NBA mock drafts are in full swing with all of the action from the NCAA Tournament and for the first time since 2018, the Los Angeles Lakers can actually make a selection in the first round.
Los Angeles has not picked a player in the first round since Moritz Wagner. Granted, the team could always trade the pick before the draft but as it stands right now, Los Angeles is going to get a chance to bring in a first-rounder.
The New Orleans Pelicans have the right to swap picks with the Lakers but as things currently stand, the Lakers actually have a worse pick with a better record. A lot can change down the stretch, but LA should be picking at the tail-end of the lottery or right after the lottery in the mid-teens.
3 most-likely first-round picks for the Lakers in the 2023 NBA Draft:
3. Cason Wallace
Cason Wallace’s Kentucky Wildcats did not make it very far in the 2023 NCAA Tournament but the likely lottery pick still showed out in the two games he did play. Wallace showed that he can score the basketball and that his three-point shot should not be overlooked.
Those areas of his game are being underrated because of the strengths that Wallace has as a player. Wallace is a tenacious defender that can switch onto either guard spot and even showed the ability to defend larger players in college.
Wallace is not a traditional playmaking point guard that is going to run the offense but the Lakers do not need that. LeBron James is going to run the show for at least one more year and Wallace can play off of that.
Even when LeBron eventually leaves, tenacious guards who can hit shots and play great defense have proven that they don’t need to be elite playmakers to be successful. Just look at the career Marcus Smart has etched out in Boston.