I’m not a big Star Trek guy, but I remember watching this old “The Next Generation” episode where Scotty ended up in some time warp and found himself on the new version Enterprise. In one of the scenes he was talking to the ship’s engineer (Geordie LaForge) who was working on a report for Captain Picard. In their conversation Geordie was telling Scotty he had no time to talk because he told the captain he’d have this report for him in an hour and he needed to get it done.
Scotty asked Geordie “how long will the report really take you to finish?” and Geordie responded “an hour.” Scotty stared at him and said, “You told him how long it would really take? How do you expect him to think of you as a miracle worker if you told him how long it would really take?!”
If you’re still reading, you’re probably wondering what this has to do with Jahlil Okafor, the big man from Duke who many think will be available when the Lakers make the 2nd pick in the upcoming draft. Well, if Scotty was talking to Okafor, he’d probably tell him something very similar to what he told Geordie — that he had a problem managing expectations and that he should work on making some of the things he does seem a bit more difficult.
The disconnect between what Okafor makes look easy and how easy they are to actually do is enormous. College players who are the focal point of every defense they face shouldn’t shoot 66% from the field. They shouldn’t handle 2nd and 3rd defenders so well. They shouldn’t be able to pick out cutters or make skip passes to weak side shooters with as much ease. They shouldn’t be able to set up primary moves and counters simply by dipping a shoulder or feinting a drop step or head faking a defender. And they definitely shouldn’t be able to these things as a 19 year old freshman.
But there Okafor was, all season, doing those things each and every game for Duke. There he was throughout the NCAA Tournament making it look easy again. And there he was at the final buzzer of the National Championship game, celebrating with his teammates as the last team standing.
So, why isn’t Okafor the consensus #1 overall pick? The answer is both simple and reflective of how the very best prospects get treated over the course of a long college season and through the draft process.
You see, for most of the season, Okafor was the consensus #1 overall pick. After being the nation’s top recruit as a highschool player, Okafor showed all the polish, poise, and production expected of him. And then, well, those things started to get taken for granted and fans/evaluators/critics started to want more. They wanted more consistent effort. They wanted to see him change ends better. They wanted higher rebound totals. And, of course, they wanted better defense.
It’s not like Okafor was loafing. Or that he was bad on the glass. Or that he was not playing any defense. These things just weren’t the best part of his game. He didn’t play with a high motor all the time partly because he was expected to be on the floor for 30 or more minutes a night and carry his team’s offense. He wasn’t always great on the glass because he was often moving into his man to box out rather than going directly after the ball. And he wasn’t always in a position to contest shots because his team’s scheme was pretty conservative and, again, he was expected to be on the floor as much as possible which made him averse to fouling and, in turn, averse to challenging every single shot.
Of course, this isn’t the entire story. The full truth involves those things and the fact that Okafor does need to improve at defense and his work on the glass. And if you listen to him talk, he’ll be the first to tell you those things. In a recent sit down with Alex Kennedy from Basketball Insiders, Okafor discussed the need to get better:
“I know I’m going to get better,” Okafor said of his defense. “I can get better at everything I do, and I always improve. I don’t think my defense was as bad as people made it out to be. We did win a national championship and all of my coaches were extremely happy with the way that I played on both ends of the floor. Also, I couldn’t get in to foul trouble and with the way our defense was set up, I wasn’t really in rim-protecting situations.
“Honestly, that is one of my flaws that I can improve on, but I can also improve on the offense end. Luckily, I’m 19 years old and I think I have a lot of time to improve my game. … I think a lot of people forget that a lot of us are still 18 or 19 years old. We’re put under the microscope and expected to be perfect, on the floor and sometimes even off the floor. Oftentimes, I do think people forget how young we actually are.”
So much of how Okafor performs defensively at the next level will come down to how smart he is and how much he wants to improve. If you listen to him talk, you get the sense that he’s a pretty smart kid who loves the game and wants to become the best version of the player he can be. Whether that translates to him doing the work required by making the extra rotation, getting into position early, and leaving his feet (more than once, too) to challenge shots remains to be seen. But to say that he’ll never be able to do those things seems a bit premature, especially when talking about a 19 year old.
One thing is clear with Okafor, however. As a 19 year old he has a skill level offensively that is rarely seen in players years older, much less a guy his age. He has a fantastic frame, great measurables (a 7’5″ wingspan and a 9’2.5″ standing reach), massive hands, and a high basketball IQ. His ability to score from the post will create easy baskets for himself and teammates. His large frame, strength, and length will help him be a force on the defensive and offensive glass. And his passing will allow him to be a focal point of the offense without being overly reliant on his scoring to be a difference maker.
This is why, should the Timberwolves select Karl Anthony Towns my disappointment in not getting the prospect I covet most would wear off pretty quickly. Because just as I expect Towns to be a fantastic pro, I expect Okafor to be one as well. And should he be available when the Lakers pick, he’d be a fantastic choice to build with and around for years to come. Of course there will be questions about fit (next to Randle) and whether his ceiling is as high as other prospects in the draft. But, if we’re being honest, those questions exist with every player. The fact is, this kid’s talent is real and if the Lakers can offer him an environment where it can be nurtured and developed, some of the concerns we have now will be viewed as silly.
Great piece. I have to admit part of my preference for Towns is not so much based on substance as it is on style. Okie has the low post moves and has been mentioned may be a poor man’s Shaque. KAT, OTOH, has got the great length & athleticism to go with that sweet stroke and rim protection. So yes, I’d still prefer Towns. But, after reading more, I’m feeling less inclined to agree to a swap of picks with Minnie in return for, say, the 34th pick. I’d still be interested to poll Darius & the readers here to see how much a guarantee of Town would be worth to them, if anything. That’s leaving aside the game theory aspects of bluffing and intel on the Wolves intentions. I’m still willing to give up the 34th,… barely.
Great insight out of all the players In this draft I believe okafor has been the most consistent it felt like every college game duke was playing he was pulling out double doubles.. draft him trade down. For Cameron Payne and then grab a couple of solid free agents that won’t break the bank and lakers will be ready to compete right now and for years to come
Warren Wee Lim says
One guy tells one opinion about what he saw in 1 game, it catches fire and then it becomes truth.
When people talk about Okafor, they make it out to be like his defense was zero, non-existent. Like he cannot defend AT ALL. Maybe the clips I saw on Youtube about his game are false, maybe I am simply a very poor judge of talent.
Maybe I just like his name, or maybe because of his name that has a different ring to it.
Either way, I see a smart young man, determined and hard-working kid who has skills in the post eons ahead of the next guy. I see a 19 year old kid, who answers questions politely, whose character is of high regard. I see a champion on his one-and-done season at DUKE, a rather good NCAA Basketball school.
Maybe the Buss kids and Mitch Kupchak does see what I see too. Maybe it wasn’t such a good thing that we had #1 because while I don’t discredit Karl Anthony Towns, I believe he’ll have a good career in the NBA, but I also don’t like thinking about how he talks over to his shoulder to his imaginary friend Karlito. Alot of good can be said of KAT, and my point is that he isn’t good, but that there is something special with Okafor.
Then again, maybe I’m a Buss PR man hiding behind a 34yo Filipino-Chinese businessman from Dipolog City, South of the Philippines. What do I know about basketball. Psh.
– Wondering what if anything Kobe is doing during the Finals? Wonder no more:
Tues. the Lakers will finally see the progress Okafor has made recently.Will Minn also get that chance? Evaluating potential isn`t easy,but they got it right with Clarkson. The good thing is that both Okafor and KAT have good basketball IQ and work ethic,which goes a long way to maxing their potential.
