While most of the attention on the Lakers this draft season stem from them holding the #2 overall pick, the team also holds the #32 selection in the upcoming draft. With that, we will be having a series of posts on potential options for that selection. This installment looks at Maryland big man Diamond Stone.
Center, 6’10.5″, 254 lbs. Freshman, Maryland, 19 years old
23.1 minutes, 12.5 points, 56.8 field goal percentage, 76.1 free throw percentage, 0.4 assists, 5.4 rebounds, 0.5 steals, 1.6 blocks.
Big Board Rankings:
Draft Express – 30, CBS – 44, Sports Illustrated – 24, NBA.com — 21, ESPN (Chad Ford) — 32
One of the, if not the best names in the entire draft is Diamond Stone. The name belongs to a 19-year-old out of Maryland University. The 6’10 prospect came into college with huge expectations, but finds himself at the low end of the first round, to possible even early second round. For someone so young, he’s got a ton of weight on him and has a long wingspan of 7’3, which will really help him guard the center position in the NBA. While he’s a big dude, he’s also pretty quick on his feet, which can be really useful.
The young big man is gifted on the offensive side of the ball. In just 23 minutes, Stone put up 12.5 points on 56.8 shooting from the floor. What’s nice about Stone is that he can score in a couple ways — with his back to the basket due to his post moves, can face up, and even step out a little to hit a midrange. He was second in the Big Ten in two-point field goals made. He’s not entirely capable of hitting the midrange like an Al Horford, but he’s shown a lot of potential there with his soft touch and his free throw percentage. The hope would be that he becomes consistent enough that he can eventually start knocking down some threes.
Since Diamond Stone is so big, he was really good on the offensive boards. In his one year at Maryland, he averaged 2.2 in only 23 minutes a game. Per basketball-reference, he grabbed 12.4 percent of all available offensive boards when he was in the game, which put him at the third most in the Big Ten. He goes after his won shot, is quick enough to get by someone, and is also big enough create space and box guys out.
The offensive side shows a lot of potential, but he has a lot of work to do on the other end of the ball. The only strength Stone has on defense is his ability to guard one-on-one in the post, and that’s because of his size.
The biggest knock on Stone would be his willingness to pass the ball. He had just 15 assists in 35 games played. That’s 15 assists in 807 minutes of playing time. Compared to those 15 assists, Stone had 53 turnovers. Of all the time he had the ball, he turned it over 13 percent of the time which isn’t going to get it done. When he gets the ball, he sees only the rim. Just for fun, if the Lakers grabbed Stone and signed Hassan Whiteside in free agency, the ball would probably never come out of the post between those two.
The big guy will also struggle more in the post against older, stronger, and smarter guys. He was able to bully smaller college players, but once he goes against someone like Whiteside or Horford, he’s not going to be able to back them down the same.
Another area Stone needs to work on is his defensive rebounding. While he’s solid on the offensive side, he only averaged 3.3 defensive boards a game. He’s not a very good jumper, and he doesn’t really scrap after the ball. He ranks last out of all the top 100 centers on DraftExpress’ defensive rebounding per 40 minutes.
As mentioned earlier, Stone has to put a lot of time into his defense. He doesn’t try very hard and needs to get smarter on that end. Even though he only has about 13 percent body fat, he needs to turn some of that weigh into more muscle as well. The freshman did average 1.6 blocks per game, but he might have a harder time blocking shots in the pros because of his lack of a vertical.
Where he fits in with the Lakers:
I really like Diamond Stone, and that’s not just because of the name. He has a lot of potential, but he has to harness his ability. The hope would be that he is able to expand on his offensive skill set. It’d be huge for him to be able to step out behind the three point arc, but he also needs to learn how to pass the ball. Luke Walton could possible play a big factor into fixing this problem. He can also turn into an average defender if he puts more effort into that side of the ball, but he also needs to get his defensive IQ up. Going into a locker room with a lot of smart coaches can really help him.
