With the NBA Draft Lottery quickly approaching, many Laker fans are starting to feel nervous about the idea of losing the team’s first round pick to Philadelphia. Although there would be obvious benefits from retaining the pick and adding another young piece or trying to move it in a deal to acquire a veteran, keeping the pick isn’t a necessity like it was a year ago.
Regardless of what happens on May 17th, the team will have the 32nd overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft. While this year’s class may not be a vast field of franchise changing players it does have some intriguing prospects later in the draft. In recent years, the Lakers have had a knack for finding prospects later in the draft that can contribute right away with Jordan Clarkson (46th overall, 2014) and Larry Nance (27th overall, 2015). Hopefully, the purple and gold can strike again in the same fashion.
The Lakers have already started piling up a list of players for pre-draft workouts and conducted a few interviews during the NBA pre-draft combine. There will be numerous names to go through the workout process with the Lakers which all-in-all is a good sign as the front office gathers as much information as possible.
There is a legitimate chance to get another player that can provide an impact for the team with this pick and here are a few names to watch going into the draft.
Deandre Bembry out of Saint Joseph’s is a versatile wing player that can effect the game in a multitude of ways. During his junior year Bembry was able to put together a stat line to show just how much he can do on the court, averaging 17.4 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 4.5 assists a game with a PER of 22.6. The 21-year-old can handle the ball in transition if needed, finish at the rim with a high efficiency, and is a capable shooter when he sets his feet.
Bembry would also give the Lakers another gifted playmaker as he reads defenses well and finds ways to put others in good positions to score. Lastly, the potential of being a terrific wing defender should catch the Lakers eyes. The 6’6″ wing is not overly long but has the ability to guard multiple positions due to his physical tools and defensive instincts. With roster holes to fill at the small forward position I would expect Bembry to be high on the teams list of targets should he fall to them at 32.
With roster holes to fill at the small forward position I would expect Bembry to be high on the teams list of targets should he fall to them at 32.
It is well noted that the Lakers are desperately in search of an impactful player at the center position and if you watched Roy Hibbert last season, you know why. With Hibbert likely gone this offseason and the NBA still not ready for Robert Sacre to unleash himself upon the league, I think A.J. Hammons would be a good fit for the team.
The 7 foot, 260 pound big man out of Purdue provides many of the things the Lakers should be looking for in a center to pair alongside Julius Randle. For being as big as he is, Hammons runs the floor in transition fairly well and is mobile enough to be effective in pick-and-roll situations, scoring 1.38 points per play out of that action last season.
Another major upside to Hammons is he can also stretch the floor with the ability to consistently hit jump shots which would compliment both Julius Randle and D’Angelo Russell extremely well. While Julius Randle seemed to improve defensively during the course of the season it would still be wise to give him someone that can anchor the defense behind him, and Hammons does just that. With his size, length, and quick feet he is able to alter or block shots left and right (4.2 per 40 min.).
The latest Draft Express big board has him falling to 42 more than likely due to the fact he is already 23 years old, but the Lakers should take a long look at Hammons.
Another prospect the Lakers front office should consider in the second round is Virgina guard/forward Malcolm Brogdon. The reigning ACC Defensive Player of the Year is an exceedingly gifted defender that was able to guard 4 positions for UVA last season.
Measuring in at only 6’5″, the senior made up for his lack of height with long arms, a high motor, and tremendous body strength. With the ability to defend multiple positions this would potentially give the Lakers an elite role player to combat the glaring weakness the team has on that side of the ball.
Going into last season Brogdon was thought of as a defender first and foremost but his offensive game seemed to come around in his final season, averaging 18.2 points per game on 49 percent and 39 percent from the field and three respectively. If the 23-year-old is able to keep shooting at the rate he did last year, then the team needs to try to put him next to D’Angelo Russell next season. The recurring theme with prospects the Lakers need to target is the ability to space the floor and defend at an above average level, Brogdon fits both of these perfectly.
As you can tell, all the prospects listed would be asked to help fill the massive holes on the wing and at the center position. While there are many options the team could look at with their second round pick that can come in and contribute right away, these few should stand out amongst them.
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All statistics provided by Draft Express.