Archives For Draft

While most of the attention on the Lakers this draft season stem from them holding the #2 overall pick, the team also holds the #32 selection in the upcoming draft. With that, we will be having a series of posts on potential options for that selection. This installment looks at Louisville big man Chinanu Onuaku.

Chinanu Onuaku

Center, 6’10, 245 lbs. Sophomore, Louisville, 19 years old

2015-16 stats:

24.6 minutes, 9.9 points, 62.0 field goal percentage, 58.9 free throw percentage, 1.6 assists, 8.5 rebounds, 0.8 steals, 2.0 blocks.

Big Board Rankings:

Draft Express – 38, CBS – 33, Sports Illustrated – 43, ESPN (Chad Ford) – 35


At 6’10 and 245 pounds, Chinanu Onuaku makes for an interesting draft prospect for the Lakers. As mentioned in my first draft profile on Stephen Zimmerman, the Lakers could be looking for some depth at the center position. At 6’10”, Onuaku may not be the tallest center, but he’s got a long wingspan (7’3) for his size, a developing frame (245 pounds), and has solid strength for a 19-year-old.

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While most of the attention on the Lakers this draft season stem from them holding the #2 overall pick, the team also holds the #32 selection in the upcoming draft. With that, we will be having a series of posts on potential options for that selection. First up is UNLV big man, Stephen Zimmerman.

Stephen Zimmerman

Center, 7’0, 235 lbs. Freshman, UNLV,  19 years old

2012-13 stats:

26.3 minutes, 10.5 points, 47.7 field goal percentage, 29.4 three point percentage, 62.4 free throw percentage, 0.8 assists, 8.7 rebounds, 0.5 steals, 2.0 blocks.

Big Board Rankings:

Draft Express – 36, CBS – 31, Sports Illustrated – 30, – 24, Bleacher Report – 27


At 7’0 with a wingspan of 7’3, Stephen Zimmerman has pretty good size to work at either power forward or center in the NBA. The first thing that stands out about Zimmerman is his two blocks per game in only 26 minutes per game, which was good for second most in the Mountain West Conference. Zimmerman isn’t the most athletic guy on the court, but he’s athletic enough to where it’s not a disadvantage.

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There is little draft intrigue for the Lakers this year. I suppose there could always be a surprise, but the odds are the Lakers will either select Ben Simmons or Brandon Ingram, aka the guy the 76ers do not select #1 overall.

There will still be plenty to discuss about both prospects (and maybe a few others) in the lead up to the draft, though. Strengths, weaknesses, fit, etc, etc. We will cover all that in the next three weeks. On the Lakers end, this process has long ago begun. And it will continue this week when the team works out Brandon Ingram.

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While I fully support and endorse the Lakers hiring Luke Walton, hiring him, specifically, doesn’t come without potential logistical hiccups. Walton, after all, is still employed, fulfilling his responsibilities as the Warriors’ lead assistant as they look to defend their title. As Walton helps Steve Kerr and the Warriors, then, he’s not able to yet move into his role as head man for the Lakers — at least as long as the Dubs are still in the playoffs.

With the Lakers getting a taste of lady luck by holding onto their draft pick on Tuesday night, they will soon start to hold pre-draft workouts of top prospects (they have already been working out prospects for their 2nd round pick). Only with Walton still working for the Warriors, he’s not likely to be around for many — if any — of them. TNT and’s David Aldridge has the report:

So Walton may have to miss a number of Predraft workouts the Lakers schedule with some of the top Draft prospects. The Lakers are taping every workout for him to view when he can. Walton and Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak text each other every day and talk on the phone when possible, but the Lakers are being very respectful of Walton’s remaining days at Golden State.

In the meantime, Walton is continuing to try and convince Brian Shaw to join his Lakers coaching staff. But Shaw is also being wooed by new Pacers head coach Nate McMillan for a similar position, according to sources. Ideally, Shaw would serve as Walton’s proxy in L.A. during the Predraft workouts.

This isn’t the most ideal situation for the Lakers. In a perfect world Walton would be present, offering his thoughts and providing his opinion on players the Lakers may end up selecting. His insight on how a guy might fit into what he plans to run on offense and defense, his perspective on their skill set, and him generally getting a better feel for who these guys are as people by being in the room has real value. Some things might translate over tape or via communications with staff who are present, but in the end I’m sure even Luke would say nothing can fully replace being present.

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The angst of whether the Lakers would keep this year’s draft pick has turned to joy. The Lakers will not only keep their top-3 protected selection, but they stood pat at #2 overall. While retaining the pick at all is a major boost, landing in the 2nd slot gives the Lakers a chance at one of the two players who is viewed, at least at this point the process, to be above the rest of the field.

Yes, the table is set for the Lakers to walk away with one of either Ben Simmons or Brandon Ingram. Both dynamic players in their own way, both tantalizing prospects who could be plugged into a roster and help immediately. The Lakers, then, can only smile at what is coming their way.

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Earlier today I wasn’t necessarily pessimistic, but I was not encouraged by the math nor the history surrounding the Lakers’ chances of keeping their top-3 protected pick. Those concerns turned out to be misplaced as the Lakers retained their pick and held their draft slot in Tuesday’s NBA Draft Lottery. They will select at #2 overall in June’s draft and have their pick of a top player who can bolster their young core of talent.

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…and I am not doing too well. Sure, I’ve tried to tell myself a few lies in the past few days. These lies were mostly told to try and make me feel less anxious or nervous. Now that the days has come, these lies have failed me. FAILED ME, I SAY.

Anyways, we’ve already discussed some of the consequences of today, so I won’t get into that much further. This pick is important and I would greatly prefer the Lakers keep it than lose it. Yes, there are a couple of silver linings should this pick fall outside the top-3 and go to Philly, but that’s like saying a silver lining to breaking your leg is that while you wear a cast one of your shoes doesn’t get any wear and tear on it.

So, let’s just stick to the numbers of the night and go from there…

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After taking D’Angelo Russell with the #2 overall pick and surprising nearly everyone by selecting Larry Nance Jr. with the 27th overall selection, there were several directions the team could go with their final pick in the draft. With the 34th selection, the logical choice would be to draft not just the best player left on the team’s board, but, hopefully, a player who could either play center or was a pure wing player.

Well, the Lakers went with the latter by drafting Stanford small forward Anthony Brown. Brown wasn’t a player I looked at closely, but when looking at his numbers and watching some tape on him, he looks to be a fine selection for where the Lakers got him. Brown measured 6’8″ with a 6’11” wingspan at the draft combine. This is prototypical size for an NBA wing, serving him well as he moves up to the next level.

But the Lakers did not draft him for his size, they drafted him because he can flat out shoot the ball.

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