Archives For Draft

UPDATE: With their pick at #48, the Lakers selected Duke, PF Ryan Kelly. Kelly is coming off his senior year at Duke where he averaged 12.9 points and 5.3 rebounds per game over 23 appearances. Kelly suffered a foot injury late in the season and missed both the ACC and the NCAA Tournament. He’s now recovering from foot surgery and is nearing the end of his rehab.

As for his game, Kelly is more of a face up player with a perimeter oriented game. He shot 42% from behind the arc in his senior season and 45% from the field overall. From his Draft Express Profile:

He lacks elevation on his jumper, but his consistent mechanics and a quick release, allow him to get his shot off without hesitation and with impressive accuracy. He was one of the top perimeter shooters in the NCAA last season, making an impressive 40% of his 4.7 attempts per 40 minutes pace adjusted. His shooting touch translates into an outstanding 81% shooting from the free throw line, as well.

Additionally, he has a diverse face-up game. Thanks to his above average ball-handling ability, he is able to operate very well out of the high post, taking his man off the dribble on his way to the basket. While he struggles to power the ball to the rim, he compensates with a finesse game including running hook shots, floaters, and layups. Furthermore, he has developed an intriguing mid-range arsenal based around his proficiency as a pull-up jump shooter.

At this point, Kelly looks to be very much a pick made for his offensive game because his weaknesses — strength, athleticism, and lateral quickness — all limit his ability on the other side of the floor. Again, from his draft profile:

Though Kelly is a very engaged defender with good instincts and awareness, his physical deficiencies stand out at this level and will most certainly be a problem at the next. In particular, his underwhelming lateral quickness and footspeed make him a liability away from the basket where he struggles to close out on perimeter shooters and is easily beaten off of the dribble by quicker players. At 6-11, he may be better off defending centers in the NBA, but does he have the strength to contain them in the post?

We’ll have more on this pick tomorrow, but my quick take is that it looks as if Kelly is a guy who should fit well in Mike D’Antoni’s system as a stretch PF who can play on the weak side as a spot up shooter and draw a secondary big man away from the hoop defensively. And while his offensive skill set is limited, players like him can carve a niche for themselves in the NBA should their shot fall with enough consistency to be a threat offensively. Defensively, of course, is another question and it remains to be seen if a player with limited tools on that end of the floor can play well enough both as an individual and in the team’s scheme to not be a total liability.

The NBA Draft is finally here. And while the Lakers only have the 48th pick, that doesn’t mean there aren’t some good options to explore or that they won’t swing for the fences and find that diamond in the rough. It also wouldn’t surprise me if the Lakers try to move up in some way to try and grab an extra pick, be it a 1st round selection or another 2nd round pick that comes before their own selection mid-way through the Adam Silver portion of the evening.

As for other news of the day, there are a few things to report both Lakers and from around the league:

*The latest on the Dwight Howard front is that he’s leaning towards not returning to the Lakers. Chris Broussard reports that Dwight’s preference is to go to either Houston or Dallas and that while the Lakers can’t be counted out, they are the underdog to retain his services. While this report only confirms what many have already thought about Howard’s mindset, I still take reports like this with a grain of salt. If there’s a time to exert any leverage in a situation this is it, so the timing of the leak smells like an angle to get something done that will make the situation more amiable to allow a return. After all, if Dwight was simply going to leave, there’s no sense in even speaking of what his plans are.

*The Celtics are looking to continue their off-season overhaul that’s already seen them trade head coach Doc Rivers to the Clippers by trying to trade Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to the Nets. While the deal isn’t done, it’s said that talks between the two teams have momentum and that something could be done by the end of the night. In return for their two hall of fame players, the C’s would get multiple first round picks and some of the bloated salaries the Nets have on their books (potentially Gerald Wallace and Kris Humphries).

*There are lots of reports about teams in the top half of the draft wanting to move out of their current spots. The Cavs are supposedly still undecided on who they’d select in the #1 slot and are still interested in trading the pick. Depending on what the Cavs do with their pick, the Magic could also trade their pick and there are several teams looking to move up into the top 5 in order to secure the player they like best in class in which the differences between the top 5 or 6 players is more about preference and the position they play rather than a gap in talent.