As you can tell from our profiles on Stephen Zimmerman and Chinanu Onuaku, the Lakers will be in need of a big this offseason. Diamond Stone won’t play a lot of minutes to start with, but his fit with Randle and Nance could be ideal if he starts hitting jump-shots on a consistent basis. He has the tools and the touch, it’s only a matter of repetition with him. He would be more ideal if he was an inch or two taller, but his wingspan helps make up for it. Get smarter on D, work on a jump-shot, pass better, and take better care of the ball, and turn some of the fat in muscle is easy, right?
Goes after his “own” shot…
If we keep Randle, we need a more defensive minded and capable center.
Last year the Lakers tried to shore up their defense by getting a defensive Center. I approved of getting Hibbert becuase on paper it looked like the right answer. After last year I’m not sure if a supremely gifted defensive center would be enough to solve the Lakers problems.
Neither Russell or Clarkson played well defensively. I’m a bit hopeful that Luke will be able to use our duo in a defensive scheme like in GS with a lot of switching where the size of Clarkson and Russell could be great assets. So I’m in the wait and see stance on our back court.
Kobe wasn’t exactly a plus on the defensive side of the ball in years. That chapter has closed and at least A. Brown showed to be a pretty good defensive SF last year.
Then we get to Randle. I think he has played better defense than I expected but, he will never be a shot blocking defensive presence that can shore up the paint along side the team’s center. Fans implicitly acknowledge this every time they describe the ideal center to play with Randle as a defensive stopper.
You can hide 1 or 2 poor defensive players but not 3 or 4. I would personally favor trading Randle. I would wait and see on how Clarkson/Russell pans out this year and if that failed either trade one of the two or move Clarkson into the 6th man role currently held by Williams.
As for Diamond Stone, I’m not very high on this choice. He isn’t a defensive presence coming in nor does he move the ball well.
I’m also souring on the idea of bringing in a guy like Whiteside. He is a young defensive presence and a capable finisher. However, he doesn’t move the ball and I don’t think he brings in leadership qualities this young team needs.
I would favor a guy like Noah who is defensive presence, capable passer, and who is by all accounts a leader and a great presence in the locker room and off court. He is of course over 30 which means I wouldn’t want to offer him a long term contract. However, as the current string of articles suggest and I agree the Lakers should be looking for a big man with their 2nd round pick. If they find the right guy to develop they may have their future starting Center by the time a Contract for a guy like Noah is over.
Renato Afonso says
True Vasheed, we need more players able to play defense because, as of now, our perimeter is simply too porous. A center that’s able to play defense is a necessity not because of Randle but because we need players that can defend. Figuring out how o solve our lack of perimeter defense without compromising the offense is the hardest thing to do. Fixing the center issue is easier…
I think we are placing too much concern into our defensive openings last season.
I for one believe much of the problem stemmed from the fact that the vets provided a poor example to the rookies, thereby allowing holes in the dam that we could not expect them to plug.
Scott was also a detriment, as they began to tune him out.
With Walton and more experience I’m sure the Lakers will have that shield wall back in place in short order.
Matt’s mock 1st round
Simmons, ingram, j.brown, bender, heild, j.Murray, chriss, dunn, labissier, poeltl, sabonis, ellenson, d.davis, d.murray, korkmaz, b.johnson, diallo, valentine, Richardson, baldwin, beasley, mccaw, zizac, d.jackson, t.prince, bembry, d.jones, maker, siakam, d.stone
Nik Kannan says
Id really like to see the #32 pick be moved for a 15-20 1st round pick. In that 15-20 I like in order Richarson, Baldwin, and Maker. Let’s grab something good with great potential not something ok. Richardson to me showed what he is capable during the tournament and has continue to increase his value through the start of the draft process.
Are these picks in play using the #32 as leverage – That to me is a legitimate question.
Can we move up in the draft using the non-commit contract and value of the #32.
With Walton and more experience I’m sure the Lakers will have that shield wall back in place in short order
I applaud your optimism, & wholeheartedly support it.
