My idea of the Lakers’ draft list goes as follows:
1. Dante Exum, but he’s expected to be drafted in the top-5.
2. Noah Vonleh, but he may be expected to be drafted in the top-5.
3. Julius Randle, arguably the best player available, but expected to be drafted before the Lakers.
4. Marcus Smart, not the best overall upside of the remaining players, but has the intangibles of work ethic and proven leadership.
5. Elfrid Payton, similar qualities to Smart but may have higher upside due to better quickness. Doesn’t have the proven background of leadership like Marcus Smart.
6. Zach LaVine, has better athletic tools than both Smart and Payton, but doesn’t bring the defensive discipline or the leadership of either. What he does have, is a better jumpshot over both.
7. Aaron Gordon, brings the basketball IQ, athleticism, leadership qualities, and work ethic. He needs to work on his skill level, which is behind all the players of the list.
What is odd, is this is the presumed list of what is considered the best players available in order of NBA projection and success.
If this is the list, it’ll be fun to see which players remain after the first six-players are drafted.
Hopefully, we can look to a rookie player that can start, be productive, while giving the Lakers cap space to go for a free agent until Kobe’s contract expires in 2016.