Archives For Draft

Friday Forum

Dave Murphy —  June 8, 2012

Basketball continues along its duel tracks, with the playoffs marching toward the final round and the rest of the teams proceeding into their seasons of change. It’s as evident here as anywhere. With Kobe heading toward his 17th season, management can ill afford to tinker and wait. Darius recently wrote about team building and the need for youth. The playoffs have been a fascinating mix of young and old, and the clock stops for no one. Here’s some links, and food for thought:

Brian Kamenetzky at the Land O’Lakers, compares the team’s needs this season, to their needs last season, and finds a lot of similarities.

Ben Bolch at the L.A. Times writes about Derek Fisher, hoping for another ring.

Kurt Helin at ProBasketballTalk reports that Kobe will revisit Germany this summer for more therapy on his knee. Andrew Bynum may have the same experimental procedure.

Mike Trudell at Lakers Reporter goes into a little more depth about training matters, during an interview with Gary Vitti.

R.R. Magellan at The No-Look Pass examines how the Oklahoma City Thunder got to where they did.

C.A. Clark at Silver Screen and Roll also looks at OKC, and the clearest paradigm shift in NBA history.

Right before last night’s Eastern Conference Game 6, Emile Avanessian, at Hardwood Hype issued a challenge to LeBron. LBJ was clearly listening.

I enjoyed a cyber dinner with Emile the night before, and we discussed the conference finals, plus matters more centric to the Lakers.

Most of the recent talk of a possible Lamar return to the Lakers, has been tempered by the new one-year moratorium rule. David Lord & Mike Fisher from Dallasbasketball.com, have a possible way around that.

Elizabeth Benson at Lakers Nation, examines the need to get younger and faster.

In the wake of last night’s remarkable LeBron performance, a ton of writers sallied forth to opine. Jared Dublin at Hardwood Paroxysm,  gives us a table of contents.

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This year’s strike-shortened season was more than a little strange. The playoffs however, have been engaging, highly competitive, and fully entertaining. This summer will not be like last summer. The gym doors won’t be locked. Coaches won’t be prohibited from talking to their players. The new draft picks won’t be sitting, wondering, and waiting. The summer league and full training camps will be back in force. And between now and then, there will be a lot to talk about. As the Chambers brothers famously sang, “time has come today.”

- Dave Murphy

Even though it’s standard operating procedure for nearly every national site, I’ve never been a fan of grading drafts right after they occur. While it’s nice to think we know how a player’s college game will translate to the pros, there are too many factors and variable to be able to truly determine what type of pro these kids will be.  Will injuries strike? Will the player improve on weaknesses? Will a teams’ system match what a player does well? Answers to these questions (and many more) can shape a career just as much as how often their jumper falls or how well they play defense.

However, if you go around the web, there’s also a different take on grading the draft; a take where the writer is asking “who won and who lost in this draft”? And while the answers to most of these questions are big name players or franchises that made especially questionable (or great) decisions on their draft picks, there’s also another type of “loser” that is consistently showing up on these lists.

Namely, the college player that left early that should have stayed in school.

And if you dig around the web a little, you’ll find that the Lakers’ selection at pick #41, Darius Morris, is one of the players appearing as a loser in this draft.

From Andy Katz at TrueHoop:

Darius Morris could have led Michigan toward a possible Big Ten title. Now he’ll have a hard time sticking with the Lakers.

Meanwhile, over at Yahoo!, Marc Spears includes Morris on his list of players that left school too early hoping for a first round selection, only to slip to the 2nd round where contracts aren’t guaranteed.

What no one is saying, however, is that Morris isn’t talented.

Furthermore, from my line of thinking, these critiques only further my belief that the Lakers potentially stole a real talent in this draft with the 41st pick. I mean, if many thought another year in college would have boosted Morris’ draft stock to the point that he would have landed in the 1st round next year (in what’s considered a much stronger draft by every expert), then I’m more than happy that the Lakers acquired such a talent when and where they did this year.