Nice write-up Caleb – btw: I, too, thought `now that´s a great name!´ hahaha
I get the concerns about Whiteside but the Lakers would be lucky to nab him. Preferable to pinning our hopes on somebody like Stone, who frankly sounds like a bust from the get go.
I think it was Clay who mentioned Whiteside will get a stack of max offer sheets. No doubt.
I agree with the above posts, we need a more defensive minded center, however i would draft this guy at this spot because of his potential he would be a 2nd unit guy for a couple years and if he develops well would be a tradable player
@Renato, It is a matter of degree. It is true that one of the primary things a center is expected to bring is defense. But when your PF doesn’t offer a lot of rim protection, the burden on the center is that much greater.
@KevThe Bold, I put forth the suggestion of getting Noah to provide that veteran defensive leadership role. I think a lot of fans have an aversion to any player over 30 but, I think a team needs a few of those type of guys to really make things work.
I am in the wait and see view on improving our perimeter defense. I agree that veteran leadership and coaching had something to do with how porous our team’s perimeter defense was last year. I’m just not certain that will be enough. The duo of Russell/Clarkson may just not work out.
Baylor Fan says
Thanks for the change in topic and keeping the draft interesting. “Rim protection” needs to be a team effort. Golden State’s most effective lineup does not include a traditional rim protector and yet plays terrific defense. One of Hibbert’s shortcomings was a lack of mobility in the paint. Someone needs to be able to defend pick and rolls and be mobile enough to defend the rim. Howard has lost that ability since his Orlando days. If Stone can do that, then he is an interesting prospect.
Nik Kannan says
By far the best way to get the Center we want is to sign him in Free Agency.
The draft provides way too much variance in talent to production reliability for centers.
Sure Miles Turner looks like a stud from last years draft… but you look at drafts over the last 10 year, drafting a Center who is productive in the league is worse than Russian roulette.
We got lucky with Bynum. The best thing we can do is get as much great back court and SF talent through the draft.. continue to find a stretch 4 through the draft. Sign Centers through free-agency.
I like the commentary on Noah and agree with most – I would not mind seeing Whiteside signed to a long term – large deal – he is young and shows to be pretty ruthless on the defensive end and grabbing boards.
I am not a big fan of Diamond Stone for the Lakers.
I saw him play in the NCAA tournament and I was not impressed. Especially when Maryland played my alma mater University of Hawaii. UH was kind of a collegiate version of the GS Warriors, playing a lot of mid-sized skilled players because the team lacked talented size, and Stone was unable to take advantage. That doesn’t bode well for Stone’s potential success in the NBA.
I also think later picks (like the Lakers’ #32 this year) should be spent on high-variance players. By high-variance I mean players who have the potential to be great (if everything goes right) but whose “floor” may be low because of missing elements to their game. High risk, but potentially high reward.
When a team is a solid contender, that’s when it’s appropriate to look for solid contributing prospects. When a team is as bad as the Lakers, that’s the time to take big gambles, especially with low-cost late draft picks.
The issue with Noah is not just his age. His injuries, his production (serious downward trend) and his cost are also not attractive.
Clay Bertrand says
Eddy Curry 2.0. What is this 2002!!!???? Guy had a higher percentage of body fat at the combine than a Chicharron!!!!!
I think there will be better options.
I like Noah’s drive and fire, and agree that he would provide a great example to the kids.
Though at his age, he wouldn’t be able to stay around long enough, a couple of years with him, would provide a blueprint they could carry forth.
My only concern is his health, as I would hate to see us paying top dollar for rehabbing bench warmer.
So it’s a risk, that I’m sure many fans loathe to take at this juncture when we are trying to climb out of the depths of hell, and I can’t say I blame them.
It’s official, Worthy agrees with me. ROY: Ingram. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ivJbTZvf1g
And in case you haven’t read it, a little more about Ingram’s upbringing from back in March. http://www.cbssports.com/college-basketball/news/dukes-brandon-ingram-is-rare-case-of-a-quiet-creative-superstar/
Teams have to go out and sign guys every year. You might only have a guy like Noah for 2 to 4 years but the Lakers have young guys like Russell whom I think would be much better off 2 years from now from having a guy like Noah on the roster. I view getting Noah not just as what his stats would be but on the effect he would have on the development of the team. I don’t think it is necessary to plan on a guy being around 7 to 10 years.
