This is the inaugural post from new contributor Caleb Cottrell. Caleb is currently a student at Indiana Wesleyan University, where he plays tennis. In his own words: “I enjoy torturing myself by trying to get into the minds of the Lakers front office. You can also find my work at HawksHoop, and can tell me how wrong I am on Twitter @Caleb_Cottrell.” Today Caleb will look at trading up in the NBA draft.
With just days until the 2015 NBA draft there has been plenty of speculation as to who the Los Angeles Lakers will pick with the number two overall pick in the draft. Obviously this is a big deal because their pick can become a franchise cornerstone for years to come. However, they have two other very important picks in the draft with numbers 27 and 34, respectively. These picks can be incredibly important, as well, because every team needs good role players. It seems, however, that the Lakers are going to just miss out on a a good tier of players with their other two picks, unless there is a surprise pick or two.
Personally, there are five tiers in the first round for me, and the fifth tier starts at pick 27. Of course, that’s the pick the Lakers have, so it seems like the best option would be to trade their last two picks to go into the fourth, or even third tier, depending on which teams are looking to move back.
Eric Pincus of the LA Times has stated that the Lakers aren’t really looking to add much more youth to their roster after bringing in Jordan Clarkson, Jabari Brown, Julius Randle, Tarik Black, and whoever the number two pick will be. The Lakers also can extend a qualifying offer to Vander Blue, if they wish, which would put them at six guys who are 23 years old or younger — that’s not including the other two picks in the draft.
The player I believe who could be the most useful for the Lakers is Justin Anderson. He’s a 6’6 wing with a wingspan of almost seven feet, and he weighs 230 pounds. He was known for his defense at Virginia, and he became a good outside shooter during his three years at UVA. He’s said he wants to be like Danny Green, and if the Lakers can grab a player like Danny Green in the latter part of the first round, sign me up.
Someone else the organization could look at would be RJ Hunter from Georgia State. He’s another 6’6 guard, and he can knock it down from beyond the three point line. If the Lakers are looking for a player who can be a good shooter, he’s their man, although I’m not as high as him as others are.
The third guy the Lakers would have a chance to draft is Rondae Hollis-Jefferson. The defensive specialist out of the University of Arizona is a 6’7 guard, who should be able to defend three or four positions in the NBA; however, he has no outside game, and the Lakers don’t really have much shooting elsewhere on the team,
Lastly, the Lakers could look to find their replacement for Kobe Bryant in Rashad Vaughn. There has been talk he could go as high as 15 in the draft, so it’s unlikely the Lakers can land him, unless they can get in the early 20s or hope he slides a bit.
Now, it’s fun and all to think about who the Lakers to trade up for, but they need a partner to trade with. One team who could possibly look to move down is the Cleveland Cavaliers. They’re going to be tight on money, so they can save a little bit going from 24 to 27, and then they can use the 34th pick for a draft and stash player. Or, they can try and package the two picks for a veteran.
Another team that could be looking to move back is the Dallas Mavericks, who have the 21st overall pick. Right now they only have four players on their roster, with some guys with player and team options. Trading with the Lakers would allow them to grab two more players for cheap, one of which would have a non-guaranteed deal. The Portland Trailblazers — owners of the 23rd pick — are also in a similar boat, with six guys on their roster, and players like LaMarcus Aldridge, Wesley Matthews, and Robin Lopez free agents, and Arron Afflalo with a player option.
If the Lakers really want another pick in the second round, they could end up buying a second rounder, just like they did last year from the Washington Wizards. It worked out pretty well, seeing as the pick became Jordan Clarkson.
If the Lakers aren’t looking to bring in much more young talent, trading up in the draft seems like a good idea to gain one more key roster piece, along with their top pick. The Summer League team will be absolutely stacked, and a core of Clarkson, Randle, Okafor/Russell (hopefully), and a player in the mid 20s is not a bad start to a rebuild just two years in.