In the latest episode of the Laker Film Room Podcast, me and Pete are joined by Anthony Irwin, Harrison Faigen, and Ben Rosales for a crossover pod with Locked on Lakers.

We talk all things NBA Draft and give analysis on the Lakers’ picks, discuss the D’Angelo Russell trade a bit more, and get into general team building questions to further breakdown what roles we expect from some of the guys as the roster starts to change.

This was a good conversation with some diverse opinions that I really enjoyed. Click through to listen to the entire episode.

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When friend of the site and video producer extraordinaire LD2K comes out of “retirement” to drop a Lonzo Ball gem, of course I’m going to show it some love here at FB&G. Happy to present – The Ball Prophecy: Rise of the Lakers:

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After Thursday’s NBA draft, Lakers’ General Manager Rob Pelinka spoke to the press about the selections the team made and what his plans for the future would be. At one point, when speaking about the D’Angelo Russell trade, Pelinka pivoted to wanting to maintain cap flexibility in order to sign two max level free agents in the future.

This prompted ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne to ask the following question:

The ability to add two max salaried guys, that’s thinking big; that’s swinging big. And they did that here once, what makes you think you can actually get those guys?

Rather than transcribe Pelinka’s answer, which was quite long, I think I can summarize it thusly: with Magic now at the head of basketball ops, there’s a new energy in the building that inspires a sense of confidence. Pelinka noted that this feeling isn’t just limited to the team, its staff, etc, but could be felt during the pre-draft workout process via prospects giving off a vibe of wanting to play for the Lakers; to wanting to be a part of where this organization is going. Pelinka also gets the sense this is true of players around the league and, via conversations and anecdotally, he believes the new energy and believing positively in what they’re doing is going to work out for them.

If this sounds somewhat familiar, it should.

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With an officially unofficial trade of D’Angelo Russell hanging in the wind, the Lakers entered Thursday’s NBA draft with three draft picks — their own at #2, the Nets (via Boston) at #27, and the Rockets’ at #28. By the end of the night, they’d end up with four picks, swapping #28 for the Jazz’s selections at #30 and #42. (They’d also finalize the Russell deal, which, for the life of me I still don’t understand the delay in announcement. Oh well.)

With those four picks the Lakers made some smart selections, focusing on players who not only possess good character and work ethic, but who project to be able to fill specific roster needs via emerging (or already established) skills. A brief recap:

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After trading the #28 pick for the #30 and #42 picks, the Lakers selected University of Indiana C Thomas Bryant at #42. Bryant, a sophomore big man, averaged 12.6 points and 6.6 rebounds a game in a solid season individually (but one that did not have a lot of team success for the Hoosiers).

I am by no means an expert on Bryant, but the first thing that stands out to me when looking at his profile and watching some clips on him are his physical tools and how that translates to his game. Simply put, at nearly 6’11 and 248 pounds with a 7’6″ wingspan and a 9’4.5″ standing reach, this guy has an NBA physique that allowed him to overpower college athletes offensively and impact the game defensively.

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After trading the #28 pick to the Utah Jazz for the #30 and #42 picks, the Lakers selected Villanova SG Josh Hart at #30.

Hart, at 22 years old and 4 year player at ‘Nova, offers a complete skill set, good size (6’5″, 209 pounds, and a 6’8″ wingspan), high character, and a reputation as a “winner” for his contributions to the 2016 NCAA Championship Wildcats team. Last season Hart also pulled off a nice double-double by being named the player and defensive player of year for the Big East while also being named as a 3rd Team All-American.

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With the 27th pick — aka the pick the team got as part of the D’Angelo Russell trade — the Lakers selected University of Utah PF Kyle Kuzma.

I’d be lying if said I knew much about Kuzma, but he’s got good physical tools — measuring at 6’9″ with a 7′ wingspan. At a little over 220 pounds, he’s not the bulkiest player, but he’s labeled as a smooth athlete who has a rangy offensive game with some real defensive ability.

Kuzma has some “stretch” potential at PF, but will need to improve on his 32.1% from distance he posted last season in college. Where he can excel, however, is as a ball mover the half court and as a finisher in transition leveraging his quickness and athleticism to change ends quickly. Per scouting reports, he’s a good passer and a plus rebounder averaging 2.4 assists and 9 rebounds a game last season.

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While there were plenty of rumors about the Lakers exploring other options and lots of due diligence done, the Lakers did what so many had predicted they would do when they kept their pick at the NBA’s draft lottery last month: they drafted Lonzo Ball.

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