My preference between the two changes almost daily. It seems that there’s a high chance that they will both be impactful players at the next level, so i’ll be ecstatic with either. The one thing I really hope for is that they can stay healthy. Health is the ultimate wildcard when predicting the future success of these professional athletes. You can look at body type and physical characteristics to make educated guesses, but there are some things you simply cannot foresee. You can also look at the player’s game – e.g. looking at how DRose changes direction, explodes to the rim and takes contact, there was always a higher chance that his knees/ankles would suffer.
On another note, the workout videos of KAT look unreal. Looking forward to Okafor’s rebuttal.
if you take okafor over any guard that’s like taking Demarcus cousins over john wall n steph curry . the bigpost player is obsolete or just not nearly as effective as a wing . when in doubt always take a wing the lakers tradition people fail to realize i.e Darius Soriano , is we draft our wngs and sign the free agent big or trade for em every big we drafted has been traded( divac, Bynum).
Hey Sid what did Kobe have for breakfast??
@ reverend9, today, if you offered me a choice of Wall, Cousins, & Curry to start a team, no question I’d pick Cousins in a heartbeat. No 2nd thoughts, I couldn’t make it happen fast enough.
@ LKK, lol, I’m trying to help guys like you out. Check w/ TMZ on that last question.
@Sid….thanks. I don’t need your help.
Ryeson Lannistark says
Fast forward post-Kobe era– you got five seconds to win the game: do you give it to Okafor or D’Angelo?
Rewind five Laker championships in the Kobe era– who was the finisher and who was hacked?
As of right now… And I haven’t gotten that deep into the draft… But I have scouted the top ten or so guys…my top three are…
I’ll have a more detailed write up on the top ten on my board as we get closer to the draft. But that’s definitely the top three. They are in a different league than the rest.
I keep harping on this but why does everyone think D’Angelo is so great? Did anyone actually watch him in college? The guy is pretty average, he put up good numbers on a bad team but against the top 60 NCAA teams he shot 37%. It’s one thing to take a guy like Wall or Curry who actually played well against great talent but show me one game that wasn’t against a crappy team like Purdue or Northwestern that D’Angelo played well in. He could very easily be another Shabazz Mohammed. The guys hyping him for ESPN and draft websites must not have watched him all season.
I really do like Okafor. I think his defensive issues are a bit overblown. His pick and roll defense is a bit weak but with good perimeter D that might not be a huge problem. I think it is possible to build around a guy like Okafor but I think the Lakers roster would need more changes then would be required if the Lakers brought in a defensive center.
Warren Wee Lim says
Think about it, if the Lakers were to own #1 overall instead, how many would pick Towns over Okafor without a speck of doubt?
In projecting what their futures will become, basketball gods be smiling at their health granted, the dominant post player with limitations or the versatile-do-it-all player w/ no dominance?
At the end of the day, if this was June 2014, everyone would pick Okafor. A year later, due to UK’s unbelievable streak, KAT is suddenly the better choice? A team where he wasn’t the focal point of the offense or the defense? What happened in 1 year that KAT suddenly became better in that regard? Shooting the three? So stretch 5?
I’m sorry but I’m old school in this regard. I take Mr. Shancan-lite [combo of Shaq and Duncan] over Kevin Lovelier. [supposedly better version of Love, ergo Lovelier]
Calvin Chang says
Warren – Don’t you think it’s kinda pointless to debate Towns or Okafor? Yes, they are both great in their own ways. Lakers have the second pick. So just pick the big left over. If you don’t believe the Lakers should get the left over big, then that’s a more interesting discussion. Example – if Minn picks Okafor, do you get Towns or Mudiay? If Minn picks Towns, do you get Russell or Winslow over Jahlil?
Calvin Chang says
Aaron – Really? Winslow over Towns? What role do you predict Winslow will play? Is he going to be like Harden – creates plays with the ball in his hands? Or is he going to be like a Paul George – 2-way player who plays off-ball on offense and defends the opponent’s best wing scorer?
It depends on who you follow, if you followed clueless ESPN talking heads who know nothing about high school recruits then you would think Okafor was going to be the top pick this year. That however is incorrect in following people who actually know recruits and follow them closer than anyone. A recruiting analyst for high school basketball like Jerry Meyer (definitely a basketball mind and knows how to evaluate talent so follow him on Twitter), he had Towns as the top pick since last year. Towns has always been the better prospect based off potential long before this season started and long before he had success at UK, and actually if anything being at UK held him back from putting up better numbers than Okafor and guaranteeing he would be the top pick.
On Russell here is a pretty good article;
Quote from the article “The numbers dictate that Russell experienced a decline in scoring and passing efficiency against top defenses, but that isn’t too surprising for a player who just turned 19 in late February. He may not be as NBA-ready as his reputation, but his dip in numbers don’t suggest that he’s just accumulating big numbers against bottom-feeders. He is simply adjusting to the NCAA, like any freshman does.”
Is he going to be like Harden – creates plays with the ball in his hands?
Aaron is not a big Harden fan. Aaron likes guy with visible athletic markers that he thinks are going to be/are A-level defenders, and almost always sees big name players with D issues as being overrated (Bird, Love, even Magic). So Aaron’s Top 3 is not at all surprising to those of us who pay attention to what he values in players, and as soon as I saw Okafor play, I knew that Aaron would have some serious questions about him–Okafor is not really Aaron’s kind of guy in a lot of ways. My guess is that Aaron sees some Scottie Pippen and/or Kawhi Leonard in Winslow.
I expect that the Knicks will take either Cauley-Stein or Winslow at 4, and whomever the 76ers don’t take between Mudiay and Russell will slip to 5th or 6th. I do think that the Lakers will take whichever big is on the board.
Calvin Chang says
rr – I also believe Lakers will take the left-over big. But Winslow’s motor and coordination are really impressive. He makes things happen on both ends and his activity affects the game. Jahlil has questionable athleticism, but having a guy who is instantly an anchor in a half-court offense is hard to pass up if Minn picks Towns.
There have been claims on the board that high pick big men are more likely to be failed NBA players than wings for example. That may be true, but if true is no reason to avoid drafting them. Those of us who invest are familiar with the concept of high risk/high return scenarios.
Certainly the market for young, not fully formed basketball players is far from efficient.
I think I might agree with Aaron. I think Winslow might end up being the best player in this draft. I think he has the ability to be one of the best wing defenders (if not the best) in the league in a few years. His biggest weakness is on offense, but he was a much better shooter than expected this year. I think he needs to work on his ability to create offense off the dribble and a pull up, but that’s something he can improve on. I think Towns is probably a safer bet, so I wold take him at #1 over Winslow, but at #2 he might be worth taking a hard look at (you could probably trade down to get him and get something else back in return). Winslow and Upshaw (taken at #27 if available) would make a pretty formidable defensive duo, assuming Upshaw doesn’t just fizzle out of the NBA due to his issues.
I think Okafor will be a good pro. I wouldn’t be dissapointed if the Lakers got him. I am very skeptical of Russel due to his numbers against better teams.
Don’t know much about Miuday, so I won’t comment on him.
I guess I’m going to have to get right in it.
Towns isn’t the athlete people think he is. If he is going to be the best player in this draft it will be on his outside shot that I have heard about but haven’t seen. I see Towns as a B version of Tyson Chandler on defense (that’s very good) and a B version of Demarcus Cousins if he has that outside shot on offense (also good). Thats his upside. He will be somewhere between a good and very good player.
Mudiay has the strength, length, and fast twitch muscle fibers you want in a PG. I need my PG to be at least 6-4 so he can play defense and finish at the basket in the playoffs. But what I love about Mudiay is his coordination. He doesn’t have Weatbrook explosion but he does have Chris Paul like coordination. I see him developing into lethal PNR player that can put the entire defense on a string. And a guy with that king of coordination is going to develope a very nice jump shot. His downside is a very good player but he can be a great one… And I think he will be.
