In the weeks leading into the draft, it almost seemed like a foregone conclusion the Lakers would select whichever big man the Minnesota Timberwolves did not select. This was presumed to be Duke’s Jahlil Okafor as Karl Anthony Towns began to solidify himself as the top player on most GM’s draft boards.
As time passed, however, Ohio St. point guard D’Angelo Russell gained momentum as a real option. And on Thursday night, that momentum turned into truth as the Lakers passed on the big man to select the guard instead.
From Kevin Ding’s pre-draft column on the Lakers leaning Russell’s way:
If the Los Angeles Lakers draft Ohio State guard D’Angelo Russell on Thursday night, as is the increasing likelihood, it will be for one simple reason.
They believe he is a star.
Although the Lakers respect Jahlil Okafor’s size and skill (his defensive potential, not so much), momentum and consensus have been growing in the front office that Russell, not Okafor, is the special one.
It’s not really so much the shift of the modern game toward the perimeter. This massive decision was always going to be about specific individuals, not the positions they play, and the vibe from Russell has been that he fits the mold of a leader, a winner and a Laker.
Only time will tell if Russell is the right choice. I do believe, however, he is a fantastic talent as I noted in my player preview when questioning if he would be worth the #2 pick:
To put it bluntly, Russell is a fantastic offensive player who really can do it all on that end of the floor. He possesses a smooth, refined game with equal parts savvy and moxie to be able to hurt defenses all over the floor with his scoring and ability to create shots for his teammates. Combine his skill level with his excellent size (6’5?) and length (6’9.75? wingspan) and you quickly see why scouts salivate over his prospects at the next level.
When watching tape on Russell, his scoring ability instantly stands out. His jumper is smooth and comes with a quick release. He has range beyond the NBA three point line, but has real comfort level getting into the mid-range, separating from his man, and hitting jumpers in the 15-18 foot range. Further, when defenders crowd him, he has a good enough handle to get into the paint and either finish with a floater or get all the way to the rim for a bucket. Not to mention he can do excellent work off the ball as a spot up shooter or as a worker off screens as well. Being able to score in so many ways and at all three levels of the offense will serve him well in the NBA as he should be able to keep defenses off balance by not allowing them to key in on a single aspect of his game.
The most impressive part of his offensive game, however, might just be his court vision and passing ability. It’s clear Russell has a high basketball IQ. He can see how defenses are moving within their scheme and then has an ability to think one or two steps ahead to deliver a pass to an open teammate.
One of the keys to being a successful point guard in the league is the ability to make the “next level” pass when defenses take away first and second reads. Many guards never truly master this skill, but Russell already looks to have this part of the game in his tool-kit after only a single college season. The complex skip passes, delayed entries to diving big men, and “hockey” passes where he’s making the pass which leads to the pass for the assist are all part of his arsenal, showing an acumen for passing which is rare in a prospect his age. His willingness to accept pressure from defenses and be a willing passer out of that pressure with the poise he does is just fantastic.
Ultimately, I do believe Russell is worth the pick the Lakers used on him. He has some growing to do, but that’s true of every 19 year old prospect available in this draft. I’m happy to say, though, that he will do that growing as a Los Angeles Laker.
Warren Wee Lim says
This will be a fun season Laker fans. We have someone whom Kobe can leave the torch with.
Danny Burke says
Towns was the clear, obvious, best pick.. Second to him is Russel without a doubt! This kid of the floor with the ball in his hands, has the same stat line as who!? Stephen Curry and James Harden! The MVP and runner up MVP.. #doyourhomeworkkids #cantpassupanMVP
Does this mean the Lakers are confident of getting one or two bigs in FA? Is Cousins dead or will Russell be moved in a deal? Many questions still to be answered. I would love to see Clarkson and Russell 1on 1 in practice.
Idiots !!!!!! Idiots!!!!! ……40% chance of being a bust and another evam turner …… garbage …… our FO tilted their hand in thinking they are guaranteed of signing either LA, gasol or love …… if we whiff on any of them in free agency our lone top pick in 30 years was a wash ….. garbage
He’s shorter than Adam silver. This better be a trade or Kobe will eat him before he turns 20.
10 teams must have called the hornets with justise right there
I’m with this pick. I initially had advocated for Okafor as being the safe pick, but Lakers swing for the fences. Russell really has all of the facets in his game and can run a team or get his own as necessary. While Okafor will be a solid player, I think the team felt that Russell could be a superstar. Time will tell. We are however in a much better position now with adding this pick.