*Don’t be surprised if there are some quality veteran players traded tonight. We’ve already mentioned Garnett and Pierce, but a guy like Eric Gordon could be on the move as could other players who still have value on the open market but have fallen out of favor with their current teams. Draft night is when teams would love to reshape their roster and that goes beyond simply selecting the top amateur on their big board when their pick comes up.

We’ll have more updates as the night goes on, including whatever the Lakers do whenever they do it. For now, have at it in the comments about who the Lakers should take and the other news of the day.

The Los Angeles Lakers haven’t had the greatest success in the NBA Draft in recent years and having the 48th pick this year doesn’t help their chances of ending their slump of drafts that add useful contributors.

And while history shows that there are diamonds in the rough that can be had in the part of the draft the Lakers are selecting, it would be a mistake to think that this is the norm. Since 1990, 16 of the 23 picks selected at 48th overall played fewer than 100 games in their career. Furthermore, six of those 16 never played (or have yet to play) a single game. Only two players drafted at No. 48 overall have averaged double figures in points – Marc Gasol and Cedric Ceballos. Five others (Mickael Gelabale, Alvin Williams, Jamie Feick, Mark Davis, and Isaac Austin) had modest NBA careers.

In short, the chances of the Lakers landing a solid contributor are low.

An All-Star like Pau’s younger brother? Possible, but slim.

That being said, the Lakers still must go out to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn and draft someone that they think will help improve their team. For a team that struggled with injuries last year, having young depth would be a welcome addition. So finding that depth is the goal.

With Dwight Howard, Earl Clark, Antawn Jamison, Devin Ebanks, Andrew Goudelock, and Darius Morris all potentially entering free agency, the Lakers could use a contributor at any position. Here are several players that may be available when the Lakers are on the clock:

Mike Muscala, PF/C (Bucknell): The 6’11”, 230 lb PF/C is coming off a fabulous senior year, averaging 18.7 points and 11.1 rebounds per game for the Bison. Most importantly, Muscala was phenomenal in terms of value added. Muscala added 5.31 percent to Bucknell’s scoring and took away 2.67 percent from the opponent’s scoring for a total impact of 7.98 percent – good enough for 12th best in the nation. Despite this, Muscala is projected by NBADraft.net to go at No. 50. The smart numbers like Muscala, but perhaps the lack of exposure he received playing in Bucknell has made him fly under the radar. Muscala played four years in college. Though this may mean that he has limited upside, it could also mean he’s more developed than freshman or sophomore. This is important because there’s a chance he could step up and play immediately, much like Robert Sacre did last year.

DeShaun Thomas, SF/PF (Ohio State): Coming in at 6’6″, 220 lb, Thomas is a strong, quick, and athletic forward who excels on the offensive side of the ball. Thomas averaged 19.8 points per game and added the Buckeyes’ offense by 6.53 percent – the seventh highest offensive value added this year. His weakness comes on the defensive side of the ball, but his offensive ability makes up for it. Thomas could reach and perhaps exceed his offensive potential in Mike D’Antoni’s offensive minded system. NBADraft.net sees DeShaun Thomas going at No. 41 in their mock draft.

Pierre Jackson, PG (Baylor): With Goudelock and Morris both hitting free agency, the Lakers are only left with Nash (who is 39 and coming off an injury plagued season), the inconsistent Chris Duhon and Steve Blake at the point guard position. So, drafting a point guard may not be out of the realm of possibilities for the Lakers considering these factors. Jackson was ranked 13th in the nation in terms of value added and is projected to go in the middle of the second round. The analytics like him and drafting him at No. 48 could turn out to be a steal for the Lakers. Jackson averaged 19.8 points and 7.1 assists per game and he’ll have the opportunity to elevate his game in a point guard oriented system under D’Antoni. Jackson is only 5’10”, but there have been many serviceable NBA point guards under six feet, especially now with the hand-check rules what they are on the perimeter.

Peyton Siva, PG (Louisville): Siva is another point guard that the Lakers may consider drafting. Siva was part of Louisville’s National Championship team this past year and has experience playing in big moments. Siva is also a fantastic defender, taking away 2.65 percent of his opponents’ scoring – 26th best in the nation. The Lakers have a history of poor defense against opposing point guards as their oPER against that specific position was a whopping 18.0. Siva can help mitigate that glaring stat. He is projected to go in the late second round by NBADraft.net.

