NBA Mock Draft — When the Lakers didn’t land a top-3 pick, their tanking efforts felt wasted. This Lakers team doesn’t really want to wait to be good and you can’t blame them. As spoiled a bunch both the fans and front office are, this franchise just isn’t used to treading water, slowly rebuilding in the process. They win, reload, win more, and repeat the cycle and for the first time since 2004, they’re forced to take a different direction in this rebuild by doing it the normal way: through the draft.
Like the Celtics, Jazz who come immediately before them, the Lakers will be given a platter filled with supposed second-tier players to choose from. According to Mitch Kupchak, the Lakers, with glaring needs at EVERY position, may be forced to choose the best player available. Of the second-tier group, the best player is Julius Randle. Of course, there’s no guarantee that’s he’s there at seven, leaving the Lakers with Vonleh, Gordon, Smart, and possibly Dante Exum as some mock’s suggest for their pick. Whatever the Lakers decide to do will be a good move in the right direction as this are in a desperate need for youth infusion.
Here is the collection of the latest mock drafts from around the NBA pertaining to the Los Angeles Lakers and the number seventh overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft.
NBA Draft Net – F Julius Randle (Kentucky)
My NBA Draft – G Marcus Smart (OK State)
Basketball Insiders (Steven Kyler) – G Dante Exum (Australia)
Draft Express (Jonathan Givony) – F Julius Randle (Kentucky)
With the Lakers frontcourt rotation potentially in flux this offseason, Julius Randle would provide them with a long-term answer at the power forward position as Pau Gasol hits unrestricted free agency. Randle is one of the few players in this draft who is physically ready to step in and play in the NBA from day one. Doug McDermott is reportedly another option here, as he supposedly had an extremely impressive showing in their workout last week.
Bright Side of the Sun – G Dante Exum (Australia)
Sigh. The Lakers get their man after all. There’s really no way for the Lakers to screw this pick up, as they are void of just about any young talent. The Lakers have been obsessed with Exum, and he’s one of four guys in the draft that has star appeal. I could see his career go just about anywhere, and the Lakers love that.
Yahoo! Sports (Marc J. Spears) – F Noah Vonleh (Indiana)
The Lakers could lose starting forward Pau Gasol in free agency. Regardless, Vonleh would be a strong addition.
Bleacher Report (Donald Wood) – F Noah Vonleh (Indiana)
If the Los Angeles Lakers choose not to bring back forward Pau Gasol and don’t trade away the team’s first-round selection, Indiana center Noah Vonleh would be a smart long-term addition to the franchise.
CBS Sports (Matt Moore) – G Dante Exum (Australia)
The Lakers’ preferred target somehow slips here and they grab him up, giving Kobe Bryant a point guard who will defer to him and help set the offense.
CBS Sports (Gary Parrish) – G Marcus Smart (OK State)
Smart’s stock took a hit in his sophomore season, thanks to a suspension and his continued inability to make jumpers. But scouts still love his intangibles, for the most part, and the combo guard probably won’t slip much farther than this
CBS Sports (Zach Harper) – F Noah Vonleh (Indiana)
The Lakers lose out on grabbing a potential highlight reel star in Gordon, but Vonleh may end up being the better player. We’re assuming they aren’t able to make a play for Exum or that Exum and his agent won’t try to be Steve Francis here. If they do grab Vonleh, he’ll be a guy who can play either big man position and give them a great presence in the paint.
ESPN Insiders (Jeff Goodman) – F Noah Vonleh (Indiana)
The Lakers have numerous needs and will go with the best player on the board. Vonleh has an NBA-ready body and is more skilled than many realize. He could be a player, in time, who develops into a star and that is exactly what the Lakers need.
ESPN Insiders (Chad Ford) – F Julius Randle (Kentucky)
The Lakers keep shopping this pick but are struggling to find an All-Star caliber big in return. If the Cavs can’t get that type of player with the No. 1 overall pick, the Lakers are probably not getting it at pick No. 7. If the Lakers keep it, they’ll want a player who can come in and contribute from day one, and three players — Randle, Smart and Doug McDermott — seem to be the targets.
Randle, along with Parker, might be the most NBA-ready freshman in the draft. With the Lakers’ entire front line heading into free agency this summer (including Pau Gasol, Chris Kaman and Jordan Hill), the Lakers are going to have a lot of needs up front. Smart could give them size and toughness at point guard and has garnered buzz since his strong workout in L.A. But don’t completely count out McDermott. The Lakers loved his workout in L.A. and know his shooting would be an immediate asset on the team. If Kobe Bryant is going to pass the ball, he’ll want to pass it to someone who is going to make his shots.