A lot of attention and spotlight have been focused on the Lakers’ second overall pick selection for this upcoming draft, but flying under the radar is that the Lakers have another selection in the first round at the 28th spot.
One could argue that the Lakers should trade away that pick because of how many young players are on the team.
However, the Lakers have a great track record of selecting valuable and rotational players late in the first and into second round of the draft. In the last few years, the Lakers have drafted Larry Nance Jr., (27th pick) Jordan Clarkson, (46th pick) and Ivica Zubac (32nd pick). All of them have shown great value to the team.
There will be a lot of interesting options available late in the first round for the Lakers, but for this article, I will focus only on the front court players.
The Lakers have an important decision to make regarding Tarik Black and Thomas Robison’s future with the team as both will be free agents this upcoming summer. If they decide either to let both go or only keep one, a slot for the front court player will be open.
A couple of front court prospects that could be available at the 28th spot for the Lakers are Jordan Bell, Jonathan Jeanne, Semi Ojeleye, Bam Adebayo, Anzejs Pasecniks and Cameron Oliver. According to DraftExpress, most of these players could be drafted anywhere between the 22nd to the 53rd pick.
Bell is a 6’9″ power forward from Oregon. Bell was a versatile defensive player in college where he was named Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year and broke a career record with 235 blocked shots at his time with Oregon. Not only can Bell defend, he is also athletic finisher with a nice mid-range game. Bell has already made a close connection with former Laker great Lamar Odom during the NCAA tournament. Bell might not be the playmaker that Odom was, but it is exciting that he is going to try to model his game after Odom.
Like most international prospects, the players are unknown to most fans and Jonathan Jeanne fits under that mysterious player category. Jeanne is a tall 7’2″ center from France. He is extremely long and his measurements are close to fellow French man Rudy Gobert. Jeanne’s wingspan is 7’6 ½” and has a standing reach of 9’5 ½”. In comparison, Gobert’s wingspan is 7’8 ½” and has a standing reach of 9’7″. Jeanne has a higher max vertical at 31.5″ than Gobert’s 29″ max vertical. From the few videos that I have watched, Jeanne has a nice touch around the rim and shown that he can shoot from outside the paint.
Ojeleye made a name for himself in the NCAA Tournament with this shattering put-back dunk. He finished that game with 24 points and 10 rebounds in 65-66 loss to USC. Ojeleye is seen more as a small forward/power forward hybrid as he stands 6’7″, but weights 241 pounds. In college, he averaged 19 points and seven rebounds. Ojeleye is an interesting player because of his ability to shoot from the perimeter. Last season, he shot an impressive 42.4 percent from deep, and he was a decent pick-and-pop player. With his impressive athleticism and strength, Ojeleye can guard multiple positions on the floor, making him a decent two-way player.
At only 19-years-old, Adebayo looks like a grown man that is ready the physicality of the NBA. Adebayo may not be a seven-footer, but his 7’3″ wingspan and 38.5″ max vertical would help compete with most centers down on the block. At Kentucky, Adebayo’s tenacious activity around the rim helped him lead his team in offensive rebounds at three per game. There is no doubt that Adebayo is a physical specimen with rare athleticism and mobility at his size.
Pasecniks is another interesting unknown commodity for this upcoming draft. The Latvian big man caught a lot of people’s attention during his notable pro-day workout. There is not that many 7’3″ big men that can move like this.
The quick glimpses of his workout and tapes have some semblance of fellow Latvian big man, Kristaps Porzingis. Although Pasecniks attempted less than one three per game, he shot 58 percent from beyond the arch. Pasecniks could be an interesting prospect that can be a draft-stash type of player.
The Lakers may not take Oliver with their 28th pick, but they could buy a pick late in the second round and select him. The last time the Lakers bought a pick, they got Jordan Clarkson for 46th pick from the Wizards. Clarkson turned out to be worth the investment. Oliver is a slightly undersized power forward at 6’8″, but his 7’1″ wingspan and 8’10 ½” standing reach alongside his 39.5″ max vert should be enough to compensate for his size. Oliver was named the Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year at Nevada. He shoots a respectable 38 percent from deep.