2019 NBA Draft: Second Round Steals for the Lakers

2019 NBA Draft
Mfiondu Kabengele is one player that the Lakers could take a look at buying a second round pick for in the 2019 NBA Draft. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

The Lakers traded away their one pick in the 2019 NBA Draft to the New Orleans Pelicans as part of the trade to acquire perennial superstar Anthony Davis. Unless you have been hiding under a rock for the last few days, you know all about this. However, it has been reported that Los Angeles is looking to acquire a couple of second-round picks to use.

Who might the Lakers have on their board in the second round that they would want to purchase a second-round pick or two for?

Aside from players that the team has already worked out, here’s a list of a few players that the team may take on draft night.

Mfiondu Kabengele

Age: 21 (born August 14, 1997). Height/weight: 6’10” 250lbs. School: Florida State

2018-2019 stats: 13.2 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 0.3 apg, 50.2 FG%, 36.9 FG3%, 76.1 FT%.

Kabengele is my second favorite player in the draft. Does that mean he’s the best? Absolutely not. But the ACC Sixth Man of the Year from Florida State brings a lot of interesting tools to the table to any team willing to take a chance on him.

Kabengele grew four inches and put on some weight during his time at Florida State (two years of actual play and one redshirt season) to the point where he was the main person on the team able to keep up with top prospect Zion Williamson when the Seminoles played Duke.

The future Pelican Williamson scored 11 points in their first matchup in the regular season and 21 in the ACC Championship game. The Canadian born forward stayed with Williamson in both matchups and even netted a few highlight blocks for his profile.

Kabengele would be a little small at the five in the NBA but would help anchor the frontcourt with Davis. Likely, Kabengele won’t slip to the second round as he’s projected by Jonathan Givony of ESPN to the Indiana Pacers at 18, but if he starts to fall, the Lakers should be ready to pounce.

Shamorie Ponds

Age: 20 (Born June 29, 1998). Height/weight: 6’1″ 180lbs. School: St. John’s.

2018-2019 stats: 19.7 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 5.1 apg, 45.3 FG%, 35.3 FG3%, 83.6 FT%

Shamorie Ponds biggest strength is his shooting. The junior showed proficiency from behind the line in his final season at St. John’s, ending the season in the 89th percentile in jump shots and 91st in catch and shoot.

At the same time, Ponds biggest weakness, to me at least, is his shooting. In the 2017-2018 season, he shot 25.3% from beyond the arc. You could point to his 10 percent improvement between seasons as a good thing, except he shot 37.5% the year before on nearly the same attempts (6.1 in 16-17, 6.2 in 17-18) and he shot less in his most recent season at 5.6 attempts per game.

Ponds is about what you can expect to get from a second-round player in what is considered a weaker draft. He isn’t quick for his size, but he is a decent passer and ball handler with an okay basketball IQ. He could be a steal later in the second round, after around 40 picks or so.

However, his shooting proficiency and stroke are enough for the Lakers to take a strong look at buying a pick for him.

Admiral Schofield

Age: 22 (born March 30, 1997). Height/weight: 6’6″ 241lbs. School: Tennessee.

2018-2019 stats: 16.5 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 2.0 apg, 47.4 FG%, 41.8 FG3%, 69.8 FT%.

For the draft last year, I was very interested in the Lakers picking up a second-round pick to take the Tennessee forward. The 2019 NBA Draft is no different. Schofield is an athletic wing with shooting prowess that would be able to play spot minutes off of the bench when LeBron James needs rest. The three and four spots in the Lakers rotation will find heavy minutes from James and Davis, but someone will need to come off of the bench and be able to contribute right away.

I don’t necessarily view Schofield as a prospect with a ton of potential, but he has a high floor for a second round pick, which is what the Lakers need more than anything.

I could gush about Schofield for hours and hours, but I don’t have space in this article for all I want to say.

There are very little weaknesses for Schofield’s play style, but also not a ton of upside. He could certainly be a role player on a contending team straight out of the draft, which is what the Lakers intend to do.

Cody Martin

Age: 23 (born September 28, 1995). Height/weight: 6’7″ 200lbs. School: Nevada.

2018-2019 stats: 12.1 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 4.9 apg, 50.5 FG%, 35.8 FG3%, 76.3 FT%

Martin did not have the star power that his twin brother, Caleb, possessed in college basketball but he is probably the better pro prospect. At 6-foot-7, Cody started at point guard for the experienced Nevada squad that entered the season with high expectations and he delivered as a jack-of-all-trades leader for his squad.

Despite being identical twins, it’s actually easy to tell the two Martins apart on the basketball court. Caleb is a scorer and he will isolate to get his buckets. Cody prefers to make plays for teammates and is the much better defender. He is not a willing 3-point shooter but shot it well on a small sample size despite his quirky release.

Cody (nor his brother) is not expected to be selected in the 2019 NBA Draft but he raised his stock at the combine and pre-draft workouts. There is a chance that he will make the NBA based on his tools and intangibles and regardless of his age, he can be a prospect that can be molded into whatever a team needs.

For the Lakers, that’s depth in the backcourt and versatile defenders. Martin fits that to a tee. And if his 3-point shooting ever becomes consistent, then he could find himself having a long career in the league.

These are just a few of the guys projected for the late-first/second round that the Lakers can acquire a pick for. There are many players that could potentially come in and contribute right away for the team. The Lakers buried themselves in a lot of committed money to just two players, so they will absolutely have to knock this draft and UDFA period out of the park.

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