Injuries are always a concern. Whiteside was knocked out of the playoffs with an injury. Noah is supposed to be 100% recovered from the shoulder injury. He does have a history of picking up some minor injuries but he also has played through those, demonstrating some old school toughness. The injury concerns are enough that I wouldn’t want to commit to a 4 year guaranteed deal. But I would be comfortable guaranteeing 2 years. Either with the 2nd year being a player option or 2 years with a 3rd year team option. I have no idea what he should be paid though with the rising cap.
I just think Noah brings a lot of value for the Lakers towards improving as a team both in short term goals (fill the hole at center) and long term goals (develop our players).
Vasheed and Kev — neither of you have addressed the fact that Noah’s production has slipped for three straight years…
2013-14 Noah’s stats were arguably as good or better than his previous year.
2014-15 Bulls added Pau Gasol and Mirotic to their front court and I believe Rose was healthy for the first time in ages. A dip yes, but understandably so due to having more talent on the team. Think of metta’s stat drops when joining the Lakers.
2015-2016 New Coach, new system, relegated to the bench, injured. Team imploded after his injury. Not much else to say.
Not exactly 3 straight years of decline.
The facts say the last year you would pay good money for was three years ago (2013/14) when he was 28. I’m doubtful that he comes close to the 12 pts 11 Rebs he averaged then as a 31/ 32 year old coming off of a shoulder injury.
Yes, the Lakers need a center — I don’t think it’s Noah.
Noah is a good player, but he seems like a guy who would be a better fit on a contender–like Golden State if Ezeli leaves, for example. The caveat is the usual one: whether Noah wants to maximize his money or his chances of winning.
Nik Kannan says
Noah is serviceable and could be very useful on a competitive team… Ideally we could just take butler, gasol, and Noah and plug them into our lineup without expending any of our players…
I agreed with the Hibbert trade but he wasn’t “supremely gifted” on defense anymore. He was a slow as molasses player past his prime at 28. Just my opinion but it seems to me that people are looking for the next Draymond Green. Or even the next Jordan Clarkson. I think the odds of that happening are almost astronomically low. Whoever we pick at 32 in a potentially better Lakers team is going to ride the pine, hard. I like what the Lakers have done in the draft recently but I don’t put a lot of stock on players this low on the Draft.
LT Mitchell says
Noah has been declining, and another injury cut his season short last season. He is as injury prone as they come. His stock is not very high at the moment, which makes it more likely that he would agree to a short term deal (unlike Horford who somehow stayed healthy all season). Unless there is a bidding war with Thibs for his services, Noah can likely be had for a cheap price. I wouldn’t expect more than 20 to 25 minutes a game from him, but his leadership and everything about his game and attitude would be invaluable to the young players. I think he is worth the gamble. Even if the Lakers sign Whiteside or another center who can pay starters minutes, I would still want Noah on this team, assuming it is a short term deal.
J Laker fan says
I gotta say, I’m totally against bringing in any more players that don’t play defense. A consistent thread through the past 3 years is that we get beaten on the defensive side of the floor time and time again. I’m hopeful the new coaching staff can make a difference in this regard, but it seems that our existing talent is offensively gifted.
We need to bring in players that can immediately contribute on the defensive end. Look at Roberson for OKC- he had a huge impact with a very limited offensive game. Sign me up for a player like that.
Would you give Noah $25 mil over two years for 6 pts and 8 boards a game?
I think, with the amount of money out there, that’s what he could get.
LT Mitchell says
6pts 8rbs seems like a realistic expectation, with 4 assists. Coming off a season ending injury, along with his foot issues, I would hope we could sign him for cheaper than $25mil.
