In this episode of the Laker Film Room Podcast, Pete and I are thrilled to have Mike Schmitz of Draft Express on to talk about prospects for the upcoming draft. The first part of our discussion focuses on Lonzo Ball, Josh Jackson, and De’Aaron Fox. We get into strengths, weaknesses, and potential fit on the Lakers should they select any of them at #2.
We then move into who Mike likes in the later part of the 1st round and who he might select at pick #28 for the Lakers. Pete also goes into a “lightning round” of prospects who might be available at #28, with Mike giving his insight into each guy. We cap off the discussion with Mike talking some about Brandon Ingram’s growth throughout the year and why Mike remains so high on Ingram as a player.
This was a worthwhile discussion with a lot of great information for Lakers fans to consider as we get ready for the draft. Thanks to Mike for coming on and being so generous with his time. Click through to give the entire episode a listen.
To state the obvious, building an NBA team through the draft is extremely difficult to do (just ask the Clippers or Wizards who did it for 30 years straight). With the one and done freshmen and other factors, it is a crap shoot at best. Hope always springs eternal though which is why draft picks are like new cars. Everybody wants them, but the minute you drive them off the lot, the value usually goes down. Many think we “nailed” the previous picks, so let’s assume that we did for a moment. Would we give up our current number 2 for either DAR or Ingram if they were not already on the roster? Do you think Randal would fetch a #7 pick with no strings attached? This will be our third #2 overall and then add the overall #7, we should have a complete powerhouse in the making. Do we?
Lol Robert. Are you attempting to bring us down, or searching for someone to bring you up?
Here we are in the midst of the most exciting time we Laker fans have had, in a very long while.
Spirits are high with possibilities, and here you come with your pin, trying to pop all our bubbles.
Well I’m keeping my bubbles behind my back, as even though our wishes may not come true, we need this time to simply enjoy, and release frustration, by allowing ourselves some much needed hope.
Now to listen to my favorite podcasters, Darius and Pete, the duo which can’t be beat!
Kev: Please re-read my post. The “statements” I made are pretty much – simple facts. Then I asked some questions. If your answers to those questions brings you down, well then I can’t help that : ) So again:
Would we give up our current number 2 for either DAR or Ingram if they were not already on the roster?
Do you think Randal would fetch a #7 pick with no strings attached?
This will be our third #2 overall and then add the overall #7, we should have a complete powerhouse in the making. Do we?
As I said – the dream of building a team totally through the draft and coaching them to stardom over 5 years is a very very difficult way to win a title (unless of course you draft someone like LBJ, Kobe, Shaq, etc – without one of those – very difficult).
The #2 pick has value not just for the player selected, but also for the *option* to select a player from a long list of available gems. Once the selection is made, the option portion expires and the value drops. Where talent is on similar level, the #X pick is always worth more than last year’s #X selected player. That’s not because our youth is no good, but because how option valuation works.
Only a handful of transcendent talents (LBJ, KAJ, KAT, Ewing, etc) were already surefire stars in the making as rookies. Wasn’t Kobe Bryant, the 13th overall pick, a rail thin17 year old that was bricking airballs in his rookie season? So maybe we do already, in Brandon Ingram. And perhaps Ball is really Jason Bourne, I mean, Kidd. So let’s have some patience and enjoy the ride, we get to watch us on the way up now.
Kobe at 18 was significantly more productive than Ingram was at 19, and Kobe at 19 put up an 18.5 PER. Ingram, at 19, by comparison, was at 8.5. Optimism has its place; so do facts. I like Ingram, but his age-19 season did not suggest that he is going to be a big star. Antetokounmpo was closer to Ingram in terms of age-19 production, but still better and has some physical traits that Ingram lacks. This year is key for Ingram; he needs to make a very strong move forward.
Kobe was not a direct comparison but reference to how it wasn’t exactly obvious that this kid was going to be the best player in the NBA over the next two decades.
BI’s issue is strength, he’s got great physical attributes and multidimensional basketball skills already. He’ll be better next year than his March peak, but the real breakout will be when he get strong enough, starting probably 2-4 years from now.
The fact that the Lakers FO has committed to BI, at the Cousins trade discussions and now with Magic, says something way more positive from professionals that see BI every day than your synopsis, which reads as if BI will be a bust unless he shows you way more next year. While there are surely risks with him, BI’s ceiling is not yet known. I think there is considerably more reason for hope here, which is different than being overly optimistic.
Didn’t say he is going to be a bust or anything close to that. As to the rest, I don’t think there are “risks” with Ingram. I just don’t see much reason to think he is going to be a big star. Like Russell, I think he is going to be good, not great. But we will see.
Robert, your questions are not the point; though this game of questions, would be better served at a point in their careers, when their potential is all played out.
No, the reasons, and timing behind your questions are what I was referring to.
They are, dark and imo in contrast to the times some of us want to enjoy.
Despite your hindsight, the only fact remains, is that future is not ours to see.
As such, I prefer to be optimistic.
