While the chance the pick ends up traded to the Pelicans for Anthony Davis is relatively high, who could the Lakers take if they decide to hang onto their pick?
Cleveland Cavaliers suffer predicted lottery disappointment, stare down worst-case scenario
One of the top options for the Lakers at four is Vanderbilt guard Darius Garland. Garland is coming off an injury but showed enough when healthy to warrant a top-five pick. A smooth combo guard who could contribute positive minutes off the bench immediately, Garland has the potential to develop into one of the league’s best guards.
While he lacks ideal athleticism, pairing him long-term in a backcourt with Lonzo Ball could help alleviate some of those deficiencies and allow him to do what he does best, shoot the deep ball. The Lakers are in desperate need of a floor-spacing weapon and Garland can contribute in that category right away. In fact, if Garland starts knocking down shots early on, don’t be shocked to see him crack the starting lineup early and often.
Williamson was there at the Chicago Hilton, his megawatt smile lighting up the room. He would have been the shiny franchise-changing reward for a gloomy 19-win season. He wouldve softened the blow still being felt after LeBron James departure. A never-before-seen college prospect with a star profile, Williamson also wouldve accelerated the Cavaliers rebuild and thrust them back into relevance immediately. Ticket sales were set to rise. The Cavs wouldve been back on national TV. Hope wouldve returned.
Video: Full 2019 NBA draft lottery: Pelicans get No. 1 pick, chance to draft Zion Williamson | NBA on ESPN
While Garland is a great fit based off his three-point shooting, there are other options that the Lakers could entertain with the fourth overall pick. A slightly bigger and more athletic natural shooting guard, Jarrett Culver, should still be on the board at four. While not as prolific as a three-point shooter compared to Garland, Culver projects to have a bit higher ceiling on the defensive side of the ball.
In the event that RJ Barrett somehow falls past New York at three, he might be a fantastic fit for the Lakers. As a long playmaker who can score from all three levels, Barrett could potentially slide in as a shooting guard alongside LeBron at small forward. While Barrett is a forward by trade, he has the skill set of a guard and could be extremely effective as a tertiary playmaker and spot up shooter. Although the scenario in which Barrett falls to the Lakers is unlikely, they would be hard pressed to pass up the Duke scoring machine.
Translation: The Lakers are almost definitely trading their pick, no matter what Rob Pelinka is saying publicly right now. It just makes too much sense not to.
Beilein never had McDonalds All-Americans. He lost out on five-star recruits to blue bloods Duke, North Carolina, Kentucky and others. He didnt rely on out-recruiting his peers. And yet, Beilein assembled a sparkling resume, becoming one of the most respected college coaches. He did it by out-strategizing. He did it through player development. Hes a teacher, one who has a history of putting his imprint on programs.
Share Share Rob Pelinka says Lakers will evaluate players for No. 4 pick, but also see how the league values it in the trade market tweet share Reddit Pocket Flipboard Email tfw you are canvassing the league for trades but also evaluating players. Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports The Los Angeles Lakers exited the evening of the 2019 NBA Draft Lottery in a much stronger position than they entered it, with general manager Rob Pelinka sitting in the back room watching the teams pick jump seven spots from where it was projected (No. 11) to the fourth overall pick.
This is his greatest challenge. Technically, he inherits the leagues second-worst team thats entering Year Two of the post-LeBron era. Clevelands best player, Kevin Love, is on the wrong side of 30 and missed 50-plus games this past season. Even ex-coach Larry Drew had concerns about the roster makeup. After a tough season, a top 3 pick was supposed to be their prize. Not No. 5.
The major question facing the franchise in the aftermath is simple: Will the Lakers keep the pick, or trade it? During a conference call with reporters immediately following the lottery, Pelinka said he is still deciding, but that the Lakers are in a much better spot than they were entering the night (via Mike Trudell of Lakers.com):
The Pelicans were the big winners, moving up to No. 1 — and earning the right to draft consensus top player Zion Williamson. The Memphis Grizzlies grabbed the second pick. The Knicks, who finished with the NBAs worst record, will select third. And the Los Angeles Lakers, entering the night with a 9.4 percent chance of getting into the top 4, moved up seven spots to fourth overall.
We had scouting meetings with (Director of Scouting and Assistant GM) Jesse Buss and our scouts, and of course our focus was more around 11, because thats where the huge probability was resting. But now it shifts, what we can get at four. I will tell you there are some incredibly talented, impact players there that were going to study deeply. And then of course well canvas the league and see what value that pick has. But either of those options is an extraordinary win for the franchise … I already talked to Jeanie Buss and she is just thrilled. I think it should really be exciting for our fans. Its an unexpected event for the Lakers and were certainly really blessed.
These arent easy answers. Clevelands internal rankings between four and seven change constantly. The pre-draft process will be critical. Individual workouts and interviews might determine the selection, just like 2018 when Sexton wowed everyone in the organization the day after the Cavs got swept in the NBA Finals, uplifting everyone in attendance.
Pelinka is not wrong, and the most obvious move this opens up is a potential trade for Anthony Davis. And sure enough, immediately following the lottery, Davis camp put it out there that his mind still hasnt changed in the wake of Zion Williamsons imminent arrival with the New Orleans Pelicans via the No. 1 pick, and that Davis still is requesting a trade.
Whether the No. 4 pick is enough of an extra sweetener to get this deal over the goal line in the wake of Brandon Ingrams health situation is still an open question, but it would seem unlikely that the Lakers actually keep the selection, regardless of where it ultimately ends up being sent. The Lakers presumably want to get the most out of the remainder of their time with LeBron James, and in a draft widely considered to be pretty mediocre outside of Williamson, its not probable that anyone they could get with the No. 4 pick could be a big contributor right away.
So where does that leave the Lakers exactly? Well, seemingly with the pick being a bigger trade asset than the actual player, even if its not in a Davis deal.
And I know what youre thinking: If this is such a mediocre draft, why would another team want that pick? The reality is that teams talk themselves into players every year, and all it takes is one general manager to really see the fourth pick as someone they can reboot their franchise around — or sell tickets around as the first cornerstone of a rebuild — for a deal to come into focus.
The second and third picks wouldve been nice consolation prizes. Ja Morant, Williamsons AAU teammate, was the most exciting player in college basketball not named Zion. He capped a brilliant sophomore season by leading Murray State to the NCAA Tournament.
The Lakers will obviously still evaluate players as Pelinka says. Their scouting department surely already has, and will work out a few more until they find which ones they like best. But while the Lakers theoretically could keep this pick, all logical signs point to it getting moved, either as part of a Davis deal, or in some sort of smaller package for a lower-tier star like Bradley Beal. Pelinka said the Lakers will canvass the league, and as front offices around the NBA solidify their plans for the offseason now that they know how the draft stands, expect the Lakers to be active in seeing what the best way they can utilize this pick is as well.
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