Next yr has an amazing big free agent pool. I’m thinking the Lakers try for the biggest names; assuming we don’t land any (safe assumption, although Whiteside may be more than a small possibility), we’ll be going for a combo of reasonable contracts (i.e., Williams, Bass) and 1-yr overpays (i.e., Hibbert) to get to the cap min. I can see us going for Noah w/ the overpay if we strike out on the better center options (Whiteside, Ezeli, Biyombo) and he doesn’t see any contracts he likes. Would be a great locker room presence, and we’ll def need that next yr.
J C says
Noah’s veteran leadership is enhanced by his unselfishness. This is key – and I guarantee this is something Luke will emphasize when building his new culture. It will be a novel idea for some who’ve grown accustomed to our previous culture, no offense Kobe. Attention to defensive assignments and rotations that Noah would bring also helps younger players long term, even after he’s gone, as someone said above.
Look at the number of minutes Bogut plays. He starts the games but often doesn’t finish them but he always seems to have an impact on the game. Bogut is also an excellent passer, like Noah. Same for Pau Gasol, whom I’d love to see return, although he’s probably headed to SA.
Noah’s also the son of a great tennis star which kind of mirrors the trend of successful NBA sons – Klay and Steph for example.
Diamond Stone should be signed at all costs – his name has Hollywood written all over it.
Barry — what are you basing your optimism for signing Whiteside. I think the Lakers are a very long shot. He either stays in Miami or has his choice of the other 20+ max offers on the table.
Noah will be 32 in February and played 29 games last year, 67 the year before, and was worked very hard by Tom Thibodeau. In addition to that, his shooting numbers cratered in several key areas.
Ben bentil at #32
Good stuff sbout noah, could be for value, and allow for a quality backup center to be signed, I’ve been saying i believe that the center position is becoming a role player type position, where you need 2 good players to share minutes, and it’s been said lakers have so many offensive players even on the 2nd unit, so a defensive minded backup center is good too. Noah and biyombo would be a great combo, at 30 mil a year for both.
BTW ezeli is getting clowned
Both Barnes and Ezeli are playing terrible. I hope the Lakers don’t go after these two.
I hope this ends the debate about barnes possibly joining our lakers.
Btt: as noted in another thread, i wouldnt pick a center with #32, as i think black is our backup of the future. As 3rd option i would keep sacre, because his cap hit would be minimal as well, we know what we have in him (solid mid range game, max effort every minute) plus he is our #1 cheerleader xD
Patrick mccaw at #32
Marlon Blodgett says
Noah is old, injury prone,on the downside of his prime three years ago and would skim a big chunk off the top of our cap. And I dont think he could guard Bass or Black who we can aquire both for a third of the cost.Spend on healthy low risk pros, spend big on healthy low risk stars in thier prime. Improve every roster spot from 1to15, we need the 32nd to improve our roster this year. Diamond stone makes this roster, Zimmerman makes it , Bentil has got alot. Something nice may drop to us or maybe Nick and the 32 and some cash can get us a little closer, I am counting on Mitch and ryan West to nail this.
Skimming through recent posts and had a couple of thoughts:
On drafting a center, I think we should focus on ones that have better defensive skills than offensive skills. It seems like the “centers” in the GSW motion offense score as result of breakdowns caused by penetration or ball movement and aren’t a primary focus to begin with. Could be the talent at GSW or I’ve just missed it. My thinking is that the offensive skills required in this type of system are more easily learned than the attitude and agility required to be good defensive center, especially if the center is required to switch and guard several positions.
On Ingram, I prefer him, but if his potential is becoming more obvious to us then I’m assuming that it is also becoming more obvious to the Sixers. I think he would be a better fit there than here. While the fans may be clamoring for Simmons (although I have no idea), I think the Colangelo’s won’t be swayed by that if Ingram is really that good because the fans will come around once he starts to play. Look at how fan opinion switched with Porzingis. Simmons not working out also makes it easier to go with Ingram. It’s all posturing now, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Ingram go to Philly.
magic johnson at #32
Rose to da Bulls. Gutsy move by Phil. Gotta give credit when credits due.