Winslow is my number one guy. That’s simply because he is bigger than Mudiay. Basketball is about size. I would rather have a very good wing player than a very good PG just like I would rather have a very good center over a very good wing player. Winslow is Kawhi with more spring and more coordination. He is more of a playmaker than Kawhi on offense. He will be able to show the world what he can really do at the next level. He is the best athlete in this draft and is the safest pick. At worst he will be a very good player. A guy who is one of the top few wing defenders in the game who can guard PGs, SGs, and SFs and on the the other side of the ball slash and spot up on offense. At best he will be a great overall player who can also be the PG (playmaker) of an entire offense.
Calvin Chang says
Very good player assessments from Aaron. Good food for thought.
anybody and anybody that takes Demarcus cousins talented as he is over steph curry or john wall please pass what you smoking brother lol I need that
I said it right after the lottery: Winslow is my pick, too! Good call, Aaron.
In the NBA Okafor will be an automatic double team on offense every time he touches the ball in the post, can’t say that’s true about any other player in this draft… Especially Winslow (laughing at all his hype, simply because Kawhi panned out).
Further all of this hype over recent succesful players, and trying to draw comparisons to fresh talent is getting out of hand. Most likely DRussel will not be like James Harden, who has far exceeded expectations given his physical limitations. So what do you have in DRussel? A SG with average height, average athleticism, and I wouldn’t say is a pure knock down shooter – he is pretty far from a sure thing.
If you aren’t grabbing one of the bigs, the only debate is whether or not to take Mudiay. Watch this kids highschool tapes (how we evaluate Kobe, KG, LBJ, etc) and listen to Larry Brown speak about him. He has all of the unteachable qualities that will make him a special player in this league, while already having an amazing feel for the game.
Still though, I believe the Lakers should do everything possible to get Towns with #2, or trade up to get him. And then select Robert Upshaw at #27 or #34. Let this two 7 footers grow together in the league… Both have shown flashes of amazing potential on offense and defense, grabbing a pair of 7 footers in the draft with that kind of natural skill… Unreal
Sorry but I am going to disagree with Aaron. Winslow measured out at 6’4 a lot shorter and not as long as Kwahi. I think he is closer to Tony Allen with a better jump shot. And I don’t think his jump shot right now is as good as it was at Duke. That read more like a fluke year when you look at analytics and his form. Probably gets there later on, but he is not doing much for you in the first two years but play defense (much like MKG).
Mudiay I think has so much Wall in his game. But he is raw. Again if you take him you aren’t getting a player for three years. Remember for the Lakers that means you lose a high pick next year AND hurt your chance to get FA this year and next. Guys like Durant want a team that is ready to go. And I believe the Lakers would rather get a guy who is good now and helps get FA next year than wait on developing a draft player. Also the Lakers lose the pick in 2018 as well. So being bad again isn’t a real option for them. That’s why I think they have Russell ahead of Mudiay despite Mudiay being the better long term player (on their board).
You can not go wrong with Cousins if you are getting a non-crazy version. Whether Cousins would go ahead of Wall depends on how you want to play. Curry goes ahead of both, but he is a once in a generation type player and there isn’t that player in this draft. Towns, Okafor, Russell, and Mudiay have all star potential and maybe all NBA potential, but I don’t see top 25 all time talent in this draft.
Towns will be a Love/Tyson Chandler hybrid (which is why he is going so high, but will not be a number one option). Okafor is Pau Gasol (Scores, ok defender, passes, high IQ), Mudiay is Wall, and Russell is a Ginobli like player. That’s my opinion.
Thank you much
It’s close but I would take Cousins over both Wall and Curry because he can create offense for teammates in a playoff environment better than those two and is a more impactful defender. I know this sounds funny as Cousons has never played in a playoff game. But his strength, size, and coordination make me believe he would be perfect for playoff defenses. I like Curry a lot but he is an off ball player. His game relies on others getting him the ball and an offense that can generate open shots for him. People were surprised by all the open shots he had in WCF… But that’s the Warriors offense. They took Curry off the ball this year and it’s worked wonders. If nobody can break down the defense on the Warriors against a great defense like the Cavs own then Curry is forced to do things himself and a night like game two will happen more often than you would think.
In my opinion Okafor (unless I see differently after his body transformation) isn’t a post up threat in the NBA unless he is playing PF (he can’t). I love his coordination. Love it. An I love his giant hands. But I think he doesn’t have the quickness or leaping ability to score at anything close to an elite level against NBA centers. If he can develop an outside shot and get a lot quicker he can be an Al Horford on offense. I don’t think he can improve that much athletically. I see him being a below average to average NBA player. Above average to good offensively and bad to awful defensively.
If Towns can develope a three point shot and be the first stretch 5 who can anchor the paint on defense he moves up to the top spot. Because being able to draw out the other teams rim protector will unlock any defense. I just doubt Towns can have that kind of range. But again I’m not working him out. I can just go by what the video tape shows me. And as of now he doesn’t have the quickness, strength, and coordination to be a top offensive option on your team. Also if I thought he would be elite defensively instead of very good to great i would also draft towns number one.
lil pau says
I definitely prefer talent-evaluator Aaron to prognosticator-Aaron or inside-information Aaron. Some really good work here. You may very well be right about Winslow but I hope you are wrong in underestimating Townes.
In general, it’s refreshing to be thinking about the future rather than criticizing the past.
Man, what a difference a couple of ping pong balls make! Even a month ago, my guess is that 95% of posters here would have argued we were in a worse position than a team like the Celtics. Does anyone here still think that’s true? They have tons of picks, sure, but they’re going to have to use them at some point and they’re unlikely to be high enough to reliably bring great talent. by contrast, we have similarly enormous cap space and the nucleus of a really good team for the future. If Randle is good, JC doesn’t regress, and the #2 pick is great, I can really see adding 2 FAs sometime in the next 14 months and being well on our way to our next contending roster.
Does anyone feel equally optimistic about Jae Crowder and Isiah Thomas?
June 25th can’t come soon enough.
P.S. Hats off to DS for initiating two really good discussions re: KAT and JO. And some really fine analysis and debate by all the usual suspects.
the more i see of Okafor, the more i hope the Lakers get him.
Justin: I am not sold on the mutual attraction you and other posters have about elite FAs and the Lakers.
1) I believe the assumption is true, that elites will look for an opportunity to win — when they hit free agency. So given the fact that our cupboard is essentially bare we’d have to figure out a way to add significant talent in just one year to put ourselves in a position to be attractive for a Durant, etc. I don’t think the Lakers should try and short cut what looks like a 3+ year rebuilding process. If we try and acquire ‘win now’ talent we’re going to blow the chance of a lifetime to do this right.
2) I am much more agreeable to assembling young talent that has a very wide window for winning. I mentioned previously, we are in the ultra competitive West — we’d have to vault over 7 teams just to get the 8th seed. That makes no sense. Likewise it makes no sense to sign players that are older, with a lot of miles, to max deals. I know folks will say that Durant will only be 28 when he hits free agency. Well its not the age, its the miles. Same thing with Westbrook — he is a beautiful player but he has sacrificed his body so thoroughly that I’m not sure we’d be getting true value for our investment.
Would I sign Love if he hits the market. At 27 he is less of a risk for hitting a productivity wall as he’d be under contract through his age 31 season. I would be concerned if we end of drafting Okafor of having him team with Love. That is not a fast/quick front line at all.
