Lakers Mock Draft: 3 prospects Lakers must avoid if they keep their first-round pick

The Los Angeles Lakers don't yet know if they will have a first-round pick, but if they do they need to avoid drafting these players at all costs.
LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers and son Bronny James, USC Trojams
LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers and son Bronny James, USC Trojams / Meg Oliphant/GettyImages
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The Los Angeles Lakers are suspended in limbo as the 2024 NBA Draft approaches. Written into the 2019 Anthony Davis trade was the option for the New Orleans Pelicans to take the Lakers' pick in either 2024 or 2025, and the Pels have until June 1st to make their official decision.

As things stand it seems slightly more likely that the Pelicans will let the Lakers keep their pick this year and roll the dice on a stronger draft in 2025. If so, the Lakers will need to already be deep into their draft preparation and identifying which prospects could fit the roster, and which they should pass on.

Last year the Lakers had the 17th pick and absolutely whiffed, drafting Jalen Hood-Schifino out of Indiana, a player who was a bad fit when they picked him and looks significantly worse now.

Can the Lakers avoid another pitfall this year? Let's look at three prospects the Lakers need to absolutely avoid if they hold onto that first-round pick.

No. 3: Ryan Dunn, Virginia Cavaliers

Ryan Dunn may be the best defensive player in the entire 2024 NBA Draft.

That's a bold statement to make, and a couple of players from UConn would like a word, but it's true. Dunn is strong, active and smart, and he flies around the court defensively shutting off the water to the opposing offense. He should be an impact defender from day one in the NBA.

Why should the Lakers stay away? Because for all of his defensive bona fides, Dunn is a truly awful offensive player. He is one of the worst shooters in the sport, cannot gain separation, and isn't an elite finisher. The Lakers have a player with a similar profile in Jarred Vanderbilt who they already cannot play because of spacing concerns; adding Dunn would only increase the limitations of their roster.