Los Angeles Lakers select Vernon Carey Jr. in latest mock draft

(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

With the No. 29 overall pick in the latest ESPN NBA Mock Draft, the Los Angeles Lakers landed Duke center, Vernon Carey Jr.

The Los Angeles Lakers have been one of the best teams in the NBA this season. With a record of 41-12, the team has their eye toward the postseason, where they will be one of the favorites to win the Larry O’Brien trophy.

While the Lakers are gearing up for a potentially lengthy postseason run, not all teams are that lucky. Some teams are already prepping for the 2020 offseason, with the 2020 NBA Draft the first thing on the docket. As a result, there have already been some mock drafts released.

Despite the big haul, the Lakers sent to the New Orleans Pelicans for Anthony Davis, the team will have a pick in the first round this year. None of the draft slots are cemented yet, but that has not stopped people from mocking some drafts.

In the latest NBA Mock Draft from ESPN, the Lakers select Duke center, Vernon Carey Jr., with the No. 29 overall pick.

Carey is having an excellent freshman season with the Blue Devils. He is averaging 17.6 points, 8.7 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 0.8 steals and 1.5 blocks per game. He is doing it efficiently as well, making 59.1 percent of his shots, going 6-of-14 from the 3-point line. His free throw shooting isn’t great at 64.3 percent, but that is a decent place for a center to start from.

There is no denying the offensive talent that Carey has. He already possesses plenty of moves in his arsenal when he is in the post. If he continues to develop his shooting stroke, he will be a handful at the next level.

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Carey does lack upper-level athleticism and doesn’t have the greatest length, with a wingspan of around 7-feet despite standing 6’10”. However, he will have plenty of opportunities to showcase improvements in those areas as Duke should make deep runs in the ACC Tournament and NCAA Tournament as well.

While there is no denying that Carey is a talented player, the argument could be made that center isn’t an area of need for the Lakers. While many teams draft based on best available and figure out how to make it work, later on, the Lakers could target a bigger position of need.

Cassius Winston would be an excellent selection, as he would provide a steady influence at the point guard spot. However, he was mocked one pick before the Lakers to the Toronto Raptors. Carey’s teammate, Tre Jones, is mocked the pick after the Lakers to the Boston Celtics.

Scottie Lewis out of Florida and Jordan Nwora of Louisville are mocked as the first two picks of the second round. Both could be better fits for Los Angeles given that they play on the wing, a position of need currently for the Lakers.

Lewis has the intangibles to become a lockdown defender and the tools to develop into a good shooter. He is making only 34.7 percent of his 3-point attempts, but his 82.8 percent from the foul line is a good indicator that he will improve his shooting stroke.

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Nwora has the size to play multiple positions at 6’8″ and is a sharpshooter. That would fill a major need for the Lakers going forward as well.