3) My preferred approach to building a team is a blend between the draft and young free agents. With the Lakers having to give up two of their next three 1st round picks we are going to have to use free agency more than I would like. However, I think there are some restricted free agents, Khris Middleton and Tobias Harris (both 22), that make sense to be very aggressive with. Also, a poisoned pill contract offer to Jimmy Butler would be wise as well.
Well I am convinced Okafor is going one now. I just read a story about the time Flip was coaching the Wizards and fell in love with Klay during his workouts. Flip wanted to take him with the 6th pick. The problem was that the consensus was that Vesley was by far the best player left. Of course we know that Vesley was out of the league a few years later. Flip learned to ignore the consensus and take the guy you want. We know he loves Okafor. So there is no way he passes on him regardless of what the “consensus” is. Lakers will get to chose between Towns ans Russell.
Okafor is sublime in the post. Guys that big with that footwork and touch at 19, that’s unprecedented. Let me say that again Lakers fans, it’s unprecedented, hasn’t happened before. The ONLY thing that scares me about Okafor is his FT percentage. Unless he’s Shaq or Wilt (If he was 7-1 like Shaq or Wilt we wouldn’t be having this debate) that free throw shooting is really going to put a ceiling on his offensive potential. There is obviously a history of big men figuring it out and being a decent FT shooter once they get to the league but there is also a lot of guys that never did.
If he ever did turn himself into a 70+ free throw shooter I think your looking at a 28-30 PPG guy by the time he’s 24. If your prepared to acknowledge that possibility and you still take Towns, you have to believe that Towns will have a Tim Duncan-like two way impact in the league which is basically saying Towns has the potential to be an all-time great player. That’s why I suspect Minnesota will end up taking Okafor over the fear of him realizing his full potential and dominating the league and haunting the Timberwolves dreams for 15 years.
Towns already is a knock down 3 point shooter, the guy just never got to showcase that at Kentucky. This was one of the few perimeter shots he attempted all season (not a 3 but shows his athleticism and shot), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lnR-kLulNZg
Also yes he is a great athlete if you haven’t seen him play don’t claim he isn’t, you say you haven’t seen him play other than video so why should we even consider your opinion? I watched him play in high school and college and can tell you you’re wrong about him in most counts. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AsPf5NrGYDc
Also I will repost this just so people don’t forget it, this is a 16 year old high schooler holding his own against the best talent in the NBA including Anthony Davis https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mLOQWTaD7i0
Vasheed, if anything that video shows me he’s even more average than I thought. He hit a ton of open shots because of bad defense, and he mostly knew how to pass out of a double. It still showcases he isn’t a great athlete, he can’t get great separation from his defender and he forces some awful shots. Definitely not top 3 worthy, I can find those same qualities in many players later in the draft.
As enjoyable as it’s been for me to keep up w/ the news on all the top prospects, it’s a bit frustrating to not be able to see everything the Lakers see (for example, would be awesome to be a fly on the wall during the conversation between Mitch and Coach K re: Okafor and the other Duke prospects). So many different permutations re: what Mitch and company can do w/ our three picks (draft choices, trades, etc.). For the first time in a while, it’s been fun to be a Laker fan. Hoping also for a strong free agency summer, and a clear step towards contention in 2015/16. You know, as opposed to the ten year tank being employed by the Sixers.
Re: Kobe … I would love for somebody to give me a remotely plausible reason his ceiling for next year is higher than the miserable showing of this past season.
The best I’ve read so far is something along the lines of: “he’s pencilled in for next season.” Fine — not nearly good enough. Any reason to believe he will do something unprecedented and contribute after three straight season ending injuries and in his late 30s to boot?
Have I mentioned recently that Okafor looks like Tim Duncan
“My preferred approach to building a team is a blend between the draft and young free agents.”
George, there is always risk in everything, do you think teams will just release their young promising players and trade it with ours? I’d put trust on Mitch and Scott decisions in choosing FA’s, I hope Jimmy won’t interfere that much unless the salaries of those players are over the hill. What is important is to find talent based on positions and that character or passion to take a role player if the starters go down. We won the 2010 when we picked on Artest (Peace) and Brown as a role player. They are not excellent picks but surely had a role throughout the season.
If you listen to Mitch interview, he just said that Lakers cannot depend on rookies alone, remember they are 19 years old and they need lots of experience in NBA before they can really contribute. Now with F/A’s they are the mercenaries on the loose, it is a judgement call in trying to choose the best one. Like for example, we opted for Lin than go for Thomas or Stephenson; Boozer was not planned but handed to us through auction. IMO, we should have competed for Ariza. We were short of Centers because of the cap, as a result the objective is tank in order to get into this draft. Would we tank again in order to complete the rebuilding your favored, basically it would lowest three? Very improbable to happen especially on Kobe’s last year with Clarkson and Randle eager to prove their worth. Therefore, whoever is available and perfect for that position, grab him and if you lose from his primary team, at least Lakers wasted more $’s on their cap budget. Lakers were not contenders last season, Mitch himself, said in the interview, we had a bad team last season. Therefore, Lakers are no longer the destination of the best players because the team ruined itself in the last three consecutive seasons.
I haven’t watched much NBA ball this year but the more I watch the Warriors the more I think they are overrated. The biggest reason why, their post players are jokes.
The Warriors live and die by Klay and curry shooting 3s, defensively they may have been great during the regular season but they are leaving guys open like crazy and lack discipline.
I’m with Warren. I’ve made up my mind. I’m for Okafor. I believe in Jah. It’s not just his skills, it’s his character. This guy will take us back to the promised land.
Chris J says
If the Warriors lose these Finals, right or wrong it’ll reignite the media talking heads pontificating about how “jump shooting teams can’t win the championship.”
I still believe Golden State wins it, but who knows? Game 4 will be interesting.
Knicks fans have to be beside themselves watching LeBron lead a cast of guys New York essentially gave away to a 2-1 Finals lead, without Love and without Kyrie.
That says everything about how great LeBron is. With Melo those guys were good enough to be part of an MSG fire sale; with LeBron, Smith, Mozgov and the Kid ‘n Play wannabe are suddenly key role players on a (possible) championship team. Hats off to LBJ.
Warriors went to david lee too late …. hes the only guy on the whole team attacking the paint ….he should start … kerr needs to adapt his strategy
Also, how lebron tackled curry and wasn’t called for a foul in the 4th was ridiculous
CAT….I don’t think the Warriors are overrated. I think a lack of Finals experience is hurting them big time. The Finals are a whole other animal. The Dubs have been surprised by the level of intensity required. The Cavs are playing some of the best defense I’ve ever seen. Their control of the pace and their adherence to a very sound game plan has the Dubs floundering. I don’t think it’s a done deal yet, but the Cavs are well on their way.
This NBA Finals reminds me of Lakers/Celts in 2008 where the refs basically swallowed their whistles and allowed the Celts to be as physical as they wanted to be. It’s taking a finesse Warriors team out of their comfort zone. Delly is doing a great job on Curry, but he’s getting a lot of help from the refs not calling all the holding. /rant off
Give me Towns over Okafor. The great thing about both of these bigs is they both seem to be high IQ players. I think the Lakers will end up getting Towns. Flip seems to be very enamored of Okafor. -> for good reason, but his FT shooting scares me after living through Shaq and then the brief Howard nightmare. I could handle Shaq because he was so darn dominant that it was worth it. I don’t know if Okafor will be dominant enough. Here’s one of the only times I have agreed with Aaron. If he doesn’t have the NBA size to dominate like he did in college, then I just don’t know…
As for taking Mudiay or Winslow. Unless you believe that either of those two are MJ/Lebron/Kobe type potential -> take the big man.