Obviously, there are no guarantees that Morris will develop. And Katz’ may prove to be right in his assessment that Morris doesn’t stick with the Lakers. However, the talent base is there and by all accounts so is the work ethic. If he progresses as naturally with the Lakers as he would have with the Wolverines, the Lakers may have found a keeper. And if that turns out to be the case, no one will be talking about how Morris was a loser in this draft but rather how the Lakers were winners.

And now, for your viewing pleasure, some of the skills that surely prompted the Lakers to draft Morris in the first place. Enjoy.

Draft Day Thoughts

Darius Soriano —  June 24, 2011

Coming into the draft, armed with four 2nd round picks, the Lakers had a clear strategy. They wanted to draft guards that could help their back court depth and they wanted to draft one or two players that could be stashed in Europe for future consideration of a roster spot. Plus, besides those two rather generic goals, the Lakers also sought to improve on and add skills lacking on the current roster. The hope was to nab playmaking and shooting and hope those skills were advanced enough that the player (or players) possessing them could earn a roster spot.

And while it’s much too early to say whether that last point will actually prove positive, the other goals all have a check mark next to them the day after the draft. And for those reasons, beyond anything else, the Lakers had a successful Thursday evening phoning in their picks from Los Angeles to Newark.

With pick number 41, the Lakers nabbed Darius Morris from Michigan. His strengths include size, natural point guard ability, and the ability to get into the paint to create for others and himself. His profile at Draft Express includes several positive morsels about his college career, including the fact that he boasted a greater than 2-1 assist to turnover ratio while also shooting 53% on two point baskets last season. We also learn that he improved by leaps and bounds over his two seasons at Michigan by flashing a well rounded game, including the ability to rebound well and defend at an above average level. Draft Express ranked him as the 22nd best prospect in this draft and Chad Ford states that he may be the best pure point guard in his draft. 

However, his game is not without flaws. He’s shown literally no ability to make the college three point shot, knocking down only 25% of his long balls last year. He can be an over dribbler that probes too much rather than making the simple play.  His size is very good for the position but his athleticism is only average. He’ll be tested at the NBA level both physically and in terms of the deficiencies in his game, needing to make both improvements and adjustments to his style of play that will be harder than the ones he had to make during his time at Michigan.

With the 46th pick, the Lakers selected Andrew Goudelock from the College of Charleston. He’s also listed as a point guard, but where Morris is of the playmaking variety, Goudelock is a scoring machine. He ranked 5th in the nation this past year, dropping nearly 24 points a game (right below Kemba Walker). He’s used to operating with the ball in his hands and creating shots from everywhere on the floor. He shows incredible range on his jumper and is literally a threat to hit shots once he’s over the half court line. Really, he is. He also shows great moxie on the court and is a confident player, letting media know after the draft that he’ll compete with anyone of any size and that his shooting ability will be with him until the day he dies.

Goudelock too, though, has his flaws. While confident in his playmaking ability, he committed nearly as many turnovers as assists this past season. Finishing inside is not a strong suit. And while he made 40% of his three pointers (a great number) he also shot nearly 9 shots from distance a game last year, which instantly has me questioning his shot selection. There’s a real question about whether he can be a true point guard or if he’s destined to be an undersized shooting guard in this league.

With the remaining two picks, the Lakers selected Chukwudiebere Maduabum (#56) and Ater Majok (#58). Chu-Chu (as he’s known) was ultimately traded to the Nuggets for a future 2nd round pick and Majok is a player that has little information on him anywhere. After the pick, Chad Ford tweeted that “He wasn’t awful at EuroCamp.” And that he “Shoots it OK for a big man”, but I wouldn’t call that a ringing endorsement on my friendliest and most optimistic of days. Odds are this pick never sees the floor for the Lakers.