If you’re going by the stats, that 40% came with a 15% chance of being a star, which was the highest in this class. Okafor’s? 6%. I don’t know how they come up with these numbers and I don’t know if they’re reliable. I’m skeptical about the stats. But if that’s what you’re going with, then I think you gotta gamble. We want to be the best, not second best, nor third best. The best.
Great pick. Now let’s make it work! It’s gonna be a lot of fun seeing Russel and Randle running up and down. Co-Rookies of the Year!
Agree with the pick, this kid has that high-energy drive you love to see.
However, I think you have got to make sure you grab Robert Upshaw – LA has the type of culture that will keep him out of trouble. Furthermore the kid can play
Not sure how all the Okafor people are now OK with Russell. So are we saying the pick really does not matter as long as the Lakers took one of the top 3-4 guys?
rr: Congrats – as you were one of the few who was in favor of Russell all along. Of course if this does not work, you will be fired as my GM : )
Ugh i dont even know ….. miami lucks out …..ugh
Robert Fisher says
I love the idea of a Clarkson Russell back court, Kobe at SF, Randle at PF, but who fills the gap at center? Considering they probably will not pick up the tem option on Jordan Hill, that leaves Tarik Black who is really a PF and Robert Sacre if they pick up his team option. Resign Ed Davis? Don’t pick up Hill’s TO and swing for the fences for LA, Gasol? I am concerned how Love would fit. Hopefully Mitch has something going.
rr: Congrats – as you were one of the few who was in favor of Russell all along.
Heh. I actually like Mudiay more than Russell, but yeah, I prefer Russell to Okafor.
And if Russell busts, I will not be the only guy getting fired.
who fills the gap at center?
Omer Asik, maybe.
People are already crushing Charlotte for taking Kaminsky over Winslow.
We really need to hire Nash to a assistant coaching position. Our offense would be fantastic.
Craig W. says
I agree that Upshaw should be on our radar.
Russell is the choice of Byron too, it means Okafor was not impressive enough to help the Lakers but a project three years from now. Don’t worry folks, if he turns out to be a diamond in the future Lakers could lure him back. Clarkson and Russell in the backcourt plus Kobe playing 3, Randle on 4 and who will be # 5? That’s wisdom of an underlying chatter in the world of Mitch’s “cupcake” of magic wands. Aldridge, Love, Monroe, Cousins, Gasol take your speculation to imagination surely, there will be 4th of July surprise. I am positive Lakers will not end up with Hill or Davis playing again as 5. Worst scenario, with the Showtime speed from 1-4 their center will be Sacre/Black, it will never happen!
Mikey K. says
Russell won’t be a bust. Those stats are part of a new system of valuation and don’t have the kinks worked out. Worst case scenario, he’s a little worse than Lillard, which would suck, but not be a bust. You just aren’t busting with a sweet shooting, ball handling guard who can stop and hit midrange, nail 3s, and make the choice between passing and shooting without hesitation.
But I’m devastated no Okafor. He has a chance to be the MVP one day. There’s only one other guy who has post scoring ability like his, and in the era of stretch 4s and floor spacers, that skill is MORE valuable, not less. Stretching is only valuable if you can do something with the gap in the middle. And nowadays, you can buy a stretch 4 for a pack of gum.
So, it’s going to be Cousins and JO eating defenses alive for the next 10 years, only JO is smarter, a better passer, more fundamentally sound, and doesn’t have manic depression, and is 6 years younger.
We blew it. Even if Russell is a 5 time all star we blew it. We had the guy. The best post scorer since Duncan, in an era you just can’t find those guys.
I think Russell could be special. I can see the case where Russell may not end up being an all-star but I think that potential may be more of an issue with the large number of talented PGs in the west than because he is not good enough. It would be pretty hard for him to outplay Curry, Westbook, CP3, etc. for the all-star nod. If he was somehow able to get pass these guys and make the all-star, I would be ecstatic. We’ll just have to wait and see. Here’s hoping that the team stays healthy and injury free so we can see them develop.
Now that it’s all done with, we can move onto the FA signings. I’m hoping that somehow Mitch works his magic and secretly gets us Gasol. Of the available centers, he would be my choice.