Ugly final. As someone has said, the Dubs got no post game and could not establish any flow on offence. I think Kerr needs to wake his team up, the Dubs are not playing inspiring b-ball, too casual. Perhaps, try 3-quarter press or something. When you have a runaway success during the regular season it works against you since you play fewer close games and the team’s weakness are likely not exposed until playoffs. We’ll find out what those Dubs are really made of Thursday night.
As for the draft, a young player’s upside is never easy to gauge. Highlights are just highlights. FO would have better grasp than most of us since FO has access to private workouts. I think this year’s final really shows us the value of having a big man who’s mobile enough to meet opposing player right at the rim (never thought I’d say this about Muzgov). I’m leaning towards Towns, coz of his quickness and range.
I think the Warriors ARE surprised by the level of intensity required, per LKK. Reminds me of Dwight Coward’s Magic getting flattened by the Lakers in ’09. Curry has been totally taken out of his game, tossing up prayers. And get a load of his behind the back pass out of bounds, not a Warrior anywhere close to the ball.
KenOak, well I’m a Laker fan for life but to be honest the Celtics beat our heroes fair and square in ’08. They just had too many horses.
It wasn’t even as close as the 4-2 game tally might suggest. In the Finals the game is simply more physical. Teams that can’t adjust, lose out.
I do agree with your stance of taking the big man unless the smaller player is a can’t miss all timer, and I don’t think there’s a magic, mj, or Kobe available this draft.
Craig W. says
From what I read here, Oakfor is Mozgov with better hands, better feet, better passing, and more offensive moves. That’s really not bad at all and he is more NBA ready than Towns, so maybe he could add more to next year’s development. Of course that is the reason Minny will likely take him #1.
I don’t think you’re remembering that series all that well. The final game was an absolute blow-out annihilation of biblical proportions, but the series was extremely tight and the Lakers had a chance to win game 2 and also a chance to win game 4. (This one is the heart breaker that the Lakers held a huge 24 or 25 point lead. The Celtics were allowed to be extra physical when the league hadn’t been allowing that level of physicality in recent years. Anywho… 2 years later the Lakers had a couple of bullies of their own in Artest and Bynum who still managed to play through his injuries. That, and, Pau Gasol refused to be intimidated the second time around…
I’m with you all the way on the draft pick though. Go with size unless the smaller player is a can’t miss superstar. How do they figure that out? Well…they ask Jerry West to take a look at him first! 😉
Calvin Chang says
Warriors are not overrated. We’re just simply witnessing Lebron’s greatness. Lebron is like Magic, Dr J and Hakeem rolled into a super soldier.
I’ve been watching Okafor highlights for the last half hour or so. His footwork is ridiculous and his body control is unreal. Are we certain that he’s only 19? I think I’m with Darius. Whichever big the Lakers get…we should be more than happy with. And by all accounts Okafor would love being a Laker.
T Rogers says
I think the Warriors not being ready for the intensity of the Finals actually proves they are overrated. At least up this point they are. Part of the reason talking heads picked them to beat Cleveland going away was the assumption GSW was ready. Of course, they can still come back and win this series. Although I have a hard time seeing LeBron let this series get away after taking a 2-1 lead. I think the sting of last year’s loss to the Spurs is still there for him. Right now it seems like Cleveland wants is more.
Here is my rebuttal for those thinking that the Warriors aren’t overrated.
First the Cavs could easily be up 3-0 in this series, that pretty much spells dominance. If a team is so much better (according to what people keep telling me) then A, why are they so easy to defend and B, why can’t they adjust to what the Cavs are doing with inferior players? My example would be the Spurs last year, Lebron was just as brilliant and more efficient yet no matter what the Heat did they couldn’t stop the Spurs because they were overmatched, simply just a better team. Now there is plenty of ball left, but Say if the Cavs win this in 5 or 6 games then how anyone can say they were’t overmatched puzzles me (which says they are overrated). Warriors have no presence inside offensively or defensively (although adding David Lee finally could help a small bit), they can’t get easy buckets inside and are 75% reliant on jump shots. In most other years I do not think either of these teams could beat most of the previous Champions spanning many years back. Eye test tells me they just simply are not that great, or in other words not as great as the guys across from them. Lebron is incredible but he is one man, this is a team sport and most of the Cavs players are outworking and outplaying their guy 1 through 5.
Also I do not think the Cavs are that bad, their players really showed up last night and just because they didn’t in both games at GS doesn’t mean they are bad it just means role players play better at home than on the road which is true for every NBA team ever.
For anyone who has played basketball, you know the easiest way to defend a shooter is to stay attached at the hip and be extremely physical with them (since most shooters are leaner and do not like physicality), it throws them off their flow and the refs cannot call every foul.
Honestly, Lebron James and Delladova both seem to be playing at a higher intensity level than everyone else on the floor all game long. The pure intensity and hustle of those two guys without let down is pretty insane. Tristan Thompson also seems to have an endless motor and is just relentless. Despite being short handed it really seems that the Cavs are just wearing down the warriors by sheer will, grit and defensive intensity. It’s pretty impressive to watch. It’s like the bizzaro world version of last years finals which was nothing but ball movement.
At this rate Delly is going to be the only 2nd string guy to get a statue made of him If/when the win this series! But the warriors looked a lot better with David Lee in there. They basically benched David Lee this year, despite his high level of offensive skill and passing ability. He made the warriors look a lot better, Draymond Green really hasn’t done much, except whine a lot this series. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see more D. Lee next game, which is going to give the Cavs a difficult time, vs. basically letting Green jack up 3’s.
Warren Wee Lim says
Craig has a point. I have a feeling that Minnesota will be picking Okafor and we will be picking Towns. Most of the people I’ve interacted with will be super excited because of all the hype KAT is getting. Because of this buzz, KAT and his agents are refusing workouts even for the top 3 pickers of the draft.
That and he talks to Karlito spell bad character to me. If he really wanted, he would’ve given himself to Minnesota and LA because we are the top 2 picks and we deserve to take a look at you. If you are what the hype says you are. Now by not attending, either he has a guarantee from Minny that he will be #1, a guarantee from Lakers that he will not fall past #2 or regardless, its just not high character.
Mudiay has been mentioned beside Okafor in mock drafts for 18 months running. The problem was instead of joining the discipline of NCAA, he went ahead to China where he would be a pro in a vastly inferior league. The result? His numbers weren’t even off the charts. And to think as a superior import on an inferior league would result on dominance, he put up decent-to-good numbers.
Aaron values athleticism, metrics and such… I value character, skill and coachability. And there is no better kid out there than Okafor that possess all three of those.
We just cannot agree even if we are not necessarily disagreeing.
Warren you are so wrong, Karl Towns has the highest character out of any UK player I’ve seen in my entire life (and I’ve seen a ton of greats through the program) Why don’t you google the hand written apology letter he wrote to the Kentucky fan base after they lost in the final four. Why don’t you google interviews of coaches and scouts talking about how remarkable of a young man he is off the court. How on earth could you ever describe the kid as having bad character? Clearly you don’t understand how the draft process works, his agent is telling him what to do, this is in no relation to character, it is gamesmanship.
KenOak, heh yeah I’d love to hear J West’s evaluation of this years draft and his thoughts on the top three bigs in particular.
Travis Y. says
Assuming we get Okafor or KAT, what free agent moves makes us more attractive for 17′ when Kobe comes off the books?
We need to get more athletic at the 2 and 3. Who are realistic free agents?
