4. Joel Embiid
7 footers with impeccable footwork, balance, and stretch forward skills don’t grow on trees. Unlike most franchises, the Lakers won’t need their draft pick to be the focal point of the team immediately. That player will be allowed to grow into that position as Bryant’s career nears an end. No player in the draft has a higher ceiling than Embiid. Embiid has enough skill and athleticism to play power forward as well. The Lakers have always found quality big men. If available Embiid will be too good to pass up.
5. Julius Randle
Randle is the easiest player in the draft to project. He’ll score 15 to 20 points a night and average around 10 rebounds a game. He’s a bull of a man already, overpowering players inside. He also has a reliable jump shot and a suprisingly good handle that allows him to get practically any shot he wants. Randle will be an All Star. So why so low on the list? Randle has struggled against other elite big men and hasn’t shown much in the way of passing or defense. He feels one dimensional in the way the player he is most compared to was early in his career – Zach Randolph. Any team will be happy to take Randle, and he’ll deliver numbers; he just isn’t a transcendent talent.
6. Andrew Wiggins
Very few players can live up to the media hype when they decide to elevate someone before they have accomplished much. The University of Kansas’ team oriented style didn’t play with the narrative of Andrew Wiggins as the best prospect since Lebron James. Wiggins is a fine player, but you keep waiting for the greatness to take effect and those instances of excellence are in spurts. He has all the physical gifts you’d want in a prospect and has developed a reliable 3 point shot. He is also a good defender. His ballhandling,however, is shaky, and far too often Wiggins refuses to assert himself. His shy demeanor might not be a good fit for Los Angeles either. More than any player on the list, Wiggins would benefit the most from playing with Bryant, however. He’ll be a good player but anything less than being great would be considered a disappointment.