“With the 2nd pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, the Los Angeles Lakers select Brandon Ingram, Forward, Duke University.”

While there are always smokescreens and attempts at misdirection in the lead up to the draft, the odds this is what we hear Commissioner Adam Silver say at the NBA Draft on June 23rd are high. The 76ers could always select Ingram themselves, but with Ben Simmons long considered the top prospect and Philly finally cashing in on their multi-year process with the top selection, it seems the LSU Forward would be hard to pass up.

The Lakers, then, are likely going to end up with Ingram. And I could not be happier about it.

Ingram, for the Lakers, represents a best of both worlds prospect. Not only is he supremely talented with a high upside and enough youth to make good on long-term projections of his ceiling, he also plays a position of need while offering a skill-set which is not only in-demand league wide, but on the Lakers’ as well.

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Since it was reported Brian Shaw would return to the Lakers as Luke Walton’s lead assistant, it has been pretty quiet on the “who will be on Luke Walton’s staff” front. No leaks of names who were shoe-ins, not even any hints at who might be under consideration.

That changed over the weekend when Dave Miller brought up a name I was unfamiliar with:

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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. 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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One of my favorite NBA podcasts out there is Nate Duncan’s “Dunc’d On”. Nate has good knowledge on the CBA, the draft, is good with X’s and O’s, and does a good job of conveying it all to the listener.

I was happy, then, to hear that he had covered Brandon Ingram and the Lakers in a recent sitdown with Real GM’s Danny Leroux. Their talk covered a lot of ground so I wanted to make sure you, our faithful readers, got a chance to listen to it:

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The Warriors look to be well on their way to their 2nd NBA championship in as many seasons. Their combination of offensive firepower, excellent defense, positional versatility, and top level coaching are the marvel of the league and have teams scrambling to try and replicate a formula which may not even be replicable.

Roughly 30 years ago, the Lakers were a team very much like this season’s Warriors. If not so much in style, but in aesthetics. Explosive in the open court and precise in the half court, the Showtime Lakers ran roughshod over the league for an entire decade. They went to 8 Finals in the 1980’s and captured 5 titles in the process. I think teams would have tried to play like them, but it just didn’t even seem possible. No one had the horses.

These two teams are linked by the Thompson family. In the middle of the 1987 season, the Lakers traded for Mychal Thompson. The former 1978 #1 overall pick of the Trailblazers, Thompson was brought in to be the Lakers’ back up C and 3rd big man. Mychal did his job, helping the ’87 Lakers defeat the Celtics in the rubber match of their 3 NBA Finals match ups.

Mychal’s son, Klay, is now the starting SG for the Warriors. Drafted with the 11th pick in the 2011 draft, Klay has outperformed his draft slot and become one of the best two-way wings in the league. In a bit of a role reversal from his dad, Klay was famously not traded two seasons ago for Kevin Love. Now Klay’s Warrior’s are on the verge of beating Love’s Cavs in the Finals for the 2nd straight year.

So, the 2015 and 2016 Warriors are likely to be back to back champs. The 1987 and 1988 Lakers were back to back champs. In the post-game presser following the Warriors’ game 2 victory, Draymond Green was asked about where these Warriors ranked in the pantheon on all-time teams. Green, diplomatic, said we’d never know if his Dubs would beat teams like Jordan’s Bulls or the Showtime Lakers.

Klay, never shy of taking a shot, lined up his dad’s former team in his crosshairs and said with a smirk and a chuckle, “we’d beat the Showtime Lakers.”

Well, then.

I’ve always been of the same mindset Draymond has. The league has changed too much to compare players in ways beyond trivial barroom arguments. Forget, then, comparing entire teams. There’s simply no good way to do it.

If you think that’s going to stop me, though, you’re wrong. Thanks, Klay!

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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, NBA.com – 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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While we brought you the news back in May, USA Basketball has officially announced the US Select Team and it will include Julius Randle and D’Angelo Russell. The two young Lakers join a mix of young NBA veterans and NCAA standouts to form the roster which will convene this summer in Las Vegas.

Being named to the select team is nice accomplishment, not only because it is recognition of the players’ status as up and coming talents, but also because it puts them into the pipeline of players who could end up being considered for roster spots on the senior team which will compete internationally at events like the Olympics and the World Championships.

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The Lakers have already had a nice run to start their off-season. They kept their #2 overall draft pick, have a nearly wide open cap sheet, and hired Luke Walton as coach. There is a lot of reason for excitement.

To talk about that, and more, I joined Sam Vecenie of CBS Sports on his Game Theory podcast. We covered the draft, the team’s young players, trade options, what about Walton I am most intrigued about, and general roster construction. I even offered a bold prediction for the team’s off-season.

It was a good chat that you can listen to in full after the jump.

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