at will with an elite handle and played the pnr game well as a result.. Lonzo has a slow first step and average handle which causes him to not be able to beat his man off the dribble in a 1 on 1 situation. In addition lonzo has zero in between game as a result of his shooting form which makes his jumper all but impossible to get off while being contested. And finally becuase lonzo isnt a threat to beat his man and turn the corner or pull up off the dribble he is poor in the pnr.

        Defense and rebounding arent even close since kidd was elite on both and ball is a poor defeder with awful instincts who rarely gets in a stance. Kidd was also very strong physically compared to ball who often got pushed around at the college level.

        Im not saying ball os bad he is an inteuiging prospect due to his vision and size. But he is likely not an elite nba point guard and plays literally nothing like kidd at the same stage.

        Now if you want to compare ball to mavericks jason kidd that is likely more apt.


  4. Rick in Seattle June 15, 2017 at 1:15 pm

    Some folks seem to be confused. If he had rejoined the Lakers, Jerry West would only have been a consultant, not an everyday part of the front office, What’s the issue with having another well-qualified voice on critical matters?

    However, losing his son Ryan, an up-and-coming part of the Lakers front office is a separate, but equally difficult issue to digest. I still contend that, if this happens, it will reflect poorly on the positive accomplishments of this great organization.


    • One can only assume that PJ’s opinions of Jerry West have tainted Jeanie’s perspective. We’re all aware of how insecure PJ is and used his relationship with the owners daughter as leverage to edge JW out of the picture. PJ became the more valuable asset in Dr. Buss’s mind and JW was allowed to walk.

      PJ stayed in good graces until questions began to get asked as to why he and Jeanie weren’t tying the knot. Its then that the concerns that PJ was just trying to weasel his way into control of the Lakers became apparent to Dr. Buss and Jim. That’s why there was such bad blood between PJ and Jim.

      Bottom line, had Jim reached out to JW when he took over as head of Basketball Operations (and turned the real work over to JW/Mitch) there’s a good chance that Jim is still an employee and not just an owner.


    • Clay Bertrand June 15, 2017 at 3:47 pm

      I agree. All these people worried about WHO WILL GET CREDIT for something that is such a HUGE uncertainty that any credit will EVER be due. Clearly Jerry would be another voice in the room. Albeit a voice with MORE EXPERIENCE and MORE TEAM BUILDING SUCCESS. Why is that a threat to the Team Direction or the dynamic of the FO???

      Now, as has been stated and intimated, we are not privy to the facts of the relationships with Jerry and the Lakers particularly Lakers ownership so its impossible for us to judge the entire scenario. From the outside, bringing JW back is a no brainer and a shiny PR move.

      My theory, which is obviously PURE speculation and nothing more, is that his not returning has perhaps more to do with how he left in the first place than his or the FO’s current structure/stature. The CEO of the Lakers is Jeannie Buss who was dating Phil Jackson much to Jerry’s chagrin and he left the Lakers at that time. Jerry has never been one to hold his tongue and he’s got quite a sharp one. It wouldn’t surprise me if he said something that Jeannie still holds a grudge over–something about her and Phil that she can’t forgive.

      Clearly she did empower Magic to take the reins of the FO but Magic would seem to be the type who would welcome JW in a Senior Consulting role. Did Magic himself have some sort of distancing or falling out from JW??? Is Magic’s ego really that big??? Did Pelinka have input on the matter???

      SOMETHING is missing here and we will likely never know what it is.

      All I can say is if/WHEN JW bags another whale and brings Lebron to the Clippers next year, Magic, Rob, Jeannie can all take CREDIT for that move.


    • Clay Bertrand June 15, 2017 at 3:49 pm

      “….I’m thrilled that I was wanted. I’m thrilled that they thought I could help and I’m hopeful that I can.”

      – Jerry West upon accepting FO role with the Clippers (ugh)


  5. Do you believe the Lakers may actually be considering a trade which would allow them to draft both Ball & Jackson?


  6. I personally don’t care about Jerry at this point. He’s obviously for sale to the highest bidder, with loyalty not a concern. We don’t know true the insider reasons why he left the Lakers. We can assume, yet nothing is known except he goes where the the money is; which to me is more telling than anything.

    At his age and price tag, let the Clippers have him.
    The Clippers will always be the Clippers, no matter who they hire.


    • Loyalty is a two-way street, though. If the Lakers don’t want Jerry why shouldn’t he go where he wants?
      Jerry West is a genius, and if his son goes with him then the Lakers lose even more. I think the Lakers dropped the ball on this one.


      • Yes, he does go where he wants, and would not have been surprised if he went to the Celts, as money has been proven to be his primary motivation.

        Loyalty, is proven by what you do, not how much you get paid.

        There are plenty of people who have had conflicts with the Lakers heads, who still remained loyal, like Magic for example.