I am in shock. As you can see from my board…
Here is my final list of the top seven prospects. Probably two guys will bump these players out but I wasn’t going to watch five minutes of video on 40 prospects…
2: Winslow (switched back and forth with Mario my racism won out)
Unfortunatly this is an obvious sign of a horrible FO. When you start falling in line and copyng the en vogue thing to do, ie start following the herd, you’re a horrible FO. They picked this because ofthe momentum in the media that the “NBA is changing” etc etc etc. It’s just horrible to see the Lakers FO this pathetic.
I’m not going to say that they made a mistake. Russell is still a good pick. However, I believe Okafor is better. We will have to wait and see.
Robert I wrote about Russell being future star last week. Move Kobe to 3 and Clarkson and Russell at guards. Now go find a center. Will be fun season.
Could we sign someone to a max deal and then trade him for Cousins? Is that within the rules? Could it be made into a win-win for all parties? The other option would be to package Hill’s expiring. Would that leave the Kings enough cap space to go after a max player to replace Cousins?
Chris J says
Don’t worry folks, if he turns out to be a diamond in the future Lakers could lure him back.
Not that four or five years from now matters much tonight, but if I were Okafor I would be quite resentful of the Lakers and have a chip on my shoulder whenever I played them. He wanted to be a Laker and they spurned him.
Cant go right, cant dunk, will get shut down by nba players with nba bodies just like he got shut down in college against good teams
Okafor was guaranteed to be a dominant low post player ….. if we miss in FA it is back to the lottery next year where we will watch philly make our lottery pick while smiling with okafor and noel as their front line who compliment each other perfectly
Stupid decision … another evan turner
With the Russell pick, it also means Rondo is not on the scope nor Jennings and Dragic just downgraded the odds unless he can be acquired for 5M contract or MLE. Just go on any basketball site, Lakers were given an A+ on the pick. Apparently, we didn’t watch their audition and yet, Okafor was on the radar and practiced 2x, I’m sure all the legends are all whispering to the ears of Byron and Mitch who they think will help the Lakers soonest. We all thought Okafor will continue the Laker tradition of Centers but Lakers prefer a veteran to handle that Center position. You ain’t seen the whole story yet, have faith Laker fans.
hoping for another Magic, perhaps?
I mean o thought even Okafor is a better prospect. I don’t Russell as a starting NBA guard. But I do trust the Lakers. They have done all the tests. Maybe their doctors aaid he hasn’t finished puberty. That he will get a lot more athletic and coordinated. Who knows. But from just looking at tape I just don’t see it. I mean it’s crazy. I mean wow.
Tyus Jones still out there. I want him.
Sac drafted a center…Could/Would the Lakers trade Russell for Cousins?….
Gene – WCS will play the Four in the NBA. Perfect complement to Cousins. BTW Cousins is a knucklehead, I wouldn’t want him on my team.
Baylor Fan says
I would have preferred Okafor for his low post game. Given that, it is great that the Lakers had the 2nd pick and could decide which player they thought was the better fit. If they stayed at 4, I wonder if they would have drafted Porzingis?
Gene, not enough Sacto wanted more than #2 pick with Randle, Clarkson (Lakers offered Kobe’s contract too, that’s where they declined, just kidding!!!) Well, there is a moratorium on Cousin’s trade but Sacto would surely trade after picking Cauley-Stein. They want to get more players and Landry out of Sacto too, preferably trading with Nuggets but he will surely be moved before trade deadline. If not, Coach Karl will quit, the old coach has cancer in remission. He does not need another headache in his midst all season. Lakers is out of the Sacto wish list because they won’t offer Randle or Clarkson and all the picks.
Damn, wish the Mavs wouldn’t have done that haha
Keno: You posted this under the correct screen name. The Lakers hit the lottery, however instead of putting the money in treasury bills (Okafor), we decided to double down on Keno (Russell).
Kobes gonna play SF so whatever
Hoping for hollis or looney at 27 …. upshaw at 34
Baylor Fan says
A hidden bonus is keeping Russell from Philadelphia. Jumping over them and taking their man – priceless!
Let’s be honest with ourselves. No one here knows if this was a good pick or bad. Curry was a 7th pick. Westbrook a #4. This guy has potential. Only time will tell
There goes Rondae …. also another team with a Russel stopper
So far no trade of picks yet up or down. Are we going to see it on apackaage of 27th + 34th? Let’s see. Will the Lakers pick a Center on 27th or 34th, doubtful but weird things could happen.
Looney or RJ Hunter here.
