5 projected late lottery picks Lakers should steal if they slide to No. 17

The Los Angeles Lakers have a pick just outside of the lottery, but projected top-14 prospects could fall to No. 17. Who should L.A.gamble on?
Big East Basketball Tournament Semifinals
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Ja'Kobe Walter, Baylor Bears

At this stage of his development, Ja'Kobe Walter is effectively all upside. There have been glimpses of a true three-level scorer, as well as a high-level defender, but his current inefficiency may lead some general managers to pass on drafting him in the lottery range.

The Los Angeles Lakers should be prepared for that possibility, as Walter has the upside to be a starting-caliber player.

Walter was measured at 6'4.25" without shoes, with a 6'10" wingspan adding all the intrigue necessary in terms of his defensive upside. He also turned heads with a 38.5" max vertical leap and some of the best marks in his class in the shuttle run and three-quarter sprint.

An impressive athlete with length for days, Walter has the physical attributes of an elite on-ball defender who can switch to pick up other positions.

Experience on a defensive-minded Baylor Bears team certainly helps his case for immediate value.

Offensively, Walter showed the potential to be an effective shooter. He knocked down 34.1 percent of his 220 three-point field goal attempts as a true freshman, which is a respectable number for a player who's relatively early in their development.

Burying 79.2 percent of his 183 free throw attempts is further proof that there's a solid shooter just waiting to be assisted in their growth.

Walter has also shown the ability to finish in traffic, but he needs to add muscle to be able to score through contact. If the Lakers believe they can be the team that helps Walter get stronger and continue to improve as a shooter, then he could be a massive steal.

Walter's undeniable upside may land him in the lottery, but the opportunity to take a chance on a high-ceiling player with clear defensive potential is one worth risking.