        Speaking of Magic, since his arrival, we have several top notch stars leaning our way, from Lillard, to George and Even Lebron.

        The old connections are dead, West is a relic of the past; a past is long gone.

        These yearnings for the old days for West and Jackson will hold us back from what is going on today, and the hope of tomorrow.


  7. Hard to figure out what JW still wants at 80,having just left a champion org,and having won multiple titles. The loss of Ryan will hurt,but the solution as with all off court personnel is go out and hire the best people,with proven records of success


  8. I love how the Debbie downers are in full force about Jerry West. A couple months ago everyone was happy about Pelinka and new management. Now y’all are upset about “losing” an 80 year old that was never even here to begin with. I think we are all happy with the direction and vision of the new regime, let’s slow down the “we need Jerry” train.

    He gets credit for everything like he was a one man show.

    Lakers don’t need too many voices right now, and they also don’t need a background consultant.


    • Clay Bertrand June 15, 2017 at 8:45 pm

      To me, Its not just losing out on some token part of our history. Its not about who deserves credit. Jerry West wasn’t perfect (He loved Frankie King for example) but he is a way above average basketball mind. What’s worse, in this scenario, we are also losing his son who WAS our most senior FO guy. Its not a NECESSITY that we have Jerry. If you call it a net positive to NOT have him as well as Ryan West, I’d like to see the reasoning for that position.

      So now, mid offseason, the Lakers ALSO need to continue to hire into their FO on the fly?? Who are they going to get to fit into this FO as seamlessly as a guy who was raised on the Laker brand and the ways the ownership operates?? Keep in mind although Pelinka and Magic are probably (hopefully) very capable, the Experience in the room is less now. These guys are still at it for the first time in their lives as FO guys.

      What was the harm in bringing in Jerry West, (who Durant credited with recruiting him) and retaining his son along with some semblance of continuity in the Player Personnel dept.??

      My main thing isn’t that its some fatal loss or that it was NECESSARY/REQUIRED to bring JW back. Rather that bringing him back appeared to be simple enough and retaining Ryan is something I think the franchise really wanted to do. As it is, they are losing FO talent NOT gaining it. Its a Net Loss.

      Can they replace Ryan West?? Of course. But why is it smart NOT to hoard talent evaluators and people of influence who players respect?? Especially for a FO that is so inexperienced, why not retain everyone you can and add to the brain trust???

      This was bigger than just having some old man give his opinion on a draft pick or two. Its about continuing to rebuild the Lakers cachet and restore the league wide confidence in an FO that couldn’t draw flies much less elite FA talent under Jim and Mitch.

      I haven’t seen ANY terms of this Clipper deal to suggest financial considerations are the reason the Lakers would not be interested or that JW is just gravy training for more money in an end-of-his-career money grab as has been suggested above.

      The guy lives in L.A. and he wanted to work here in his chosen field to wind up his career. He wants to be respected and wanted and he adds a certain rare legitimacy to an organization that goes beyond just scouting players. He could ONLY have been an asset for the Lakers FO. Now he will be someone else’s asset in a league where such assets are finite AND he is taking his son, our young FO talent with him to a division, conference, city, and intra-arena rival. Its a crappy reality.

      For all the comments about Jerry being 80 yrs old, the Lakers still have a 90 year old Bill Bertka as a coach. Luke didn’t tell the team he didn’t need him around. Wisdom should always be an asset to accumulate.

      Its not the absolute “THEY’LL NEVER RECOVER FROM THIS” Debbie Downer end of the world. But its NOT a good look and it didn’t have to go down this way. First Elgin and now Jerry.

      Here’s hoping the revamped scouting department is seasoned and ready to make their own mark without the Wests. They could both have been a real help IMO.


    • Preach on brother!! Is ridiculous, like bringing geriatric Jerry West is going to make the Lakers a contender next season. Magic and Jeannie know him for decades. They must have their reasons not to bring him back. Stopnworriying about “pr” moves. Im more concerned with basketball moves.


      • Clay Bertrand June 18, 2017 at 1:31 pm

        “…like bringing geriatric Jerry West is going to make the Lakers a contender next season.”

        I don’t think ANYONE here is trying to sell THAT idea. You need to read everyone’s posts on the topic for full context. You are missing the big picture here IMO. The PR is not just for fans……..its for the rest of the league too. Its for the agents and the other players and for other GMs to see. Its not BOWLING WITH WORTHY fan grab.

        Rebuilding the organizational clout in the league IS A BASKETBALL MOVE. We can already see what a change in FO with Magic is doing for the attractiveness of the franchise for FAs.

        I and others have already admitted there are hidden aspects of the situation that we may never know. Its just seems if it came down to mere pettiness, that would be a pity.


