For the first time in five years, the Los Angeles Lakers have the chance to take a prospect in the first round of the NBA Draft. That is, as long as the team does not make a mistake and trade the 17th pick for a veteran who is a marginal upgrade.
There is also speculation that the Lake Show could try and move down in the draft, picking up two first-round picks for the price of one. If that is indeed the desired goal the Lake Show has a perfect trade partner to do business with.
For this NBA mock draft, though, the Lakers will stay put and will take a prospect with the 17th pick and 45th pick. To orchestrate this NBA mock draft, we used Fanspo’s NBA Mock Draft Simulator and selected for the Lakers based on the prospects still on the board.
And as the title indicates, there was a pretty unique trend.
NBA mock draft: Lakers select Kobe Bufkin with the 17th pick
Kobe Bufkin is expected to fall right in the range of the Lakers’ selection and while he admittedly is not the best combo guard that the Lakers could get with the 17th pick, there are reasons to believe that LA will take him.
Los Angeles needs point guard depth. Adding Chris Paul is reportedly part of the team’s “Plan A” offseason but that seems less likely with the Clippers potentially pursuing a trade. This shows that the team is desperate to add point guard help, though, which helps Bufkin’s case.
Bufkin also played for the University of Michigan, which definitely has an impact on his draft case with the Lakers. Rob Pelinka is a Michigan guy and the last prospect he took in the first round (Moritz Wagner) played for Michigan.
Bufkin has traits that could develop nicely in Los Angeles. While his three-point percentage wasn’t fantastic (35.5% last season), his jump shot is smooth and it can continue to develop at the NBA level. More importantly, Bufkin is one of the best defensive guards in the class while having plus athleticism.
The Lakers could do a lot with Bufkin’s ability to drive and kick and can continue to develop his jumper and playmaking around that. He is a bit on the smaller side and may not get as much run in a playoff series or in key moments, but the traits are there for him to be an impactful player off the bench in year one.
NBA mock draft: Lakers select Kobe Brown with 45th pick
What is better than adding one Kobe to the Los Angeles Lakers? Adding another. This is more than just a bit, though, as Kobe Brown should be considered one of the best-case prospects for the Lake Show with the 45th pick in the draft.
There are a few things the Lakers should be looking for in the second round. They should be looking for someone that can shoot, someone who is malleable and isn’t pigeonholed into one specific role and someone who has experience in college.
With two picks in the draft, Los Angeles is better off taking a junior or senior in the second round. These players do not have as high of ceilings as the younger prospects but they typically can have a bigger impact right away as they are further along in their development.
Brown checks all of those boxes. The senior forward from Missouri provides the wing depth that the Lakers need and can play anywhere from the two to the four depending on the lineup around him and the matchup against the other team.
Best of all? Brown shot a staggering 45.5% from beyond the arc in his senior year on 3.3 attempts per game. He wasn’t overly consistent from three (shooting 20.6% the year prior) but he proved in his senior season that the potential to be a great shooter is there.