The Philadelphia 76ers want to move up in the draft, possibly to acquire an athletic forward, and are shopping their best and most consistent player, Thaddeus Young. The Lakers want to rebuild their roster with skill, athleticism and defense. Both teams can help the other. The Lakers could trade the 7th pick and the contract of Steve Nash to Philadelphia. In return the Lakers would get the 10th pick and Thaddeus Young who averaged 18 points and 6 rebounds for the 76ers last year. Instantly the Lakers would rid themselves of Nash’s contract which is the same as Young’s. They would upgrade their roster. Thaddeus is an athletic forward who can create off the dribble, finish at the rim, defend long and athletic forwards and he has a midrange game. He would add experience and skill to the roster. Furthermore he would be a complimentary asset to free agents Pau Gasol or Greg Monroe. The Lakers would still have the ability to draft a young player with an upside, like James Young, Doug McDermott or Tyler Ennis.
Chad Ford, ESPN’s draft expert, likes this as a possibility as well. “This might be a good scenario for the Sixers. Allows them to add an elite power forward at 7 (one of Randle, Gordon or Vonleh should be on the board at 7) and gives the Lakers a player who can impact the game right away with another pick.”
Why would the Lakers want to move down when many experts believe Julius Randle, Aaron Gordon or Noah Vonleh have the ability to be excellent players in the future? Because no one really knows how 19 years old are going to develop once they become NBA players. Some get injured. Some are busts. Some are just average. Some are unwilling to dedicate themselves to the intense preparation and work needed to get better. Some have difficulty with the mental approach to the game. Some are drafted by the wrong team and have the wrong coach. The truth is, once you get past the first five picks it is hit or miss. It’s just guessing. Otherwise Paul George wouldn’t have been drafted 10th, Jan Vesely would not have been drafted 6th and Al-Farouq Aminu would not have been drafted 8th. Over the past few years the Lakers have made a plethora of organizational mistakes. They are not a franchise built around the development of players. They acquire players once someone else has developed them. That is their history, that is what they are good at.
Thaddeus Young fits into this mold. He was a one and done player from Georgia Tech, a 6-8 athlete who has averaged 77 games as a starter the last two years. He plays defense without fouling and although he needs to improve his rebounding, Thadddeus, a left hander, has talent around the rim and a good face up game. He has good hands that creates steals and in the same way as Lamar Odom, he is best if he is paired with a strong center like a Pau Gasol or Greg Monroe. He runs the floor and finishes strong. Thaddeus had a four game stretch in 2013-14 in which he scored 25 points against Brooklyn, 30 points against Milwaukee, 30 points against Phoenix and 25 points against the Lakers. In the Lakers game, in Los Angeles, he played 41 minutes, had 4 offensive rebounds and 3 steals. At 9 million dollars next year he is a value considering his output and his durability.
If he is so valuable why are the 76ers shopping him? He is their best player, the only asset they have. The 76ers are in a 5 year rebuilding mode and want a young team. Besides, Thaddeus will be gone at the end of this year; he has a player option. Might as well get something for him if you can. The 76ers are trying to get a higher pick than 7 but may not be able to do any better than the Lakers.
For the Lakers, it would be three things at once: get rid of Nash’s contract, add a young player, and rebuild athleticism.