        • So having Magic freaking Johnson running the team is not enough clout. Jerry hasn’t work for the Lakers for 17 years and if my memory serves the Lakers won several championships withouth him. And Ryan West was a assistant gm for the old regime and even then he didn’t had the last word on anything. He made scouting recomendations to the people that actually made the decisions. My best guess is that he lost power within the organization. Sorry to see him go but because he’s the son of Jerry that doesn’t make him Jerry. Seems like the Clippers are the place where all the Lakers rejects and disgruntled bitter ex executives go. Don’t get me wrong, it would be nice to have Jerry on some ceremonial post but the new FO needs to stand on its own 2 feet.


  9. No matter how you slice it – this West thing does not look good. Jerry West should have made the Lakers his final stop. He should have wanted that and the Lakers should have wanted that. It is comical to think that we have too much talent in the FO to make room for Jerry – the best GM of all time. Not having room for the best GM is almost as bad as not having room for the best coach of all time (which of course we did in 2012). Ryan West was certainly the only bright spot in a dismal FO performance over the past few years. So if we pass on Jerry and lose Ryan, then Magic and Rob will need to start putting up some FO results. As everyone knows I hated Jim Buss, and loved to see the new regime come in. However, if this new regime feels they do not need the Wests, then I guess they got this. I will be waiting.


    • Keep in mind Magic and Jeanie just fired the guy who had been Jerry West’s heir apparent/heir in Mitch Kupchak. We can’t rule out the possibility that that move could also have been a negative dynamic or concern tied to any talk of bringing The Logo back into the fold.

      That said, the Clippers near term are going to face cap issues — significant ones — given the mess that Doc has created there, coupled by the looming contract questions with Paul and Griffin. Yes, it helps to have a savvy hand guide you through the minefield, but so long as there are mines around there’s only so much room in which to dance. I just don’t see Jerry’s influence being able to move the needle as much as some believe he will for the Clippers. Not over the next few years, anyway. And Ballmer’s big focus near term will be to stay relevant long enough to get a new arena. If West helps him achieve that, it’s money well spent.

      The 2017 Lakers are in a different situation, however. Jerry West was as good a GM as there was in the NBA, but he’s never held that title under the post-2011 CBA. It’s a dramatically different landscape than in the Dr. Buss heyday, when the L.A. mystique, best media exposure and ability to pay top dollar made L.A. the preferred landing spot for many players. Given today’s landscape — where free agents can make top dollar and become a global brand in Oklahoma or Minneapolis, Pelinka is likely poised to better navigate today’s NBA business environment. The Lakers have a young core, some money to spend and another high draft pick. The future’s bright, with or without Jerry West.

      Like others, I’m more upset over the likely loss of Ryan, but it’s not an earthquake-level setback.


      • Like I said above, he has been consulting for a team that is one of the greatest in the history of the league, their rise coincides with his presence there, and he would have been brought back to the Lakers as…a consultant. So the fact that he has not been a GM under the new CBA is largely irrelevant.

        The key part of the late part of West’s run as Lakers GM was building up the talent base after Magic was forced to retire, which set the team up to land Shaq and acquire Kobe. The current Lakers need to try to get set up for a similar sort of play, so West’s 90s exp. might well have been very helpful.

        So, I suspect that this came down to interpersonal stuff, and given that the team is 91-237 since Kobe went down, I am not seeing that as a persuasive argument against having a skilled and experienced voice at the table.


      • Rick in Seattle June 16, 2017 at 9:53 am

        Yes, the mess that Doc has created is in need of an overhaul. if the owner is objective in giving the West’s some power to make changes, we may just see some big changes this summer.

        I am not amused or impressed by teams that hire a coach, who is also President of Basketball Operations. I can name three teams where this is not working well.
        Clippers, Pistons & TimberWolves. Keep your coaching and front office separate. Just seems to work better because each has different (& sometime competing) responsibilities. .

        Again, if Balmer is serious about improving the team, the West’s may have an opportunity to make some significant change. This is an important summer for the Clippers. With the free agency of Paul & Griffin, a lot can happen. Lets see what influence the West’s can have in that organization. I am not a Clippers fan, but this should be interesting to watch nevertheless.


  10. 91-237 Post Achilles?!!! That is not the golden ratio.

    I haven’t listened to this podcast yet but compliments to how you all have improved every release and is now among those I am always glad to see pop up in the feed.


  11. The Lakers need a stretch PF who can play D. They need a PG who can stop perimeter penetration in their defense. They need an athletic big man who can guard true centers while running small ball. They need 2 way players. They need guys who can cause defenses to break to free up other players.

    For now I will just consider draft options. Regardless of fit you want the best player available. The consensus is that Fultz is that guy. He looks a lot like Russell but, with more athleticism. Russell has struggled with guading the many quick NBA pg’s in the league. Fultz may have just enough to get that job done. Russell moves over to SG and you see how things go. If Fultz is on the board this looks like the safest bet there is.