With our 27th pick, theres a chance we get Dakari Johnson or Rakeem Christmas… NICE!
Larry Nance….whoa! A little high.
Larry Nance Jr…. What a joke. Blew that one big time. Wow
So are we the stupidest team team fracking drafting …… man …. my heads gonna explode
That was a horrible pick.
Maybe Mitch and Jim are alternating picks. Mitch selects Russell and Jim picked Nance. That’s the only explanation I could think of.
The only hope we have is he has elite shooting on the move. And that’s something you can’t scout. I’m telling you. That type of coordination and shooting touch you can’t scout. You need to move so much faster in the NBA to creat space. You can tell if a player will be able to make shots while moving at that speed. Because if he can’t get players to crowd him he won’t be able to beat them off the dribble to utilize this great passing I’ve heard about. Let’s pray the Lakers were promised he would get on PEDs and become a better athlete.
Could have gotten Nance with the 2nd round pick I would guess. Would have liked to have seen Hunter, at least they didn’t pick Looney, he’s nothing. Maybe Nance will be a good bench guy, we need another Luke Walton.
Lakers got another PF. I guess the Lakers thought he was the best player available otherwise why get another PF?
Absolutely awful. If the same scouts saw Nance as a 1st rounder, it makes me question the Russell pick. RJ would’ve been the perfect pick. Really hoping for Upshaw.
At least Nance is a different kind of power forward. Those hoping for Upshaw….he’s a great talent, but has some serious serious issues.
I thought I read somewhere that Popovich had some interest in Nance…
Boy, never saw Nance coming, thought it would be Christian Wood. May be a good pick, time will tell. Can’t say it didn’t take some big ones…
I see Nance as a SF
Nance projected at #54/60 by draftexpress… You could buy that pick that late if you really wanted him. Clueless pick. And of course RJ goes to the C’s, classic.
Upshaw has got to be the pick at #34
There you go, we stole him from the spurs. That’s a great strategy as well hahaha.
Ruben….no I didn’t say that. Besides the Spurs had a shot at him before LA took him. All I said was I thought I’d read Popovich had some interest.
The word I’m reading is that Nance’s stock rapidly rose over the last few weeks through stellar workouts and interviews. I’ve never seen him play so have no opinion on him. Apparently the Raptors and Spurs were considering him in the 1st round, so the FO may not have felt he would have been available in the 2nd round. Who knows.
There goes Cedi Osman. Damn.
The upside that we didn’t trade for Cousins is we can tank again this year. There is no upside that we didn’t draft Mudiay 🙁
Everyone thought Travis Frederick would be available much later than where the Cowboys picked him a couple of years ago. Do you think they regret the pick? He’s now viewed as the brain anchoring arguably the best o-line in the nfl. Not saying Nance is going to be an all star. Just saying you pick the player you want when you can.
Baylor Fan says
Maybe Nance was not such a reach after all: Larry Nance Workout Video and Interview from Chicago
Nance interviewed well and has the athleticism needed for guarding wings.
Anthony Brown….now this is a good pick. Nice wing player 3/D specialty.
Another guy people thought Spurs might take
Anthony brown is a good pick. I had him going in the first round. Lakers may have made up for Nance with brown.
Baylor: This was what convinced us:
Shaun…don’t sound so bitter. lol
Anthony Brown is a good pick. I had him going in the first round.
Are we playing without a center this year? I know I’ll like Russell, but would have been nice to have the next Tim Duncan for the next 12 years or so.
Baylor Fan says
So you are saying that the Lakers have moved on from 10 drunks in a bar to the Harlem Globetrotters? Very interesting….
History does seem to repeat itself. The thread started with the first use of the word “fun”, and now we have Aaron referencing tanking. That evolution took over a year during the MD era.
We have only 2 types of players on the entire team
1. Guys who need and want the ball in their hands to create their own offense
Kobe, Russel, Clarkson, Young, Randle, and possibly Brown
2. A bunch of crappy PFs/Cs
Kelly, Nance , Black, Sacre
no matter who we sign as an FA we are going to suck next year
Lets say we get Lamarcus … who is going to San Antonio … thats what 20Mil out of 24Mil we have in space
then we have 4mil to sign a starting SF … because if Kobe or russel gets injured someone will need to start at SF – Young starting at SF kills the game of russel or clarkson where it would have helped Okafor
I can see the light at the end of the tunnel…
Robert – My thoughts exactly. The whole tone shifted in a hurry didn’t it?
right on Shaun.
