Armed with only a single 2nd round pick, the Lakers are going to have a difficult time improving the roster during the NBA draft. Second round picks are almost always players who can do one thing very well, but have a few too many holes in their game. This doesn’t mean the Lakers won’t be able to find a player who can make their roster; on the contrary, last season the Lakers had four 2nd round picks (Devan Ebanks, Andrew Goudelock, Darius Morris, and Robert Sacre) all of whom had to play at one point or another.
So with the 48th overall pick, the Los Angeles Lakers have a few options. The first option is to pick a player who they feel they can develop. Generally these types of players have an NBA-sized body, but need to work with coaches to get their game to the NBA-level. The 2nd option is to pick a player who excels at one thing, for example, three point shooting. Regardless of the players other abilities, the Lakers could certainly use a sharpshooter from long range. They might be able to find one here, but that is probably all they would be good for. The 3rd option is to take a risk on a player with question marks. These questions marks can come in the form of questions about size, injury concern, or character concern. This would be the classic high-risk/high-reward scenario.
Let’s take a look at possible picks for each option. Each player mentioned is expected to be available in the 2nd round of the draft.
Option 1: Developmental Players
Jackie Carmichael, PF, Illinois State
Carmichael is the type of player with NBA athleticism, but only a college-level skill set. At 6’9” 241 lbs, Carmichael has ideal size coming into the NBA. On a strict NBA workout regimen, you can expect him to put on an extra 10 pounds of muscle, and be at the ideal size for an NBA power forward. A couple of the knocks on Carmichael are his limited offensive game and his age (already 23). He is a smart player who knows where to go on offense (even if he can’t score from there) and is a solid defender. If the Lakers are looking for a PF to develop, Carmichael would be a great choice.
James Southerland, SF, Syracuse
Southerland is a four year player from Syracuse, who had his best season his senior year. As a 6’8” 221 pound small forward, Southerland is another player who already has ideal NBA size. Southerland can shoot the three well, hitting 39.8% his senior year. He has a nice looking shot that should translate to some NBA success. The main concerns with Southerland are that aside from shooting, he doesn’t provide much else. His career high in FG% was only 46.6% which happened his junior year. Prior to his senior year he hadn’t averaged more than 7 points per game. If the Lakers are looking for a small forward who can shoot the ball, Southerland fits the bill.
Option 2: One-trick Ponies
Seth Curry, SG, Duke
With the three point shooting success of his brother Stephen, Seth will certainly get a look at from more than one NBA team. He is an intelligent player who can shoot the ball like his brother (well maybe not THAT well), but doesn’t have a lot more to his game. He isn’t a great athlete and at 6’3” 179 lbs, is very undersized for the shooting guard position and small for the point guard spot. But after watching Steph’s shooting display this postseason, it would be nice for the Lakers to have a steady threat from beyond the arc. Seth is a player who would fit right into Mike D’Antoni’s system and could play right away.
Richard Howell, PF, NC State
Howell does one thing at an elite level and that is rebound. Howell averaged a double-double his senior year, scoring 12.7 points and bringing down 10.9 rebounds per game. His junior year he averaged 10.8 points and 9.2 rebounds. Rebounding is one of the few statistics that translates well from college to the NBA. He is a very physical player who can finish better than you might expect around the rim. His energy and effort are what NBA teams may fall in love with. Howell is always willing to jump 3 times while the other players are only going to jump once. He knows what his strengths are and plays to them. Howell doesn’t have great athleticism, and is very much a below the rim type player. Howell reminds me of DeJuan Blair on the Spurs.
Option 3: High-Risk/High-Reward
Peyton Siva, PG, Louisville
Siva caught the attention of a lot of people with his performance during Louisville’s march to an NCAA National Championship this past season. Siva is a point guard who can do almost everything you could ask of him. He is a pesky, physical defender, very athletic, and a solid playmaker. The main concerns with Siva are his size (6’1” 181lbs) and his shooting. As a junior and senior, Siva didn’t shoot the ball over 41% from the field. He isn’t a threat from beyond the arc, failing to hit over 30% of his threes since his freshman year. The bottom line is the Lakers need this type of guard, someone who can penetrate and find others for open looks. An added bonus comes from the fact he was coached by Rick Pitino and has big game experience. He would add that level of speed that the Lakers haven’t had since the brief stint of Ramon Sessions. If I had a vote in whom the Lakers drafted, I would cast it for Siva.
Myck Kabongo, PG, Texas
Kabongo is tough to truly evaluate, as he only played in 11 games last season due to NCAA sanctions. In the 11 games he played, Kabongo was a do-it-all type point guard. He averaged 14.6 points, 5 rebounds and 5.5 assists. Kabongo doesn’t have the ideal size for a point guard (6’3” 180lbs), but if he were to add some muscle, wouldn’t be at a huge disadvantage. He is a smart player who is always looking to make the right pass, but can finish at the rim if he needs to. At just 20 years old, Kabongo is certainly a better point guard prospect than current Laker, Darius Morris.