The Los Angeles Lakers find themselves in a cozy spot to pick up whomever the Sixers do not select at number one.
We hope you enjoyed our first NBA Draft team needs article on the Philadelphia 76ers. They have three first rounders, including the top overall pick, so they should have plenty to discuss on draft night. Following their decision between Brandon Ingram and Ben Simmons, the Los Angeles Lakers will be on the clock. Los Angeles won’t have as much control over who they can select, but they’ll have enticing prospects to choose all the same. Let’s take a closer look.
Team: Los Angeles Lakers
Draft Picks: #2, 32
Team Needs: Franchise player, Shooting, Small Forward, Center
Key Players: D’Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson, Julius Randle, Larry Nance Jr.
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Oh, how times have changed. One year ago the Lakers were the ones deciding the fate of the Philadelphia 76ers; selecting D’Angelo Russell over Jahlil Okafor was a big moment for both franchises. This year, the situation is flipped, although the Lakers will be in good shape no matter who Philadelphia drafts. There has been a league-wide consensus for a while that 2016 is a two-man draft. While getting the number one pick would have been better, even if Mitch Kupchak says otherwise, just getting in the top-two is a win in this draft.
It will be one of the biggest shocks in draft history if Los Angeles does not choose whoever Philly does not take between LSU’s Ben Simmons and Duke’s Brandon Ingram. Dragan Bender should not be making an appearance before the third pick no matter how cool his name is. In a lot of ways, the Lakers have a very easy draft day regarding this pick. The only exception would be if they received a mammoth-sized offer for the second pick. Yet, given the hiring of Luke Walton, building a young core seems like it’ll remain the priority. Now, while the Lakers may not have a choice as to who will fall to them, reports that Philadelphia is leaning toward Ben Simmons could actually be the best outcome for LA.
Even though the Lakers are in a similar situation to Philly in that they should not be worried about fit, Simmons is a far worse fit for the Lakers. They already have two established ball handlers in Russell and Jordan Clarkson. In comparison, the Sixers have a plethora of big men but no point guard. With this current core Brandon Ingram is a perfect fit and would not force them to have to trade or diminish anyone’s role.
Ingram would slide right into the starting small forward spot, and in theory, could allow Russell, Clarkson, and Julius Randle to all start as well. That would allow their young core to all play meaningful minutes together and develop chemistry. But, Ingram is so much more than that. He’ll come with an enormous wingspan and would bring much needed three-point shooting and defensive potential that is severely lacking on this LA team.
He would also come in as the player most likely to develop into a franchise player. Then once factoring in Russell’s upside as well, the Lakers could be looking at their newest dynamic duo for years to come. Simmons would be a nice coup, but the Lakers should be hoping for Ingram to drop to number two. In a few weeks’ time Lakers fans may be able to start fantasizing about moves like this tearing up the Staples hardwood.
The Draft Order and Team Needs
1. Philadelphia 76ers
2. Los Angeles Lakers
3. Boston Celtics (From Brooklyn)
4. Phoenix Suns
5. Minnesota Timberwolves
6. New Orleans Pelicans
7. Denver Nuggets (From New York)
8. Sacramento Kings
9. Toronto Raptors (From Denver)
10. Milwaukee Bucks
11. Orlando Magic
12. Atlanta Hawks (From Utah)
13. Phoenix Suns (From Washington) - Second 1st Round Pick
14. Chicago Bulls
15. Denver Nuggets (From Houston) - Second 1st Round Pick
16. Boston Celtics (From Dallas) - Second 1st Round Pick
17. Memphis Grizzlies
18. Detroit Pistons
19. Denver Nuggets (From Portland) - Third 1st Round Pick
20. Indiana Pacers
21. Atlanta Hawks - Second First Round Pick
22. Charlotte Hornets
23. Boston Celtics - Third First Round Pick
24. Philadelphia 76ers (From Miami) - Second First Round Pick
25. Los Angeles Clippers
26. Philadelphia 76ers (From Oklahoma City) - Third First Round Pick
27. Toronto Raptors - Second First Round Pick
28. Phoenix Suns (From Cleveland) - Third First Round Pick
29. San Antonio Spurs
30. Golden State Warriors
No Picks: Cleveland Cavaliers, Miami Heat, New York Knicks, Oklahoma City Thunder, Portland Trail Blazers, Washington Wizards
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