I hope in five years this isn’t known as the draft where the Lakers took Nance Jr. instead of Cedi Osman. He ends up on the Cavs, they know something I would bet.
Looks like no one wants to take a chance on Upshaw, he must be a mess.
My goodness Robert and Shsun, you two are terrible. Zero insight. Zero srguments. 100 percent hate
So…who plays the 5? Sacre?
How about the 3? The ghost of Wes Johnson?
The Lakers still have some major holes in the rotation. Chasms, actually. Let’s see what free agency brings. I’m most interested in seeing who’ll play center for the Lakers.
Maybe Mitch has some ideas. Let’s hope so.
Anthony Brown could be a good selection. Maybe a steal. He has a gorgeous shot…a classic, actually. He can defend, pass, and rebound. He needs to add another 12 pounds, at least. Otherwise he’ll get bullied in this league.
But I think he could be a real contributor. The Lakers were smart to draft him.
There are lot of FA bigs. Presumably the FO is eyeing a couple.
Nice. Anthony Brown. I like it.
Based on the Laker picks, I’m led to believe that we’ll be picking up a FA big this summer…
Let’s not write off the draft simply because there are still some holes in the roster. Did anyone honestly believe that the draft would fill all the missing pieces? Give the FO a chance to do some FA work.
Nance’s highlight reel on Youtube looks pretty good, I will hold out hope. Can’t be any worse than the combo of Wes and Ryan Kelly.
I was more positive about last years draft,although I think Russell can be a very good player if he works hard. I hope the Laker FO isn`t suffering from Curryitis. Don`t know where the FA quest is going,but one good big is a must.
Let’s analyze why Nance….Hill is not going to be renewed, the pick is an insurance for Davis opting out. It could also be a filler for future trades. Is Nance Jr. a better pick than the succeeding PF picks like Looney, Mickey, Harrell, McCullough, I don’t know much on collegiate ranks. These players are project and doubtful if they have a mission to help the Lakers immediately. However, tho’ they see some promising moves during the tryouts plus the father’s pedigree on the 27th pick. It’s possible that these are the players being requested on future trade, we don’t see yet the whole picture.
Robert Upshaw, from a quick glance at the draft list, was not taken. What’s next for him?
I’m excited about having a “potentially” special PG on the team. The team hasn’t had a good guard not named Kobe in a long while. If Russell can develop and adapt his game, this team could be really excitng. Him, Clarkson, Randle, and Kobe.
Looks like the team also made selections with defense in mind, a defensive PF and a 3D SF. I like the balance. We’ll just have to wait and see. The center position is lacking and suspect Mitch has something up his sleeve.
With Orlando taking Hezonja, they might be less likely to match on Tobias Harris, if the Lakers are interested in him.
Maybe that’s why they choose Larry Nance Jr. Born in Akron, Ohio just like Curry. And LBJ for that matter.
Robert — who says tanking can’t be fun?
At least the team has some experience tanking and should be able to do a proper job of it next year. If they can only add Rondo or better yet Wade. Another gimpy guard who needs the ball all the time.
For doubters out there on Russell, here is an interesting ESPN scientific workout of his passing ability. It is amazing if you imagine his passing the ball to Kobe, Clarkson and Randle.
Craig W. says
The Lakers ran the triangle for over 10 years and had Van Exel before that. As we have seen, Phil Jackson abhors a dominant PG. It’s not exactly a mystery why we haven’t seen much since Magic. With Russell our game will change and certainly should fit Byron Scott’s system much better.
We have more 6’5″ – 6’9″ players who can switch on defense. Now to implement a defensive system.
I agree we need some type of dominant presence at the center position, but we have plugged most of the other holes and we can max someone out this summer. I don’t think things look that grim for next year.
This sounds strange to say. But I’m actually most excited about the Anthony Brown selection. He could be the 2015 version of Jordan Clarkson — a real sleeper who could fill a gaping hole at a crucial position — the 3.
He needs to add some weight though. But if he does, I think he’ll be fine.
He could end up being a steal.
I didn’t see Nance Jr. coming, but he has athleticism, dunks, hits his free throws, range out past 15 feet, reputation for defense. Mitch had to see something to pick him here.
Anthony Brown, nice size, shoots it well. Not a total surprise like Nance Jr. Overall a great night.