    Unfortunately after Fultz there is no clear BPA and the Lakers won the 2nd pick in the draft. So we must consider the fit, pros, cons, likely floor and possible ceiling of each option.

    There are guys in this draft who could fill a need for the Lakers at Center or PF but, I don’t feel they rise to the quality of player found at other positions available this high up in the draft. So I will eliminate them by virtue of best player available.

    First up will be the most widely expected 2nd pick Lonzo Ball. In Ball we have a guy who has a single transcendant skill that shines brightly his ability to pass the ball. This is much like Okafor who had a post-up game that drew great attention. His flaws however, were down played. Any Laker fan who has watched Russell play should be aware of the problems a tall PG, with long arms who rebounds pretty well, who doesn’t have great speed can have while playing defense. Lonzo’s floor is very likely much lower than Russell’s as he does not have anywhere near Russell’s shooting stroke. I do not see Lonzo Ball likely fixing any of the Lakers current problems. Like Okafor he is better left falling upon the Sixers.

    Next up is Josh Jackson. Jackson has a really high floor. He is a 2 way player who would could gaurd virtually anyone. That’s pretty good. However, he lacks good shooting mechanics to space the floor which is problematic in his likley positions at SF or SG. He also has a questionable temperament after he kicked in a car door in an incident. He also overlaps the spots best filled by Iangram and Russell and if he was clearly the BPA this might be something you live with he isn’t. At the end of the day I would support this pick but, as this post continues I do not think he is the best option.

    Dennis Smith Jr. checks off all the boxes I could possibly want out of a PG on offense. He has an NBA ready body with elite athleticism and speed. He can break down defenses to get his own shot. He is a capable decision maker with the ball and can hit 3’s. His defense holds him back from being ranked higher. He doesn’t have great length and can lack intensity on this end of the court. I think he would be an upgrade in this regard over Russell in this area just because of his athleticism. I think Smith would be a great fit but, defense is important to earning court time and there is a better option.

    The guy I would draft is De’Aaron Fox. Another two way player who plays excellent defense and has an explosive first step wrecking havoc on opposing defenses. He is by all acounts a great leaader on and off the court. His weakest point is his lack of a reliable 3pt shot as well as a poor catch and shoot. I’ve read many unfair comparisons to Elfrid Payton and Mudiay as those players were very poor free throw shooters. Fox is an over 70 percent free throw shooter which is an indication his future shooting will very likley improve and is infact a better free throw shooter than Ball. Another concern often cited is his need to have the ball in his hands while playing with high usage players on the Lakers. However Russell and Ingram high usage numbers came mostly from the need to initiate the offense. They are both perfectly capable playing off the ball as well and having a guy like Fox would only mean that it is no longer necessary for them to handle the ball as much. The one exception I would note is Randle who tends to go into iso play far too much. Fox balances out a Lakers roster that has plenty of guys who are capabe of making the pass and or finishing but, need that guy who can create opportunities by breaking down defenses. At the same time he provides excellent defense to stop the hemoraging perimeter defense allowing the defense towork better as a whole. It allows Russell to move over to SG where his underated defense is not handicapped trying to chase down quick point guards and allows him to flourish as an offensive weapon. Fox provides a fix to many of the Lakers current problems and has sky high potential to become even greater.

    For the Houston pick the options are endless but I would like to highlight one likely option Sindarius Thornwell. I would like the Lakers to go with a Senior player who is more polished rather than a very raw project. Thornwell is a capable 3 and D guy with a high IQ and another high character player. He might be a smidge slower than some other guys but, given his strong grasp of the game and likely being asked to be role player I like this guy. He should be able to contribute right away and keep pace with the rest of the Lakers core.


    • Lonzo’s passing skills have led to comparisons to Magic and Kidd. Okafor has a solid post game, but nobody was comparing him to Olajuwon or Shaq.


      • I think Ball could possibly be the next Kidd. A big rebounding PG who can push the ball and sees the floor. That would be a nice ceiling. However, Ball has also been compared to a former Laker who averaged close to 9 assists per game and shot about 40% from the 3 pt line. That would be Kendall Marshall and represents a fairly low floor. The problem I see with Ball is that I don’t see his college success translating that well at the NBA level. He basically doesn’t shoot any 2’s besides lay-ups as that low release he has would get blocked. NBA defenders are very good so I don’t think he can even get that shot off from the 3pt line unless he is standing wide open. He doesn’t handle screens well, something like 30% of his pick and roll plays result in a turnover, he can’t defend quick PG’s clealry shown when playing Fox but, that was a general problem for him in general and in today’s NBA unlike durring Kidd’s days there are alot of quick PG’s out there today. So yes there is the Potential for Ball to be the next KIdd but I see a very strong possibility he could be the next Marshall. Ball is an extremely risky pick and I just don’t see it as a necesary gamble.