That’s fine. But it is worth noting that Robert’s basic view of things the last four years–and he was saying these kinds of things well before some of them happened–was pretty much right. The team never went anywhere, and the FO made a lot of mistakes and was cashiered. The optimists may yet have their time–I certainly hope so–but for now, the optimistic take on the Lakers is working on a four-year losing streak. We will see how things go under Magic and Pelinka.
Fair enough. However though we were all let down in the end, at least some of us have enjoyed some sunshine, while others have remained in the doldrums.
I’d give up the current #2 for DAR as he is now and the I’d keep Randle as he is now if offered this years #7. Because they have shown they belong in the league.
I guess I’d give up the current #2 for Ingram as he is now although I can’t say he’s necessarily shown he belongs in the league – yet.
Couple of lists here.
Recent #2 picks:
Brandon Ingram/D’Angelo Russell/Jabari Parker/Victor Oladipo/Michael Kidd-Gilchrist/Even Turner/Hasheem Thabeet/Michael Beasley/Kevin Durant/LaMarcus Aldridge/Marvin Williams/Emeka Okafor
Recent #7 picks:
Jamal Murray/Emmanuel Mudiay/Julius Randle/Ben McLemore/Harrison Barnes/Greg Monroe/Steph Curry/Eric Gordon/Corey Brewer/Randy Foye/Charlie Villanueva/Luol Deng/Kirk Hinrich/Nene Hilario
So, I think Robert is right, in that the draft is in many ways a crapshoot, and as I have said many times, I don’t think the best player on the next Lakers’ contender is on the team right now. But at the same time, while the Lakers’ three lottery picks do not demonstrate any special wizardry on the part of the Buss/Kupchak FO, the picks actually do look pretty good for those slots.
lil pau says
Magic was on ESPN radio this morning– can’t believe he said this, but he did: he cited Ingram as the only player he wouldn’t consider trading.
LT Mitchell says
I agree with Magic. Ingram should be the lone untouchable, but there will be two untouchables on the Lakers roster soon……..
A Horse With No Name says
I disagree with Magic: I”d trade anyone of them for the right deal. But, if I had to name a player that I would be most loath to give up, it’s definitely Ingram. So I kinda agree. None of these young guys should assume anything: they all need to demonstrate their ongoing improvement and value. Keeping them on their toes isn’t a bad thing.
Magic really, really, likes to talk to media people, so he is always saying stuff. He will be a prime example of the old saying of watching what power does, not what power says. So I am not going to worry about anything he says, for now, and just see what the Lakers FO does under him.
Wow, so Magic wouldn’t trade Ingram for Karl Anthony Towns + Wiggins?!
If Magic thought any GM would be that dumb I’m sure he would consider that possibility.
Wiggins? You’re kidding. FYI, DAR had better numbers in his 20 and 21 age seasons.
I did mention Wiggins + Towns in a totally ridiculous scenario. It highlights something I dislike about the way Magic comments about the Lakers – something that he’s been doing a long time, actually.
I wish he’d knock it off, especially now that he has skin the game (again).
Thanks for the podcast and bringing in a talent scout to add to the discussion. The players who may be available for the 28th pick are enticing and I look forward to seeing who the Lakers draft.
Chris Jones says
I suppose there are two ways to view Magic’s comments re: untouchables: it’s good to put players on notice that nothing is a given, or he just undermined the confidence of all but one player now on the roster.
We’ll have to see which way the players take it — hopefully it comes across as Luke-like bit of motivation and not a Byron-like slap to the face. Each man will make up his own mind and react accordingly, obviously.
Here are my projections for the #28 pick, in order of value – from 1 to 10…
01 Justin Jackson
02 Donovan Mitchell
03 Justin Patton
04 Luke Kennard
05 Harry Giles
06 Terrance Furguson
07 Rodious Kurues
08 Ivan Rabb
09 D.J. Wilson
10 Edrice Adebayo
As you go down the list, the likelihood of their being there at #28 increases.
Seriously, this was the awesomest basketball podcast ever. Best guest, best questions, best pace.
A Horse With No Name says
I finally got around to listening to this while doing some household tasks (shoutout to Fred). I really recommend it if you are a draft geek or simply want more info on the likely draft options for the lakers.
A few things stood out: Pete Has his mind made up–Lonzo at #2. Darius, on the other hand, seems more open minded, and asked Mike Schmitz, the draft express director of scouting, the most incisive questions about fit with the lakers roster, and positional versatility. Pete also doesn’t like DeAaron Fox at all, and Mike loves the kid. This made for an interesting discussion about how much the professional scouting community values character as a predictor of a prospect realizing their potential–it’s huge. According to Mike, Fox has it in spades. Mike has the benefit of personal contact with all these guys, unlike our fan community experts. Darius also asked Mike a great question about the skills of these prospects and if they translate to the next level (mostly yes). This had me thinking about Lonzo’s greatest skill (passing), and if that extraordinary level that he has, is really that important to the motion offense Luke is running? Really, good to excellent passing is what is needed; but great shooting is what makes this offense go (Warriors). None of these top prospects are great shooters. Pretty much all of them are going to have to improve at the next level. This begs the question, what which one of these players has the highest floor, and highest ceiling? I think it’s Josh Jackson. Mike described him as the toughest guy in the draft, highly competitive and fiery–couldn’t help but think of Kobe. He’s being compared to Kawi and Butlerbut his athletism is more Kobe like, with his plasticity of movement. He’s a great passer, said Mike. A 2/3 who can defend 1-3. As a two way player, he’s the best prospect in the draft. I hope he’s our pick at two.