In the end though, with both Morris and Goudelock at least, these are the types of players you draft in the 40′s. They’re flawed players but ones that have good skill level and a foundational attribute (or more) that can keep them in this league. For Morris, that’s a combo of playmaking, size, and floor generalship. For Goudelock it’s shooting and confidence. Considering the Lakers have a real need for both of those skill sets on this current roster, I think the team did quite well for themselves in acquiring these two players. We won’t know until training camp what type of progress or improvements they’ve made in their games (Summer league has been officially cancelled and with a lock out on the horizon, who knows when camp will even start) but I do believe that both of these players can stick and make the team.

And if that turns out to be the case, that’s a great result from this draft and all any reasonable observer could ask for. There’s little chance a pick in the 40′s will come in and impact a team. Those chances go down exponentially when you’re talking about a team that many believe to be one of the handful of title contenders in the league. If the Lakers are lucky, both Morris and Goudelock will come in, compete hard, improve as the year progresses, and get some spot minutes where they can test their development in real game action. If they contribute positively in those minutes and earn more time, that’s a homerun. If they don’t, I’m not judging. I look at Ebanks and Caracter and see two guys that rarely played and I still think they can be players on this team.

Hopefully, with both Morris and Goudelock, I’ll be thinking the same thing a year from now.

Update: With the 41st pick the Lakers selected Darius Morris, point guard from Michigan. From everything I know of him, his best attribute is his size (he’s 6’5″) and the fact that he offers true PG skills. His jumper is relatively weak, but he’s good in the P&R and off the bounce getting into the lane. We’ll have more on this pick later, but as of now I’m pretty happy with this pick. The Lakers could use some youth in their pipeline of back court players and Morris provides that (he came out after his sophomore season at Michigan).

Update #2: With the 46th pick the Lakers selected Andrew Goudelock, point guard from the College of Charleston. Chad Ford calls him the 2nd best shooter in the draft behind Jimmer Fredette and that he boasts tremendous range. Overall, I’m pleased that the Lakers nabbed a good shooter with this pick as that’s a portable skill that can immediately help this team.

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We’re inching closer to the start of the draft and that excitement is starting to build up in me. Even though the Lakers don’t pick until the 2nd round, I’ll be dialed in to all the action.

Since our post this morning, some revalations have come to light:

  • Reports are that the Odom/Iguodala deal is essentially dead. Which, honestly, is no surprise. The Lakers typically run a tight ship with word of potential deals rarely getting out. That’s not to say this is always the case, but it’s so rare that the details of any Laker deal gets out that it’s tough to put too much stock into reports that actually see the light of day that don’t include the words “confirmed” or “nearly done”. That said, if you’d like some spot on analysis of the Lakers, Odom, and trades, you should go read this.
  • Just because the Lakers aren’t trading, it doesn’t mean no deals are getting done. It’s been widely reported that the Bobcats, Kings, and Bucks have agreed to a three way trade. Details state that Beno Udrih, Stephen Jackson, Shawn Livingston, and the #19 pick go to Milwaukee, Corey Maggette and the #7 pick go to Charlotte, while John Salmons and the #10 pick go to Sacramento. My first impressions are that the ‘Cats win this trade by getting a 2nd lottery pick (they’re already picking 9th) with the Bucks also doing well. Meanwhile, Sacramento fans should be pulling their hair out. As the great Tom Ziller (SB Nation, Sactown Royalty) noted “Kings got older, worse, more expensive AND downgraded their draft pick in one trade. Impressive.”
  • Reports have also started to surface linking Brian Shaw to the Pacers. Mike Wells of the Indianapolis Star tweeted that Shaw will join the Pacers as their Associate Head Coach (otherwise known as the top assistant). Good for Shaw as I wish him nothing but the best. He was a very good coach for the Lakers and I’ll never forget the big shots he hit for the team during the Shaq/Kobe era (hello Portland!). I’m very happy that he’s landed on his feet and hope that this opportunity will springboard him back into contention for a head coaching job in the coming years.

That’s all the news we have before the draft, but I’m sure there will be plenty more as the night unfolds. We’ll update this post if any Lakers news breaks and surely when they make their picks. Enjoy the night, ya’ll.