WWL- I think that you’re totally wrong about KAT. This is pure gamesmanship by his agent. My guess is that neither Okafor or KAT want to play in Minny. Okafor has heard the rumors that Minny likes him, so he comes out and says how much he likes LA. Towns, is just refusing to workout because he wants Minny to pick Okafor which would mean the Lakers would pick him. Every interview that I’ve ever heard with him seems to indicate that he is a very smart kid. Personally, I think that each of them are very intelligent and high character guys.
I still like Golden State to win the series. They win the next game and then come home to make it 3-2. Then, the Dellevadova’s tie it up at 3-3 and GS wins it at home. That’s my dream anyway.
By the way. Delly reminds me of Danny Ainge as a player. I hate him passionately. Yes, he’s dirty.
Warren Wee Lim says
I am someone that employs quite a few people therefore I know how to spot every talent, potential, weakness and limitation of my hires. I use this to know which people are sincere, talented, good, bad, weak, making excuses, etc. I also know how to spot crazy, like talking over his shoulder to Karlito.
Let me just put it this way, you guys like Towns, so be it. This is not where we put arguments that Mitch picks from to decide who to pick. I don’t hate Towns at all, I mean how could I? All I am saying is that the haters that put those things on Okafor are just getting widespread that it comes to a point that KAT is the darling (for good reason) while JO needs to prove something.
I go for genuine, sincere character in choosing my next franchise player. I go for Jahlil. But then again that choice isn’t totally up to me, I just hope Minny cooperates. Otherwise, I’m good. We can’t miss. And thats what matters.
Question for the Board:
If the Lakers’ are able to use their second 1st round pick on a PG (Jones/Payne/Grant/Wright/de Paula) do you think they could use Clarkson as bait to get another late lottery pick?
I’m not sold on Clarkson being a PG as he’s more of a combo. He’ll be 23 before the start of next year and he’s cost controlled for only one more year (after which his contract will go up based on market prices).
I would advocate moving him now as his stock is as high as it will likely ever be. Look at the names expected to go 10 – 14 in the lottery and I think we could pick up another building block that is younger and cost controlled for longer. He’d be attractive because many of the teams picking at the back end of the lottery want to make playoff runs next year, so Clarkson’s age/contract situation would not be viewed as much of a negative.
Warren I know about Karl Towns better than you. You’re wrong plain and simple. The Karlito thing was a fan base joke that he played up. You don’t seem to realize at Kentucky we have the most rabid fan base of any sport (bordering on lunacy), we dissect and analyze our players to a detriment, with that being said Karl Towns was the most professional and high character guy I’ve seen.
Calvin Chang says
I’m biased because I’m half pinoy like Clarkson, so I say no way 🙂 Clarkson is a future Olympian. #puso
I don`t think there is any way they let Clarkson go. He makes the FO look good,and they want to seem him develop. I do think they will be involved in trades involving their lower picks. Mitch said they will bring Okafor in again,and try to get KAT in, so the drama continues. Both players seem to be very close,but different in their strengths,so without seeing the closed workouts it`s hard to make a decision.
– @ reverend9, Cousins shines in an offense that doesn’t showcase his talents. Wall & Curry are involved in offenses built around them. Glad to share “whatever I’m smoking” w/ you at anytime.
– @ LKK, good thing I’m not sensitive. If my post about your idol are not to your liking, feel free to ignore them.
– @ R, “Re: Kobe … I would love for somebody to give me a remotely plausible reason his ceiling for next year is higher than the miserable showing of this past season.” How about this, he realizes what time it is, steps back from having the offense run thru him and truly helps the development of the Laker future in our #2 draft pick, Randle, and Clarkson.
Calvin Chang says
I wonder if stretch-5’s will become a trend in the next couple of years… Like what Aaron mentioned, if your center can draw the opposing center out of the paint, that opens up the defense. In that case, we might see a lot more Frank Kaminskis.
do you think they could use Clarkson as bait to get another late lottery pick?
No. I tend to doubt that the rest of the NBA is as into Clarkson as FBG is, and even if there is a team or three that really wants him, I agree with Ed. I think the Lakers will want to keep Clarkson. Again, next year’s pick is only Top-3 protected, so I do not think the FO will tank, and if they moved Clarkson, for a late lotto pick that would mean that they would possibly be giving heavy PT to as many as five rookies, if we count Randle as a rookie. I don’t think the FO will play it that way.
@ George: I like Clarkson, but see your point about being a tweener/cost control. I think costs are the lesser concern as the Lakers have cap space and the cap is rising. My main concern would be his upside which, due to his age, is limited. So if Clarkson’s ceiling is being in the top 15 – 20 PGs in the league the question is, ‘is that good enough to build around?
Here are the players projected by ESPN, to be out of the top five but still in the Lottery: Stein, Winslow, Hezonja, Booker,Johnson, Turner, Kaminisky Oubre and Portis. Some of them would project above Clarkson’s ceiling and some not.
I find Stein, Johnson, Oubre and Porter attractive and having more upside. I don’t think a deal would be worth doing for Winslow (too short for a SF), Booker (too one dimensional), Turner (concerns with his knees) and Kaminski (not impressed).
I guess, for me the bottom line is that the grass is not always greener elsewhere. Clarkson is not perfect but he looked very good in long stretches last year. Also, I would be concerned about creating a hole at PG in an effort to fill a need elsewhere.
do you think they could use Clarkson as bait to get another late lottery pick?
All this talk about character (Towns vs. Okafor) pertains to Clarkson as well. I was straight out impressed with his work ethic and attitude. I think rr is right – he’s probably not as valued by other teams as FBG – but I also think that we’ve found a guy with the right character, which makes him a keeper in my book.
rr …if they moved Clarkson, for a late lotto pick that would mean that they would possibly be giving heavy PT to as many as five rookies, if we count Randle as a rookie. I don’t think the FO will play it that way.
If ever there was a time that the Lakers should go slowly, this is it. I would not mind if the Lakers had 5 rookies getting PT — as long as they are talented. We’ve come off of two years where we pulled guys off the scrap heap and gave them too much playing time to what result — the worst returning talent in the league.
If the FO knee jerks this situation into trying to be competitive in two years then I envision a lot of bad decisions being made in the name of progress. And to what end? The Lakers finished 14th in the West last season. They’d have to jump over 6 teams to finish with the 8th spot and a chance to get blown out in the first round of the playoffs.
Much better to take their time and do this right. So, in my mind if Clarkson can be turned into a better player then I don’t say no. If a young core of 5 rookies has to take their lumps but the upside is an ultra competitive team with a long window to compete then I think most Lakers fans would agree with that approach.
That’s like asking if chocolate flavored vegetables would be a big thing. So far it’s been impossible to find a rim protecting center who can also shoot threes. But of course everyone would want one.
@big sid and anybody who takes cousins
how is he not in an offense that showcases him? hes the focal point of a losing team. and who ever said curry cant create for himself is just absolutely high beyond a reasonable doubt and please share the shit lmao
I am not saying that I necessarily agree with the FO or think that your idea is a bad one…just that I do not think that the Lakers’ FO will go that route.
BigCity — ok I know I’m being nit-picky here but the scenario you laid out isn’t a reason – I’d call it more of a hope. :0)
Hope ain’t a bad thing. Sometimes it’s all we’ve got.
I agree with you… I think the expectation for the Lakers to “get good quick” is unrealistic. And I doubt the FO behind closed doors believes we will be championship contenders this year, or the year after.
I do think however that Mitch saying that the Lakers are “impatient” and looking to “get good fast” sends a message to the free agent market. In my mind he is telling the Max Contract players of the world, that if you come we are committed to getting you help. And since this generation of NBA players are always looking to team up with other stars, this “impatient” front can be crucial in getting the first big time free agent to commit.
