Within moments of the announcement of the official draft order at the NBA Draft Lottery, the pundits across the web started putting up their mock drafts. The Lakers fell one spot in the draft to #7 as the Cavs leapfrogged most of the teams into to the #1 pick. With the top 8 prospects for the draft clearly separated from the rest, the Lakers are still looking at a quality player with their pick.
Chad Ford of ESPN, one of the most well-respected NBA Draft experts, has the Lakers taking Julius Randle with the pick. Randle was Kentucky’s premier player on a team full of future NBA players, averaging a double-double for the season. With essentially the entire Lakers front court entering free agency, the Lakers certainly could be targeting Randle.
Draft Express also has the Lakers selecting a big man, but not Randle. Instead, they project the Lakers will take former Indiana University big man Noah Vonleh. Vonleh is much more of a project prospect than Randle, but with much more upside. His stock sky-rocketed during the Draft Combine. His physical measurements has scouts and GMs considering him as a possible center now, and given the potential he showed, he may not even be available at the Lakers 7th pick.
A handful of other mock drafts offered a little bit of variety in the picks. NBADraft.net sees the Lakers taking Marcus Smart with their pick. Marc Spears of Yahoo Sports also sees the Lakers landing Smart, while Matt Moore of CBS Sports also sees the Lakers landing Randle.
What is known is that one of the quartet of Randle, Smart, Vonleh, or Aaron Gordon will likely be a Laker next season. In any other draft, these four would be considered #1 picks. So while the Lakers did fall back in the draft, they still will find themselves with a great prospect and a bright future.