Good thoughts also on the 28th pick!
Another great podcast. Wonder if there is a possibility the team might package Deng or Mozgov with # 28 pick and begin moving expensive contacts?
Rick in Seattle says
Alan, great question. With Magic saying recently that he would prefer to focus on the 2018 free agent class, wouldn’t this be a good time be try to find a buyer for one or both of the Deng–Mozgov contracts? How could that not be a top priority this off-season?
Unless they are saving the Clarkson & Randle (if extended or renewed) contracts for an upcoming trade (for example to New Orleans in a possible Boogie trade), they will still be squeezed for cap space next summer should they want to try for two max contracts.
Adding extra cap space is also a potential plus. It would give the FO an opportunity to pick up a rental player or two along with some added draft picks, because its quite likely that trading Mozgov or Deng will require sending along either a player or a pick.
With their 2017 second round pick now going to Orlando, that #28 pick seems the most logical way to begin. So, agree with both your question and your premise. Getting rid of one or both of those albatross contracts early, helps avoid future headaches.
I was putting shelving in our new garden shed as I listened. Not a good idea – I had to redo everything as I payed too much attention to the podcast.
Looking at the Warriors offense, yes good passing is critical. Ball would allow the Lakers to actually run the offense instead of just parts of it. Look at how GS has made an all-star out of JaVale McGee. He has a 64.2% true shooting percentage and a 25.6 PER. All while earning the league minimum!
A Horse With No Name says
There’s no doubt that Ball would raise the collective passing IQ of the team, and perhaps really transform the culture of the laker offense. That’s the hope and why he’s a near consensus #2 pick. I would feel more optimistic about it actually happening if we had better shooters (and if Ball could score at all three levels). We don’t though. What is more concerning to me is the defensive end of things. The defensive pairing of Ball and Russell in the backcourt would at best be marginal, as neither has had success against quick guards. Both need to be paired with a good on the ball defender. I think everyone tends to undervalue defense as a foundation for team success. We saw how a D-league call up, Nwaba, made an immediate impact on the lakers at the defensive end; can you imagine the impact of a high level two way wing like Josh Jackson? Per Mike Schmitz, Jackson’s floor is Igoudala. That’s a floor I can live with. We can score; but right now our defense is a sieve and will only get to a higher level with better defenders on the floor.
Horse – you have concerns about the Lakers ability to shoot which I do not share but then you really like Jackson who is more of a scorer than a shooter. Nwaba is someone who would really benefit from Ball since he runs in transition and is a high flier around the rim. DAR is a shooter but needs someone else to pass him the ball. Randle is going to keep getting better. It seems at times that he has never needed to push himself and one of Ball’s skills is to get his teammates engaged. The bottom line for me is the ability to shoot is needed but more important is getting the ball in the right place at the right time.
I am not a fan of the Lakers defensive schemes. Did you notice that Pau no d Gasol got into good defensive positions away from the basket and did not get burned very often? K Love also got low away from the basket and did not give up easy 3s. It is possible to teach team defense and get the team up to average. Getting it to elite certainly requires some elite defenders but it is also important that everyone works hard at that end of the court. That is on the coaching staff and the players. Most players are going to get beat by quick guards and the key is how the rest of the team responds. That is where the defense keeps falling apart. The Lakers need to do a better job of deciding where they are going to let their opponents take their shots and then figure out who they need to patch the holes in their defense.
A Horse With No Name says
Thanks for the reply, Fred. Really good points. I get the argument for Ball, as I said in my post above. I think it comes down to valuing two-way players differently. You can hide a Curry when he’s surrounded by plus defenders. No amount of scheming/team defense, however, can make up for a lack of defensive ability in more than one or two players on the court. There isn’t a top defensive team that doesn’t have three or more plus defenders. The Rockets, for example, have Ariza, Beverly and Capela to make up for the sins of Harden (he’s better this year), and Anderson. Yet, they are still among the bottom in team defense! Obviously, the emphasis there is offense, but it’s plain to see that if you look at team rankings, having numerous plus defenders is essential to being a top tier team. The lakers have maybe a couple of guys, and maybe a couple more that can become at least adequate defensively. But that won’t take the team to next level. The team scores just fine. The offense was about league average. That’s pretty good for a young team.
I think you are probably underestimating Jackson’s offensive skills. Yes, he’s more a scorer than shooter–right now. There is nothing wrong with his shot and he improved markedly in the second half of the season. (In fact, Mike Schmitz said he’s a “difficult shot maker”–again a Kobe-like trait.) More to your argument about passing though, it isn’t that Jackson isn’t a good passer–he’s a great passer. So he’s going to be a ball mover that see’s the floor very well. More than a few draft analysts describe Jackson as having the highest ceiling of any prospect in the draft. That’s just too hard to pass up.
A Horse With No Name says
Fred: replied to you earlier today–hope it shows up.