The Los Angeles Lakers finally have a pick in the 2022 NBA Draft. It was long speculated that the team would “buy” a second-round pick and that is exactly what the team did. According to NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski, the Lakers traded a future second-round pick and cash to the Orlando Magic for the 35th overall pick.
Getting the 35th pick is a huge win for the Lakers. While it is still a second-round pick and we should temper expectations, that is much better than getting a pick in the 50s. With the Lakers having pick 35 they could realistically get a first-round talent that fell for whatever reason.
In a perfect world, these first-round talents would also be a great fit in LA.
Here are 3 first-rounders who could fall to the Lakers at 35:
1. Walker Kessler, Auburn
The seven-one Auburn center currently ranks 28th on Rookie Scale’s consensus NBA draft big board and with the way the league is going, it would not be shocking to see him fall out of the first round altogether.
Kessler is really intriguing as a shot-blocker and his ability to protect the rim would be the thing that gets him drafted in the first round if he does go in the top 30 picks. That being said, traditional, slower centers like Kessler have never been less valuable in the sport than they are right now.
Kessler tried to add a three-point shot to his game and attempted 1.5 threes per game last season but he could not hit at a good rate at all, shooting just 20%. Offensively he is rather limited with most of his action coming near the rim on dump-offs.
The 4.6 blocks per game in college are extremely enticing and while the Lakers have bigger needs than a traditional five, that alone could be enough to entice Rob Pelinka and the front office if he falls to 35.