In the final conversation heading into the draft, Mike Garcia and Jacob Rude look at second-round options for the Lakers and discuss what would be their ideal draft for Los Angeles. For a look at the first round, check out this piece.
Jacob Rude: The second round is a whole other animal in terms of predicting who will and won’t be available, but who are a couple names you have in mind with that selection?
Mike Garcia: Two guys that stick out for me are Jarred Vanderbilt and Alize Johnson.
JR: You had a great breakdown on Johnson and his potential as another Julius Randle-type. What intrigues you about Vanderbilt, who played on a Kentucky team that is going to have a host of draftees, as normal?
MG: I don’t think Vanderbilt was put in the best position to display his skill level at Kentucky, especially when that roster is so deep with first-round offensive talent. It’s not easy to stand out when Kevin Knox and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander are further progressed offensively and starting.
Coach John Calipari asked Vanderbilt to rebound well; essentially become Dennis Rodman. With his NBA size roughly at 6’7” with a 6’11.5” wingspan, he showed tremendous rebounding motor, with nearly double the offensive rebounding rate of DeAndre Ayton, nearly matching his defensive rebounding rate, but being a better overall rebounder per minute than almost everyone at the NCAA level.
On top of that, he blocked shots at over a 5 percent rate, meaning with over 30 minutes of playing time, it wouldn’t be difficult to see him average a blocked shot or two a game. However, his best skill offensively is pushing the tempo downhill in transition and finding the open man. One guy that resembled those qualities was Lamar Odom, and we could only hope that Vanderbilt could provide some of those abilities down the line. Health has been an issue for him, but it was also an issue for Julius Randle. Look at him now.
JR: You’ve gone big with both of the players you’re interested in so I’m going a bit smaller. I’ll insert a little bit of homerism and say Gary Trent Jr. along with Landry Shamet.
I know Shamet is a player we both love and honestly I’d be surprised if he’s available at the 47th pick, but DraftExpress has him ranked at 49th so maybe he is a possibility. We’ve broken down both players though and both excel at three-point shooting, something the Lakers are in dire need of. Trent Jr. has great 3-and-D potential while Shamet can be a secondary creator for the Lakers.
When it’s all said and done, what would an A+ draft from the Lakers look like for you? Is it trading up for Zhaire Smith while dumping Luol Deng’s deal? If not, which two players would you like to see them walk away with by night’s end?
MG: It’s really tough to sort out trade scenarios with Deng. If the Lakers trade up while trading Deng for another team, it will be costly and I understand that, but then I would look at the draft as getting Julius Randle, a mid 1st, No. 25, and No. 47. That puts the Lakers ahead in terms of team building.
But, if no trades are made and the Lakers keep No. 25 and No. 47, I definitely want Kevin Huerter at 25 and Vanderbilt at 47. I think Huerter is the best player available at that pick because he’s able to shoot effectively whether it’s from spot ups or off screens. He’s an underrated passer and moves the ball along as well.
Vanderbilt, on the other hand, I would see as a total steal pick. I think he has mid-1st round talent, but was just hampered by injury issues and not the most ideal situation playing for Kentucky. Both guys fit the Laker team, regardless if superstars are picked up through free agency or not. Vanderbilt needs to work on his perimeter shot, but at least the drive-and-kick game comes naturally to him. That wouldn’t hurt as a backup to Ingram at all. It’s fair to expect that the Lakers will move on from Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. While I do like him as a player and think he surged really well in the last two months of the season, Huerter is right there with a little bit more height, better decision-making and on a cost-controlled contract. That is simply too tough to pass up on.
JR: For me, as much as I love Khyri Thomas, who I have No. 1 on my draft board for the Lakers at 25, my A+ draft would be walking out with Chandler Hutchison and Landry Shamet.
Shamet is a first-round talent to me and brings great shooting from range. There are concerns about his shot mechanics that may need to be ironed out, but he’s a great fit in the Lakers pace-and-space style and gives them badly, badly needed shooting. Even more, he’d be a great fit next to a player like LeBron James or Paul George.
Landing Shamet in the second makes it easier to not take a guard in the first round and that’s why I picked Hutchison. He’s a finisher at the rim, a scorer from the arc and enough of a creator to help the Lakers in that regard offensively. And he’s another wing player that the Lakers badly need.
MG – If they get Hutchison, I’ll pop champagne. He’s low key the best finisher in the draft.