I won’t lie, today is one of my favorite days of the year. The draft is a day where players’ long time dreams of going to the NBA come true and it’s also the day that all teams have that hope of finding a gem that will help them compete in the years to come.

Today is also great because it’s a day of non-stop chatter and action around the league with trades, rumors, and speculation hitting an all time high. For armchair GM’s and trade machine junkies, today is like Christmas.

And as I type this, the Lakers are in the middle of a lot of this action. Here’s what we “know”:

  • Last night, rumors started circulating that the Lakers and 76ers have had discussions about a potential Lamar Odom/Andre Iguodala swap. With Iggy making more money however, a filler would be needed to make the contracts match. Sam Amick (who originally reported these conversations) cited sources saying that Ron Artest could be the additional piece the Lakers sent to Philly. Adrian Wojnarowski reports that the Lakers could send Luke Walton along with LO.
  • Obviously if the choice is between giving up Luke or Ron, I’d choose Luke every time. Nothing against Walton (a player I have more fondness for than others), but Ron is still a contributing player to this team and Luke has fallen out of the rotation due to injury and lack of production over the past few seasons.
  • Other rumors have Mike Brown wanting the Lakers to pursue Anderson Varejao, a player Brown is very familiar with from his Cavs days. Varejao is a very good defensive presence and one of the better hustle/energy players in the entire league.
  • All of these reports come on the heels of the LA Times reporting the Lakers offered Lamar Odom to the T’Wolves for the #2 overall pick in tonight’s draft. A deal the Wolves weren’t keen on.

It should be noted that in every single one of these reports, there’s nothing concrete and the Lakers are not anywhere close to actually making a deal. This can’t be said enough and should be repeated in your heads for long term absorption.

However, what these reports do tell us is that the Lakers are pretty clearly looking at options that could potentially improve their team. As I stated earlier this week, this is what good front offices do. The Lakers must look at their team with a critical eye and see if any deal makes sense for them. This isn’t that different than what the Spurs are reportedly doing in exploring options for trading Tony Parker or George Hill. Or reports that Danny Ainge would consider trading one of his key pieces. The best franchises look for ways to get better. That said, exploring deals and making deals aren’t the same thing. So, sit tight and wait for something to actually go down. The speculation is fun and we’ll monitor it closely here at FB&G, but don’t take reports for anything more than they are right now.

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As for the draft, the Lakers are still sitting back with a fist full of 2nd round picks to make. Assistant GM Ronnie Lester told Mike Trudell that the Lakers are looking for back court players with their early picks and players that could go to Europe (whether they’re foreign born or not) with their later picks. Lester also says that if the team can’t take two backcourt players they like with their early selections, they’ll look to go big.

This jives with what we already know about the Lakers approach and shouldn’t be a surprise. The Lakers have aging players in their back court and lack depth behind Gasol, Bynum, and Odom. If the team can grab a guard or two that make this roster (preferably ones that can either shoot, make plays off the dribble, or defend at a high level) or a big man that can compete with Caracter as a young big to make the team, this draft would have to be considered a success.

With that said, here are who the experts have the Lakers drafting:

  • Chad Ford (Insider required): #41 – Shelvin Mack, PG; #46 – Malcom Thomas, SF/PF; #56 – Brandon Wanamaker, PG; #58 – Julyan Stone, PG/SG
  • Draft Express: #41 – Shelvin Mack, PG; #46 – Jon Leuer, PF; #56 – Andrew Goudelock, PG; #58 –  Malcom Thomas, SF/PF

As you can see, there’s some overlap here with both mocks projecting that the Lakers select Mack and Thomas. A few other names to look out for are Malcom Lee, Justin Holiday, Ben Hansboro (one of my sleeper picks that I hope L.A. takes a flyer on), and Jordan Williams (one of the better rebounders coming out this year).

As we get closer to the draft, we’ll pass along any updates that we get and will have another post up as we get close to the start of the draft with any confirmed reports. Buckle up everyone, this should be a fun night.