Erik Murphy, PF (Florida): Murphy’s athleticism and physical strength (6’10”, 240 lb.) would be a welcome addition to the Lakers front court. Murphy was also a senior this year, meaning he probably doesn’t need as much development as a younger player. The big man didn’t put up the most astounding numbers (12.2 points and 5.5 rebounds per game), but he had a 6.45 value added rating – 41st best in the nation.

James Southerland, SF/PF (Syracuse): The 6’8″, 221 lb. forward is expected to be a small forward when he’s eventually drafted. The Lakers currently only have Metta World Peace – who recently opted in to the final year of his contract – as a SF on their roster. Needless to say, they’re thin in that position and could use an athletic forward who can play defense and hit the three ball. Southerland hit near 40% of his triples this past season and also took away 2.23 percent of his opponents’ scoring defensively. Both skills could prove quite useful for the Lakers next season.

Again, there shouldn’t be this huge expectation that the Lakers draft a difference maker in the slot in which they’re picking. That said, finding another contributing player would go a long way in bolstering their depth and with limited ways to improve their roster this off-season, the draft could prove to be a big way to achieve this goal. The team is coming off a year where they received minimal bench production. A steal in the second round, no matter the position, can help the Lakers rebound quickly and ease the team’s transition back to greatness.

(Statistical support from valueaddbasketball.com, statsheet.com and 82games.com)

Just a few quick updates to toss out. As always on draft day, there’s plenty of action around the league with teams maneuvering for position including roster home cleaning. With only the #48 pick, a big payroll and limited trade options, it’s doubtful that Mitch can move up the charts in a major way but you never know – the Lakers war room will be well-stocked with extra cell batteries and bottomless cups of coffee.

According to Silver Screen & Roll, the Lakers declined to pick up the options of Chris Duhon and Devin Ebanks. Neither is a surprise, especially when it comes to Ebanks, a once-promising prospect who fell out of favor this past season due in no small part to his lackadaisical conditioning routine. Backup big Robert Sacre has reportedly received the team’s qualifying offer.

Speaking of SS&R, here’s their draft day template from Drew Garrison with great info and updates.

From Chris Broussard at ESPN, it’s “very, very unlikely” that Dwight Howard will return to the Lakers. This could be a bit of ratchet-up hyperbole on a day when the NBA media blitz scrambles for breaking items but it should at least be mentioned – we’ll see if the story picks up some serious legs.

Draft Express runs one of the top sites and feeds it all year long with great news and analysis on high school can college prospects. Here’s their current mock draft which shows Archie Goodwin at the #48 slot.

Here’s the ESPN GO draft board with the various Chad Ford picks. If you dig deep enough you might be able to find something about the second round. It’s pretty driven by the lottery.

Mike Bresnahan of the LATimes writes an overview of draft day for the Lakers, noting that they’re unlikely to make a splash.

We’ll all keep our eyes and ears open heading into tonight’s Barclay’s Center extravaganza. Add your own links and tidbits in the comments. Maybe the Lakers nab a solid option at the point or swing position. Maybe they sign someone you’ve never heard of before. Always a thrill ride toward the back of the second round.

 

 

In the annals of NBA history, no franchise has more persistently, or more successfully, taken a Babe Ruthian approach to personnel decisions than the Lakers. Sure, Mikan, West, Baylor, Goodrich, Magic, Worthy, Cooper, A.C. Green and, for all intents and purposes, Byron Scott and Kobe Bryant, head a mind-blowing assembly of talent for whom every meaningful NBA moment has unfolded in Laker garb, but every era of Laker glory has hinged upon management’s ability to swing for the fences.

In 1968, with Elgin Baylor and Jerry West approaching their still-ringless twilights, the most dominant big man in NBA history was added to the mix. Three conference titles and Los Angeles’ first banner later, and the legendary trio having departed the Association, the Lakers’ brass once again took to the market and returned with, get this, the NBA’s most dominant big man. Despite kicking off with a few (by Lakers standards) lean years, it’s probably fair to state that Kareem’s tenure in forum blue and gold was a relative success. In the 90s, what ought to have been a smooth transition out of Showtime and into Magic Johnson’s twilight was preempted, when the HIV virus forced the GLoAT from the game. A few more “lean” years (the worst of times still saw the Lakers nearly become the first #8 seed to upset a #1, the selections of Nick Van Exel and Eddie Jones and a playoff series victory over Payton-Kemp Sonics), and…

Blah, blah, blah, most dominant big man of his (and perhaps all-) time, yeah, yeah.