I agree with you though that I would rather see us build organic talent in house, and be patient… Last thing we need to do is throw Demare Carrol a max offer, and waste play time on Rondo. The Lakers aren’t in the business of winning 40 games per year. Whole thing or nothing
I think people here are reading Clarkson value the wrong way, i dont see him as a guy to build around, he can develop into a vital piece of whatever we end up with, but im sure he wont be the next CP or the next Curry, but he has a lot of talent, upside and he was a steal so he should be a keeper, about Towns or Okafor, it makes no difference to me who we pick, like the kid said, he is 19 years old with a lot to learn, IF we pick either one i be happy. Like i mentioned before the team looks to be moving in the right direction, the jury’s still out but the team could start showing signs of real improvement next season…
I think Winslow is going to be really good. If they’d been in the 4-5 pick range instead of #2 I’d be heavily advocating him, but nailing down a solid big man for a decade or more makes more sense to me from a team-building perspective. He may not be a superstar-in-waiting, but he’ll be a pretty good second banana or a devastating third-best player on a contending team: a guy like (comparisons are to their relative contributions, not style of play) Bosh on the Heat, Bynum/Odom on the 2009-10 Lakers, and Rickek Fishfox on the early 2000s championship teams. He’s probably closest to Jimmy Butler with respect to game, but maybe with a higher ceiling from what I’ve seen of him.
What I mean is the kind of player that you can count on to nail the big shot or D up like a maniac when your top two guys are tired, hurt, in foul trouble, or well-covered on a key possession. A team with Winslow as their third-best guy would be terrifying.
In an effort to stay on-topic, I’m still in for whichever big is left at #2 and trust that they’ll develop into a solid starter and cusp All-Star in due time while holding out hope that either or both of them will eventually be franchise cornerstone guys. Obviously, I hope the Lakers’ pick turns out better than the Wolves’, but as they hold the best card we have to settle (ha, “settle”) with the other guy.
Drafts are frustrating. Someone picked later will inevitably be one of the top two or three players in the draft, but we just have no way of knowing right now.
JB I wouldn’t be too worried about holding the best card. Blazers did with the consensus player in Oden and we know how that turned out. The draft is still heavily based in luck. The other part I think the Lakers proved they are skilled at developing and do a good job figuring out who they like (Clarkson, Randle, Kelly). So relax.
Absolutely right. Oden had some major red flags about his durability going in, luckily neither Towns nor Okafor do. Portland swung for the fences, to switch sporting metaphors for a second, and it didn’t work out.
I’m really fine with the #2 pick, there’s much less pressure than #1 and they’ll still get a top talent regardless of who they pick–Okafor, Towns, or some other guy if it rolls that way.
My “frustrating” remark wasn’t really that I’m frustrated about the uncertainty, I’ve just been reading a lot of nonsense all over the place* from so-called “experts” claiming one guy will be an all-timer and the rest of the draft are a bunch of chumps. In reality no one knows yet, but we can project and guess based off past players and situations similar to this year’s prospective draftees, a lot of which will turn out to be wrong.
I guess the next stage in the process is post-draft where all these experts pivot to calling their team’s pick the Next Big Thing when two weeks before they’d been claiming that the guy was the second coming of Jon Koncak.
*Not here, y’all are cool.
George, Keith, rr, Fern, et. al.,
Regarding Clarkson, relax. The Lakers are not going to flip him. Won’t happen. He just made All NBA Rookie 1st team and averaged 15.8 ppg, 5 assists per game, 4.2 rpg, and 45.8% shooting in 39 games as a starter. In effect, then, the Lakers stole him from under the noses of every other GM in the league. Now is not the time to discard him.
True, JC is still under evaluation. But he’s only 22 years old. Hardly a grey beard. He won’t be hitting his prime for another 5 years.
The Lakers are going to want to see him develop first before they make any final judgements. And they’re a ways from that. For the time being Clarkson stays put. Period. End of sentence.
Regarding whether he’s merely the object of fascination for FB&G commenters or not, I would strongly suggest that the vast majority of GMs have indeed noticed him and have begun to track his progress. (After all, that’s what they’re paid to do.) Below are a few teams that might have noticed Jordan Clarkson (together with the date of their last meeting and JC’s stats):
SACRAMENTO, April 13, 23 pts., 5 rebs., 6 assists, 5 steals, 1 block
DALLAS, April 12, 26 pts., 1 reb., 6 assists, 2 steals, 1 block
MINNESOTA, April 10, 18 pts., 6 rebs., 9 assists, 4 steals
DENVER, April 8, 21 pts., 3 rebounds, 9 assists, 2 steals
CLIPPERS (in the 2nd of back-to-back games after playing poorly in the 1st game), April 7, 20 pts., 4 rebs., 6 assists
PORTLAND, April 3, 27 pts., 7 rebs., 5 assists
NEW ORLEANS, April 1, 18 pts., 7 rebs., 10 assists
PHILLY, March 30, 26 pts, 6 rebounds, 11 assists, 3 steals
I would also suggest that OKC and Memphis remember Mr. Clarkson very well. After all, JC went for 30 pts., 7 assists, and 3 blocked shots (2 of those blocks on R. Westbrook) against OKC. Clarkson also played superbly against Memphis. In fact, Memphis had to switch Tony Allen on to him late in the game because JC was simply burning them too much. After the game, when Zach Randolph was told that Jordan Clarkson had been the #46 player in the previous NBA draft, his frustrated reaction was: “Who the hell’s evaluating this talent, anyway?”
Bottom line: Clarkson. Will. Not. Be. Moved.
Renato Afonso says
On a side note, aren’t you happy to see Shaun Livingston play in the Finals? Even if he could never become what he was meant to be, you ser glimpses of that from time to time. He still made it there…
-@reverend9 : http://www.sbnation.com/nba/2014/12/15/7393495/michael-malone-fired-kings-vivek-ranadive-reasons
Craig W. says
Absolutely! It is a joy to be able to watch him play.
One advantage of having a core of young players is that if they have the right attitude and work ethic,they will push each other to improve their games and sacrifice for the team if necessary, making the whole better than the individual parts. Okafor seems to be a good fit in both attitude and work ethic. Of course the young core has to be balanced with enough good vets to be competitive against strong competition.
Back to the topic at hand: Jahlil Okafor. Below are some quotes taken from Okafor’s interview with the media after his workout with the Laker’s yesterday (Tuesday, June 9th). The quotes are taken from Bill Plaschke’s article in the Los Angeles Times: “The Taken” (June 10, 2015). The entire interview — with glimpses of Okafor working out (and hitting some 3s!) — can be found at the following web site: http://www.nba.com/lakers/?ls=iref:nba:gnav
Here are the quotes.
On whether Okafor can turn the franchise around: “Not by myself, not on this level, not coming right in. That’s why we have Kobe Bryant here.”
On whether he thinks he should be the #1 choice in the forthcoming draft: “I’ve already said, being the No. 1 pick is not that important for me, it’s more so for the fan base. I just want to be in the right position with a team that wants me.”
On Karl-Anthony Towns, the Kentucky center who many predict will go #1 (or, at the worst, #2), in the draft: “He’s obviously a great player, he’s definitely deserving of being the No. 1 pick.”
On his primary strength which he feels is his dedication to winning (several Under-18 World Championships, a state High School championship, and an NCAA national championship): “I’m coming from Duke University…where the entire atmosphere is about winning…That’s what the Laker organization is about, that’s what I want to be a part of.”
On his reported defensive deficiencies: “I hear the criticism, but we won a national championship at Duke, so it wasn’t that bad. Coach K was fine with the way we played defense.”
Finally, on the Lakers’ tradition of having great big men: “Shaq was my favorite, then there’s Kareem. I would love to be here, to have an opportunity to learn from all those guys.”