Upshaw fell out of the draft which makes him a possible camp invite. I am concerned about his heart problem. I haven’t seen any follow up on the diagnosis but for him to comletely fall out of the draft it cannot be good.
So the Depth Chart at the moment looks like
Randle, Nance Jr., Kelly
Bryant, A Brown
Russell, Young, J. Brown
Biggest needs are Center and then SF
I say we need a center and another PF
If portland is blowing things up id say robin lopez could be the guy …. doesnt need the ball, sets good screens, catches the ball and makes decent passes from the post …. maybe we can get him for around 10mil per … as for a pf maybe milsap… black could play power but with the way mitch talked about randle in his pc it would seem tjat they might interchange randle at the 3/4 depending on matchups thadeus young could be another 10mil per option … could play the 3 or 4
That espn video is garbage
Nik Kannan says
Confirmed – this makes me happier –
“Lakers reached summer league commitments with undrafted bigs, Washington’s Robert Upshaw and Arizona’s Brandon Ashley, source tells RealGM”.
I like Upshaw & Ashley…hmmm
I think there’s potential on this team. Next season is going to be much more exciting than the last few years. I liked that this draft addressed some weaknesses in shooting (3s, midrange, and finishing at the rim), defense (exterior and interior), and athletism. This is a good foundation to build on. Now we just need to sign a couple of affordable role players to fill in at SF and C. If Mitch can swing for the fences and hit a home run on Gasol or another serviceable FA at center then I think the turnaround on the rebuild will be shorter. Once Kobe retires, that’s another potential FA signing that could set the team up to contend in a couple of years. I believe it’s possible. I hope so.
All the guys the Lakers drafted tonight are good passers. Showtime 2.0 anyone?
i dislike this pick on many levels:
1) we already had a more than solid point in place, developed him last year and then we pick up a russel instead of a future perannial all-star big to cover a position of need
2) how many minutes will clarkson really get? i cant see kobe playing the 3, to little in both size and frame for that position….could only see him at the 2, which leaves around 12-15min for clarkson
3) i think we got prisoners of the moment. you need a solid point (whom we already had), no question, but there are so many good to great PGs, especially out west (parker, RW, CP3, lillard, conley, blodsoe, even rubio or holiday) that i dont think russell will make a difference, at least not the next 2-3yrs…i think you missed out on a chance to establish yourself by going against the tide and develop your own identity by going with jah, whom no one would have had an answer for
4) i dont like to see the lakers going against their tradition of cornerstone bigs just because it is not ”fashionable” any more….we saw the last couple of years what an old timmy could do, a young oakafor will be a star in no more than 2 years and will beat most D’s by himself with his scoring and passing ability
5) you can’t teach size, but elite size with that kind of skill?!? you cant pass on that, as philly showed with their 3rd straight selection of a big, even NY passed on some more polished prospects to get a big prospect like Prozingis, heck the kings drafted a center and dont want to lose cousins, passing on mudiay, hornets passed on winslow to get kaminsky
6) i know his D wasnt that great, but 1,5blk per game if you have to stay out of foul trouble and invest so much on O??? not shabby, i think he will surprise many guys with his D, which i dont expect russell to do
7) WAY more bust potential than Jah
hope he turns out to be great, whish him all the best, but i really dont like the pick
Renato Afonso says
I’m still in shock… We had Okafor and we blew it. And we don’t need to swing for the fences when our roster is THIS bad. We need help to start turning things around and Okafor was that help. I really, really hope I’m wrong because if I’m not, this pick could set us back for a decade (assuming we won’t be picking this high in the foreseeable future). This one is going to come back to haunt us and I’m way less confident in our FO ability than I was before the draft. However, if they know they’re getting a top big man via FA or trade, then Okafor was probably going to be benched. So, I’m waiting to see how FA goes before totally losing my faith in this FO.
Porzingis at 4 was hilarious. At least we have the Knicks to get some negative attention.
if we end up with a big time FA forward/center, only then this pick will really make sense.
we still need someone to defend our paint, and provide low/high post presence, and i mean a veteran guy. Randle will play, but he needs someone to mentor him.