ALL of that, and there is a case to be made that last summer’s (Seriously. How. The. Hell. has it not even been a year?) additions of Steve Nash and (at least at the time) the NBA’s most dominant big man represented the most euphoric offseason Lakerland has ever seen.

HOWEVAH…

Continue Reading…

The Los Angeles Lakers haven’t had much luck in the NBA Draft throughout the last several years. Though, it could be said that the draft really isn’t much of a priority for a team that has ‘championship’ on its mind every single year. This is evidenced by some of the transactions they’ve made over the past seven years, most notably trading away first round draft picks for superstars.

To say that the “win now” mentality didn’t work for the Lakers would be foolish. The team won two championships by trading for Pau Gasol and mortgaging two first round draft picks in 2008 and 2010. However, other than that gargantuan front office victory, the Lakers inability to attain first round draft picks and consistent misses in the second round are part of the reason why the team struggled last year and could continue to falter this year. The team’s core is old and slow and running a fast paced Mike D’Antoni offense with old and slow guys doesn’t seem ideal.

Let’s not blame the Lakers front office on whiffing at the draft completely, though. The Lakers aren’t exactly a lottery team and the first round draft picks that they’ve traded away have generally been late picks in the first round. That said, none of their first round draft pick trades, other than the Gasol one in 2008, have been beneficial for the Lakers.

The team traded Toney Douglas, their 2009 pick, for a second round pick in 2011 which turned out to be Andrew Goudelock. They shipped their 2011 first rounder along with Sasha Vujacic for Joe Smith and a pair of second rounders. They lost their 2012 first rounder in the Ramon Sessions deal last year and their 2013 and 2015 picks in the Steve Nash trade, which is still a work in progress.

Looking at the Lakers recent draft history will make one think that the team has acquired a phobia for first round draft picks over the last six seasons. Other than drafting and immediately trading Douglas to the New York Knicks at 29th overall in 2009, the Lakers have not had a first round draft pick. In the fact the last first rounder to even suit up in purple and gold since 2007 when they selected Javaris Crittenton, who currently faces bigger problems than basketball in his life right now. They will not have a first round draft pick again this year.

The Lakers have been limited to just second round draft picks ever since 2008 – 11 of them to be exact. From those 11, five never played for the Lakers (Joe Crawford, Patrick Beverley, Chinemelu Elonu, Chukwudiebere Maduabum, and Ater Majok), two played but are no longer in the NBA (Sun Yue and Derrick Caracter), and four were on the roster this past year (Devin Ebanks, Andrew Goudelock, Darius Morris, and Robert Sacre).

While it’s nice that the team still employs and gets occasional contributions from the latter four players, they are marginal at best and have many limitations in their games. In fact, these 11 players have combined to play 254 games for the Lakers, averaging 3.0 points, 1.2 rebounds, and 0.6 assits per game.

It’s difficult to ask any team to find the next diamond in the rough in the second round like Danny Green or Manu Ginobili. The team should be grateful that they at least receive some contribution from Ebanks, Goudelock, Morris, and Sacre. That said, not having a single first round draft pick suit up for your team since 2007 is inexcusable. The Lakers completely sold off their future and it’s beginning to hurt them now as they face lack of quality in terms of depth.

When one looks at the powerful Laker teams from 2008 thru 2010, they can see that team had several key homegrown Lakers first round picks. Andrew Bynum, Sasha Vujacic, and Jordan Farmar all played instrumental roles in the Lakers back-to-back run. Even in the three-peat, Devean George and Mark Madsen were important role players that were taken in the first round and contributed to the Lakers run.

With only one second round draft pick this year and not much flexibility to sign free agents, the Lakers could be in trouble for the future in terms of depth. That said, they have tradable assets they can use to prepare for the 2014 draft, which is one of the deepest in recent memory. The Lakers, for once, have a first round draft pick for next year, but having another one in a deep draft class would most definitely not hurt.