    • Rick in Seattle June 16, 2017 at 10:33 am

      Nice assessment Vasheed. I’d just like to add a few additional comments.

      1) I think there is a growing possibility that Boston picks Jackson, which leaves the Lakers with Fultz. Yes, I have similar concerns that he is too similar to Russell.

      2) The next group (Ball included) are fairly equal. That might give the Lakers an opportunity (I’ve made this point repeatedly) to trade down one or two spots in order to get a good player as well as additional compensation.

      3) Russell & Clarkson are combo guards. While both were drafted as PG’s, each can play as well at SG, as we saw last season. That gives the team some flexibility in who they select at the guard position.

      4) If the team chooses to keep Deng for another year, he is likely to be better suited to spend the majority of his time at PF (which is already a crowded position). However, with MWP & Young unlikely to return, Ingram and Brewer are the only SF’s. That is mostly why this club can use another good wing player, if Jackson is gone. Tatum is a much better shooter than Jackson. Let’s see if Tatum can impress in his upcoming Lakers workout.

      5) With all of the discussion on the top 5-6 players, I really hope the FO has not lost focus on the Deng & Mozgov contracts. Removing at least one is critical IMO.

      6) It seems ever more likely that Clarkson & Randle will be offered in trade either at the draft or during the summer.

      7) Finally, I like the new discussion about being willing to consider trades for the #2 pick. It makes me wonder why it took this long to develop. With the quality of players available at the top of the draft (and with the Lakers needing multiple assets going forward), trading down makes a lot of sense. If the Lakers could somehow come away with a two for 1, would that not be a plus? Jayson Tatum & Dennis Smith anyone?


      • Fultz is Russell with a much better motor and without the ‘too cool for school’ attitude. Fultz will drive through traffic and dunk in your face. Russell doesn’t drive and does not like contact (as witnessed by his very low FT rate). Thankfully, Russell has a very sweet jump shot.

        I think Fultz and Russell would complement each other nicely. They would become the Wall/Beal back court of the Western Conference — which is to say that they will be on the very short lists of the best tandems in the league. Fultz is a home run pick.


      • I pretty much agree with Mattal. I really like Russell and Fultz is like Russelll 2.0. I think the pairing would work.


  12. – Jerry West is arguably the most important Laker of all time and should have retired a Laker. If we were still in the Jimbo era, the news of West going to the Clippers would have been devastating, and I would have been the first to whip out my pitchfork. With Magic and Pelinka at the helm, the news is still disappointing, but a much easier pill to swallow.

    – What’s going to happen when Jerry West tells Doc Rivers that Austin Rivers is getting too many minutes and that re-signing him for big money when his contract expires is a foolish move?


  13. A Horse With No Name June 15, 2017 at 9:35 pm

    Another thing here to consider is that Ryan West has had aspirations on becoming the next laker GM. He was widely seen as a likely heir to Kupchak, but with the firing of his mentor and removal of Jim Buss from basketball ops the way up was less certain. The hiring of Pelinka sealed the deal: Ryan wasn’t going to get that opportunity for the foreseeable future.

    No surprise then, that he is rumored to be joining Jerry on the clipper ship. It’s the right move for him. FWIW, I have high hopes for Pelinka (as long as Magic stays out of the way). He’s bright, successful and makes things happen. It’s also said that he has a keen eye for talent. We shall see.


  14. Vasheed- great writeup. I’m down with Fox. I think that makes maybe 3 of us that feel that way.


  15. Thanks for the podcast analysis and great comments. In a straight draft, I’m confident that we choose Lonzo. Even after all the curves (and even a few spitballs), I think Lonzo still ends up a Laker by the end of the draft, but there may be surprises.

    Whatever happens in the draft will only be the beginning of a team building process. I think that the Lakers are in a powerful bargaining position.


  16. I suspect that the Lakers consider Ball to be the top player in this year’s draft, and are going through inordinate efforts to throw shade at their own draft board, while saying the right things during due diligence. Still, their actions expose the truth; the extra meeting with Janie, long meeting with the UCLA staff, even bringing in UCLA teammates (was Bryce Alford brought in for his chance to make the team while not even top-100 ranked or as gesture to UCLA and for intel about how UCLA functioned with LB?), the second workout, leaking doubt and negatives like conditioning to get a scare into Lonzo’s camp (thus preemptively putting LaVar in his place and confuse other FO’s)- these are indicators that while Boston has not committed to Fultz, the pick could be used to get Ball at #1, so if I am the Lakers these are exactly the things I’d be doing to conceal the plan.


    • Boy, was I wrong. Reports that Magic loved Fultz but even adding Randle wasn’t enough to move up.