In short, Okafor seems to evince that rare combination of humility, confidence, a commitment to winning, and a willingness to learn. He seems level-headed and devoid of any “attitude” or overt signs of emotional baggage. I also sense that Okafor would love to be a Laker.
The Lakers, I believe, could do much, much worse. I recommend listening to his interview. It’s intriguing stuff.
Warren Wee Lim says
We are looking at all these rumors and smokescreens and forget the in the real world, negotiations are happening as we speak. The Draft sort of depends on free agency even though it comes first. Reason? Because the Lakers can talk to the Agents in secret.
If the Lakers do end up dealing Clarkson, it would be for a wing like Winslow (but no one would do it on the other side so no thanks) and it would just signal that Goran Dragic is headed to the Lakers.
For what its worth, in a world of metrics, measurements, PER, and moneyball, the Lakers continue to own the value of loyalty, character and homegrown talent. Clarkson classifies as homegrown, and although his ceiling may not be a top 5 PG in the league, we don’t need him to be. We just need him to have all the makings on what we require from our players and working his butt off to get better by the day.
Clarkson, Randle and now Okafor, we can start building a good team. Chances are only Okafor becomes the perennial all-star, Clarkson will be a Mike Conley type of curve, Randle will have an all-star stint before his career is over… but this is the kid of team that we know we can call our own. Oh and we don’t need 3 roookie all-stars, we can always sign a superstar in 2016. Our roster seem to be in need of a certain small forward.
Warren Wee Lim says
Mid Wilshire, Bravo.
For everything good thats said about KAT, every fake rumor or so, every denied workout and such, Okafor still brings all the right stuff.
May we land the best player.
Regarding Clarkson, relax
I am totally relaxed about Clarkson, and I specifically said that I don’t think the FO will move him. You and a few others, actually, are the ones who need to chill when it comes to Clarkson.
Clarkson was obviously an excellent pick and did a great job last year.
Every player who isn’t the best player in the NBA is tradable. And I would have traded LBJ for Durant, Westbrook, Harden, and Ibaka four years ago. Having said that I would only trade Clarkson for LeBron James. But only a 24 year old James. So no… I guess Clarkson cannot be moved.
For some reason, I see Clarkson’s ceiling as a George Hill, which isn’t bad at all.
J C says
Totally agree on Shaun Livingston
I really like this guy’s game. Very versatile.
Hard to believe he ever had that insane injury.
He’s actually someone I’d love to see in a Laker uniform.
They tanked for the last two seasons in order to get young turks. They got a steal on Clarkson for half a million. Now that they have accomplished that job, to turn it around to make it into Winslow, or Dragic which is really improbable because figures don’t match up, then Mitch has really lost his value analysis. If you have keen on basketball talents and entertain trading Clarkson, I don’t know where that fantasy and imagination is coming from? Maybe, I am really an oldtimer to reach the depth and breadth of such thought.
The Dane says
I don’t think it is easy to develop 3-5 rookies from the same year, it rarely happens. There just isn’t enough of a culture around them for them to handle the NBA and grow. Which is why keeping Clarkson seems obvious to me. He is young for a point guard, but he is not a rookie. He has learned a lot, gotten a lot of the royal jelly. Now it is time for Okafor or Towns to be that rookie. I even have my doubts if it gives sense to have both Randle and the new big in diapers at the same time. Maybe move Randle for a future draft pick and a young vet!?
Im relax too, i really doubt they would move him, i was refering to some speculations i read, the only way the FO would move JC is if they get offered a helluva deal. Like i said, everything is still in flux but the ship is starting to right itself.
-Two more weeks of speculation before the 6/25 draft and a new beginning.
– Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying the #2 pick, Clarkson & Randle will become a new Big 3 and return our Lakers to the promise land…but I do like their chances of becoming part of the core rotation which will produce a superior win-loss record in 2015-16 than either of the past two seasons. And hopefully be joined by the level of talent in 2016-17 via free agency to instantly turn our guys into a top 4 contender.
“Everybody is Entitled to My Opinion”
`back to the topic at hand´ – fine post!
yeah, as someone mentioned earlier, he´s definitely bringing the goods, & with two of the team´s top talents out to boot! Wow.
LBJs primal scream after game 2 suggests he wants this one pretty badly.
For the record I want Towns but Okafor is also a great pick, blessing to have either one.
But for all people who don’t know enough about Towns, let me share some stuff most don’t realize. I’ve alluded to before, but most of these so called experts are basing Towns off what he did at Kentucky which would be a huge mistake. Calipari SEVERELY hampered his growth as a player.
As a Kentucky fan since we rely on new recruiting classes yearly for success, I followed Karl for a long time in high school. People thinking he’s only a typical center or defensive presence are mistaken. Some of you may find this hard to believe, but most high school scouts who were watching Towns his entire career were comparing the way he played to KEVIN DURANT. SEriously that is the type of skill set the guy possesses but wasn’t able to showcase because of Calipari. If you don’t believe me here is an article talking about it from 2012. http://thehoopdoctors.com/2012/06/is-611-hs-freshman-karl-towns-jr-the-next-kevin-durant/
What people are seeing in those crazy workout videos is that he can do ANYTHING on the floor, so he may not be as polished in the post as Okafor but he can do so much more everywhere else that is why his upside makes him the number 1 pick. So Aaron when you say you want to see a 5 who can shoot 3s, well you’ve found him he’s been a proficient shooter for years.
LBJ is playing with house money. If the Cavs win this series, then it will be because he “willed” his team to victory and “showed the heart of a champion” or something along those lines. If he loses, then it will be because he was playing without Kyrie or Love. Win/Win for him.
Lebron has played damn well, but I claim Delly is having a pretty large impact on this series with his defense against Curry.
KenOak — definitely Delly is having a huge impact. Mozgov too. They are both playing out of their minds.
And yeah, LBJ will be a Cleveland hero for the ages by pulling this off.
In regard to the Draft. I think too much emphasis is being placed on athleticism. The idea is that if you pick up the super athlete you can later cram into that guy technical skills and come up with LBJ 2.0. Too often that is not the case.
In the Finals GS needs to stop letting LBJ get the ball and isolate. 1 on 1 LBJ is going to have his way.
GS needs to try to take it at Mozgov and get him in foul trouble. Without him the Cavs defense is much more porous as was the case early in the year.
GS needs to run more double picks to get Curry open. The Cavs didn’t defend it very well in the 2nd half.
Dellavedova is a dirty player. He has caused an injury in the play offs earlier and it looked like he took a really cheap shot against Green to the knees. Surprised there hasn’t been at least a warning or something from the league.
GS should give Lee more minutes. They looked much better when he was on the court.
My hat off to Lebron. I didn’t think the Cavs had a chance with Lebron and the cast offs crew against the GSW juggernaut.
Agreed Vasheed, but Kerr has been thoroughly out coached. And its not because Blatt has done anything amazing (other than motivating his players), but that Kerr has not made the obvious adjustments that you mention: 1) assert an inside offensive game to allow for inside-out offense, as well as lateral offense; 2) do off-ball plays to get Curry/Thompson/Barnes/etc. space or switched on defense. GS has the offensive talent that if they create space for any of their outside/mid-range threats, they could take/make many open shots.
Warren Wee Lim says
I’m sorry Kareem but to say GS play inside out, it seems to me like you haven’t watched them play all year.
Anyone see the vid of the Latvian kid? It’s posted on silver screen and roll. Don’t know if it’s smokescreens but some are saying we are considering him with #2 pick. I actually thought his workout looked good but only post move is righty hook. Will he get pushed around being so skinny? And how is his defense?