LA, Love or Cousins or anyone, not sure who fits us the best.
and,,, why did we drafted Nance??? 🙂
Russel won’t even sniff the all star game unless he gets voted in because we are the lakers because hes going to be behind westbrook, Harden, Paul, Curry, and Lillard in terms of ability for the next 5-7 years … with the west so full of guards as the primary offensive weapon we need someone who can stop them on D .. which Russel won’t, exactly the opposite, to be competitive and going with a big who has an unmatched game and touch for his age would have given us a different strength to counteract all the small ball everyone is doing
In terms of history though, Mitch was right in that we have always had a good guard and a good big … hasn’t just been centers …. Their workouts must have been the deciding factor … but if Okafor beasts …. like Renato said this could set us back a decade…. plus philly will get out lottery pick next year … .spinnin
Craig W. says
It is not important that Russell – or anyone on our roster – make the all-star game. The all-star game is a fan favorite contest, supplemented by a single coach. It is true the west has an awful lot of really good PGs. That just means we have to at least have a competitive backcourt – and now we do.
If history is prolog, then we all should remember the Lakers have only drafted one decent center – Vlade Divac – and all the others, from George Mikan to Pau Gasol, they got through trade or free agency. Oops! Forgot Bynum, but he didn’t really last that long.
What happened? I mean – Jahlil = ringzzzz
To maximize D’Angelo’s skillset, you need to play small and fast ball with a lot of pick and rolls. Byron’s old-school. Having a Jahlil you can dump the ball in the post to and get a 60% shot or draw double-teams fits Byron’s style like a glove.
I wasn’t big on Okafor, but definitely still wanted him knowing Towns was going 1st.
As others have stated unless we trade/sign a FA center of high quality, this draft pick doesn’t make a ton of sense to me. As Calvin mentioned, Byron Scott’s general disdain for 3ball and Pick n’ Rolls makes for it making even less sense. Unless he changes his tune, Okafor would have been a much better guy for this system. Hopefully Mitch was drafting with an eye for the Post-Byron Scott era, which hopefully will start the following season. We aren’t going to win anything with Scott as coach, even with better talent, unless he adapts. Clarskon/Russell aren’t going to be game changers but are definitely good solid players. But we have a glaring hole at the center position, we need a real bloody center no more PF’s playing center and no more Sacre experimenting.
Mabye this year will be more fun to watch, Maybe Byron can break his streak and we can win 30 games this year. Still waiting to see what Randle develops into to me he is still the guy with the best potential to be a borderline all-star out of the crew we have. Hopefully he is strong and is healthy, watching him play is one of the few things I’m interested in with the roster as it is now.
I like our first and 3rd picks, the middle one not so much. Overall a good draft.
I’m with Craig. Here’s a complete list of centers drafted in the top 10 in the past 30 years that ended up being All Stars AND where none of the guards picked before them ended up being an All Star:
End of list.
david h says
darius: lakers fulfill their need of a quarterback in Russell. hope scouts are wrong that Russell struggles against length because the nba is full of length. when your focus is to stop the opponent’s quarterback; we could be in for another long season unless the front office can pull off a couple of quality free agent bigs. proof will be in the putting.
Go lakers .
I think the talk about the Lakers’ “history of winning with great big men” is a bit overblown. Wilt had West AND Goodrich. Kareem had Magic. Shaq had Kobe. I think Russell will be great. As will Okafor. But you still have to build a TEAM around BOTH. The NBA HAS changed. Its position-less now. Which HAS to explain the Nance Jr pick. Maybe they envision him as a Lebron-Durant-Melo-Wiggins-Parker stopper. Maybe he’s trade bait. But one thing stands out to me: the FA list of potential Bigs is quite long. Even if we miss on the top guys like LA, Gasol, Love, we can STILL land Jordan, Asik, or pick from BOTH Lopez brothers. We CANT whiff on ALL those possibilities. WE ARE THE LAKERS! Even if we did, we have Upshaw as a camp invite. Im very excited about next season. I see a bit of Curry in Russell. Also love the A. Brown pick. My prediction, LA comes to LA. And plays the 5! Showtime 2015!!!
I’m optimistic about Russell, but I really wanted Okafor. Still, I am looking forward to seeing him play live and think he’s probably going to be very good. But, if the worst happens, and Russell struggles while Okafor leads the crappy Sixers to the playoffs, I have to wonder if that gets Jim and Mitch fired. Probably won’t happen, but something to think about. Mitch and Jim must have been sure about Russell to take him.
Same opinion as dominant one I’m reading. Okafor was the opportunity to fill the gaping need at center. They were well stocked at guard with Clarkson, Kobe, Nick Young.
However I can see Russell, Clarkson, Kobe, Nick Young, Randall and Wesley Johnson as a runaway freight train on the fast break.
team mike says