  17. If MF and LB are taken as #1-2, the best available point/lead guard for Philly may be…DLo! He has some warts but also a ton of promise, is probably a better NBA shooter than any of the top pick candidates in 2017 draft, and Ben Simmons’ best friend and high school sidekick. Philly correctly has concerns as to how well anyone they pick for the back court will mesh with Simmons, bringing an extra level of risk in their selection. DAR’s also two years into his timeline and better matches the Philly core of Simmons and Embiid. Honestly, I would not trade him to Philly for the #3, but if our FO likes another prospect in addition to Ball, that’s how to get it done.


  18. A Horse With No Name June 16, 2017 at 12:24 pm

    Here’s probably the best article nervous laker fans could read right now. Trudell’s interview with Jesse Buss is awesome. Trudell asks great questions about the draft process and decision making. A very well organized process that focuses on collaboration. No one person is the “decider.” (Whew!) I came away impressed with Jesse Buss–and that’s a great thing. If I’m understanding Jesse, it sounds like they are pretty certain on the #2 pick . . .



  19. You guys realize that defense can be taught and developed, and that what you see at 19 is not what you get as a fully formed NBA player a couple years down the road?

    Who would you rather draft? Curry, Lillard, Harden, McCollum, Westbrook, or…….Patrick Beverly? Relax with the “doesn’t play D” argument. We are drafting talent and +/- potential. Not perimeter D as a 19 year old. It’s not like Beverly shuts down any of these PG’s anyway, so….. 😉


    • A Horse With No Name June 16, 2017 at 3:20 pm

      Would you rather draft Butler or Leonard and teach them to shoot?


      • Specious. Considering your examples, since Butler went 30th and Leonard with 15th the 28th pick is more valuable than the 2nd?


    • Westbrook who was elite at both and had potential as a defender. Ball has a weak base and slow feat meaning he is unlikely to have the physical ability to guard point guards.


    • The we can train him argument his how super athlettes with no skills go as high in the draft as they do. Guys get better with training but it helps a lot to be hard wired for it. Also typically the holy grail is to get a guy who is good at both ends of the court. It is what separates the Superstars from the Allstars.


  20. Thanks Horse. Great interview.


  21. Jerry West went to the Clippers. Big deal for real. He’s 80 and does anyone think that Doc Rivers is going to relinquish his hold on that team?He is going to get a cushy consultant job and sent out to pasture.This is a pure pr move If Ryan joins his father is going to be the real blow. But its not the end of the world either.He is a promosing young exec but is not like he was part of the decision making. The Lakers will be fine. I think the FO is in good hands. It is what it is. Reports are saying that Josh Jackson work out went down like a fart in church. So i hope that be the end of that. I think the Lakers are shopping the pick around because they aren’t impressed with no one. Dlo was drafted because he killed it during workouts same as Julius. I wouldnt be surprised at all if the Lakers trade it during Draft night. Who the Lakers really want is Markelle Fultz.


    • Clay Bertrand June 18, 2017 at 1:20 pm

      “If Ryan joins his father is going to be the real blow. But its not the end of the world either.He is a promosing young exec but is not like he was part of the decision making.”

      What?? Ryan West is NOT part of the decision making??? Hm. Okayyyy…..if you say so…….


  22. The plot thickens. From an article that the Celtics and Sixers are involved in talks about trading the #1 pick:

    Lakers also vying for Fultz at No. 1?

    Jonathan Givony of Draft Express is reporting that Fultz “murdered” (in a good way) his workout with the Lakers Thursday, and that team is also now very interested in trading up to the top spot to nab the offensively gifted guard. Givony speculated that Los Angeles might offer the Celtics forward Julius Randle, the seventh overall pick in 2014, plus their No. 2 pick this year. The added he was told Josh Jackson’s second workout with the Lakers “did not go well at all.”
    We are in for a wild last six days leading up to the draft!


  23. Now this whole Lakers rumors makes sense. Looks like they want Boston to think they’re taking JJ.
    I’m skeptical of a Fultz-Simmons-Embiid starting line-up, especially when two of them will be ROY material. One of these guys is bound to end unhappy.


  24. I understand why the Celts would trade their #1 1st round choice, but I don’t understand why the 76ers would offer more to draft Fultz than to trade for Dlo. As a Laker, I wouldn’t consider less than this year’s 3rd and our 2018 1st round. Rumors have them offering more than that for Fultz.

    It will be very interesting to compare rumors like this with what goes down during the actual draft.


    • The 76ers desperately need a top-flight guard to go with Simmons & Embiid – Fultz is a better long-term prospect than Russell (who still has defensive question-marks).

      Boston may trade their #3 for the Kings #5 & #10. Then they are in a position to trade those + a 2018 #1 pick for Butler. Maybe they take Jackson, but they already have Brown; therefore I see them making this trade now so they have time to line up the trade with Sacto and then Chicago. Now Chicago can tell them who to draft at #5 & #10 and make the trade after Boston signs Hayward in July. IMO – I see this as Ainge’s ultimate plan.


  25. So many rumors and smokescreens this time of year. This year it seems even wilder than normal. In this proposed Bos-Phi deal, it seems like Philly would be giving up a lot but the word is now that there will be “complicated protections” on all the picks. Still, Sam Hinkie has to be squirming watching the Colangelo Crime Family piss away all of his accumulated draft picks. Don’t they know about trusting the PROCESS???????

    If the Celtics trade with Philly nets them the Lakers 2018 First Rounder as is rumored, DannyBoy had better trade that pick for Butler ASAP!!!!!!!!!!!! The 2017-18 Lakers won’t be tanking anymore and Mozgov and Deng will be playing not sitting on the bench. The GLOVES will be OFFFFF!!!!!!!!

    Ideally, with a possibly much weakened Jazz team and some other lucky breaks, the Lakers can slip into the Playoffs delivering the Celtics a non lottery pick they didn’t envision and making the Best laid plans of mice and Ainge go astray!!!!!

    Playoffs AND screwing over the Celtics w a non lotto pick???? Yes PLEASE!!!

    Buck Foston!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Disclaimer: After 2 strong IPAs (in the morning no less), its a lot easier to see this scenario happening. Optimism is apparently a main ingredient in Stone Beer.

    Gonna be a fun week!!! GO LAKERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


    • The 2017-18 Lakers won’t be tanking anymore and Mozgov and Deng will be playing not sitting on the bench. The GLOVES will be OFFFFF!!!!!!!!

      Playing Mozgov/Deng laid the foundation of the 2016/17 tank.


      • Rick in Seattle June 18, 2017 at 9:36 am

        You are correct, Anonymous. There will be no more benefit to tank, and the team this fall should resume full-on win mode.

        Not sure about the Deng-Mozgov contributions. More than likely they will remain with the team for another season. Once half of their 4-yr contracts are up next summer (and 2018 free agency is in full swing) perhaps they will be easier to trade.

        Until then we can call them ‘veteran mentors’ to make their presence more tolerable,


      • The statement regarding the gloves being off because DENGOV would be getting floor time was facetious.


  26. For all of our envy of the Celtics Picture Perfect rebuild and cache of draft assets, I still can’t shake the feeling that Ainge will somehow overplay his hand. Could just be my blind hatred of him and his team. The Celtics are in a darn good position on the court and APPEAR ON PAPER to be in an even better position organizationally with all of the stashed Euros and high draft picks the next couple of years.

    Ainge can totally still screw this up though. I can FEEL it.


    • I’d like to think so too but Ainge has already built a champ as all us Lakers fans know all too well. Hate to admit it, but he’s building something MUCH stronger this time around. The loathsome Celtics are in such a good position it would be hard to screw up, barring injury and/or the myriad frailties of human nature.


  27. And the leprechauns have traded the #1 pick. I hope whoever Ainge selects turns out to be a bust and hope Fultz becomes a star. Ainge is playing a dangerous game, but continues to hedge his bets. We’ll see how it turns out.

    Should be an interesting core the Sixers have when they ultimately draft Fultz. Definitely a lot of potential. Now they’ll need to find some shooters.

    At this point, hoping we are able to draft Lonzo and call it the end of the day. No need to do anything fancy.


    • He is bold, i have to give him that, but im more curious about the Sixers, i guess “The process” might work out after all. Thats some young talent…


  28. The new Lakers Regime has been trying to make moves and being aggressive and people are already complaining. Inexperienced or not our new regime is a force and has a lot of clout, and they are being proactive. And im hearing a lot of whining and complaining already
    . Let them work!!!!!


    • Fern, not meaning to be sarcastic, but what aggressive moves have the FO made beyond replacing training and analytics people and speaking various words?
      Nothing that really stands out as anything special, IMO.
      They have worked out various top prospects, but even Kupchak/Buss would have done that …
      I wish to emphasize this is not a criticism of them, because it’s early yet, but there’s not a lot to point to, either.


      • Agressive in the desire to turn the team around.How we ended up with that valuable 28 pick when the Lakers didn’t had a pick at all in the first round? Im positive that the old regime would’ve sit on their hands on the trade deadline and make zero moves. Sorry but that was impressive and agressive They havent done anything major personel wise because the season just ended right? So i dont understand such and early criticism.


        • Well again I emphasized I wasn’t criticizing them for not making major personnel moves, for exactly the reason you mentioned. And, yes, no doubt swapping Lou Williams for the 28th pick was a wise move.
          Likewise, the previous FO essentially purchased J Clarkson and converted a guy who will never play in this league into Larry Nance Jr + a one year rental of J Lin.
          So I stand by my remark that nothing special has happened so far on the new FO tour of duty. And again: yes, it’s early.


  29. Ainge may be playing a dangerous game with his draft strategy, but the fact is the Celtics had enough talent to win the East’s No. 1 seed. Only three teams won more games this past season, and they then had a nice playoff run, as well. Bottom line, Ainge has leeway with this year’s draft.

    Not for basketball reasons as I have no clue which of these guys will be studs or duds, but I laugh at the possibility that the Sixers draft Fultz, the Lakers take Jackson and the Celtics are then left to pick Ball. I can’t think of a worse situation for that blowhard Laval than to see his son go to a team he must despise (if he’s the avowed Lakers fan he claims to be), and land in a place where Lonzo likely won’t start and isn’t overly necessary.

    For myriad reasons I doubt it happens, but the scenario makes for a funny bit of comeuppance — at least as much as any 19-year-old becoming an instant millionaire can be viewed as a comeuppance, of course.


  30. Still waiting for FBG to chime in here.


  31. Why has Boston always played these draft games and we Lakers stand still? I hate Boston but guys these assets are real.


  32. This is my 3rd attempt at trying to post. Why is everything being blocked?


  33. Clay Bertrand June 18, 2017 at 1:00 pm

    “George’s desire to join the Lakers has massive repercussions on the free-agent market in 2018. ”

    Damn right!! Lebron will soon follow……..

    You see Jim, this is how its done. ; )


  34. Adrian Wojnarowski?Verified account @WojVerticalNBA 1h1 hour ago
    Sources: All-Star Paul George tells Pacers he plans to leave franchise in 2018 free agency, prefers Lakers.


  35. I liked the discussion about Jerry West at the end of the podcast. It caught me off guard and got me thinking about the consequences of seeing West go to the Clippers. It seems to put in question Jeanie Buss’s devotion to all things Lakers. Eventually the story behind the scenes will come out but in the meantime the optics are pretty bad. It looks like Magic and Pelinka will do just fine although this draft could change that perception. If either of the picks struggles, there will be endless chatter about what would Jerry have done.


  36. In more important news. Paul George informed the Pacers that he will become a free agent after next season and he prefers to go to the Lakers. It’s oficial!!


  37. So PG wants to come to the Lakers and WE hold all the cards this time around. With PG informing the Pacers that he won’t return and expressing his preference to go to the Lakers he has stripped the Pacers of any leverage. Something is going to happen. I can feel it in my bones.


  38. Rick in Seattle June 18, 2017 at 4:01 pm

    “Lakers don’t currently intend to trade for Paul George” Man if that’s not a fuzzy statement coming out odf the Lakers FO. But, looking at it from another angle, perhaps its just the first step in ‘negotiating’ an agreeable trade with Indy.

    Wouldn’t it be worth Mozgov (or Deng) and the 28th pick to make the trade now rather than have this issue festering over the next 12 months”?

    Unless there are some other trade possibilities that are pending that we don’t know
    about (e.g. a Mozgov & Randle trade to BRK for Brook Lopez)???

    But, if nothing else pending, why not a 3-team trade with Indy/Cleveland/Lakers, where Lakers end up with K Love? Might be worth it to Cleveland, as a 1-year rental, if it gets them another title.

    With Love and eventually PG, Lakers would be in pretty decent shape.

    But, for Cleveland, would it not make sense to roll the dice and trade for Carmello?
    with Love as the bait?

    Lots of drama! The next 3-4 weeks should be very interesting.


    • Word is that the Lakers would not part with any of the young guys in a PG trade. Why would they? Looks like Indiana is looking to trade him now and get something in return. Most probably is going to be a rental. The Lakers need to stay put. He probably going to be a rental and we get him next summer without giving anything away. If we can trade for Mozgov or Deng pull the trigger!!! LOL but Indiana aint that dumb…


  39. If we were to trade the #28 pick + for PG — or even if we didn’t trade the #28 pick — how about this?

    Buy either Philly’s #46 and/or #50 pick (they have #36 and #39 already and their young core shouldn’t be getting younger), then draft 1 or 2 of the following…
    Wesley Iwundu
    Sterling Brown
    P.J. Dozier
    Sndarius Thornwell

    This gives us some long-armed wings to put around our group of Clarkson/Ball/Russell/Nwaba.


  40. The Cavs are triying to trade for PG13 knowing damn well it’s going to be a renta and that he wants to come to the Lakersl. Why would the Lakers trade for him?


  41. Jerry West is my idol. Is there a possibility that he may not want to join the Lakers in the first place? Maybe he was just jabbing Jennie in a subtle way by stirring up fans’ anger toward the Buss kids.