After trading the 28th pick in tonight’s draft to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Dennis Schröder, the Lakers are without a pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. However, the team has a history of trading into the draft to take the guys that they want. According to Eric Pincus on Locked on Lakers, it appears as if that might be something the front office does tonight.
“My understanding is the Lakers are comfortable in this draft, anywhere from 25-45 they feel like they’re going to get equal value, give or take (to the 28th pick), so I wouldn’t be shocked if they try to buy a second and feel like whatever they get there is the same as what they would have gotten as far as production and what not”
The value range of the 25th pick to the middle of the second round is something that I agree with, and if it’s true, it shows that the Lakers have done their due diligence in this draft and potentially have a guy in mind at that range, or are at least savvy enough to identify the range where they’ll get the most value for the cost.
So who would the Lakers draft at that range? It’s really hard to tell with this front office, that very rarely leaks rumors when it comes to draft picks. A few guys that they are confirmed to have had meetings with include Nico Mannion, Desmond Bane, Tyrell Terry and Yoeli Childs, but as we know the Lakers have surprised us with draft selections in the past.
Now I’m no Draft Express writer, but I think I have a decent sense of what the Lakers are looking for in a player and who might fit some of their needs the best. Take everything that I say with a grain of salt, and do try to look at the tape on some of these guys before following my opinions on who the Lakers could take in the 2020 NBA Draft.
Nico Mannion, Arizona, PG
I’m only really writing a section on Mannion because the Lakers are linked to him via draft workouts and his approximate draft position lines up with the Pincus quote from the Locked on Lakers podcast. I do not think that Mannion is a good fit anymore for the Lakers now that they’ve addressed what was their biggest need at point guard.
If the Lakers do draft Mannion, it isn’t for this season or even the next season. The Arizona freshman guard is one of the youngest players in the draft at just 19 years old and won’t turn 20 until mid-March. He didn’t shoot the three well in college and would do very little for the Lakers to step in straight away this season.
Projects are good and franchises should always be looking toward the future, but Mannion doesn’t help the Lakers win back-to-back titles, and doesn’t address any of the pressing needs on the team.
Decide for yourself if the young Pac-12 guard is worth buying a pick for.
Jordan Nwora, Louisville, SF
With Danny Green departing via the trade with Oklahoma City, the Lakers now need a bit of depth at the wing, something that they will likely address in free agency beginning on Friday.
However, another route that they could take would be to address this need in the draft, and I believe Nwora is one of the strongest candidates for the Lakers to take.
Nwora shot 40.2% from beyond the arc in college and could fill in nicely in spot minutes off the bench when the Lakers need a shooting threat or are trying to rest some of the better players on the team.
Draft age is a noted concern for some teams as Nwora was a junior, but for the Lakers a player who is closer to being fully rounded is better at this juncture. They don’t have time to develop a young player, they need someone to step in contribute right away.
Nwora showed offensive prowess from multiple levels at Louisville, anywhere from a spot-up shooter to driving the ball to the hoop, he can be a varied threat for a Lakers offense with so many different contributors.
He has shown some ability as a defender but relies heavily on the rest of his team to help him out. Lakers coach Frank Vogel has shown that he can turn just about anyone into a positive defender, so I don’t think this is a worry.
Overall, in the range that the Lakers could potentially be picking, Nwora is one of my favorite prospects. He has an intensity about him that matches the energy of the rest of the team and could contribute straight away to a title defense campaign, even if it’s just a limited role.
Robert Woodard Jr., Mississippi State, SF
Allow me to share with you the bullet points listed under strengths on NBA.com for Woodard Jr.
- Elite physical profile for a modern forward.
- Versatile defender with exceptional length.
- Capable and improving three-point shooter.
- Brings consistent energy at both ends.
Sounds like someone you would want on your team, right?
Let me sell you a little bit more on the sophomore forward.
He’s 6’7″ with a 7’2″ wingspan.
Want to see more? Here you go:
Woodard Jr. looks to be a solid and ever-improving forward that could be a threat for the Lakers straight away and for years to come.
There are a significant amount of unknowns going into the draft from all angles, as this is the first year in recent memory where the top three picks aren’t set for days before the draft.
The 2020 NBA Draft will go down in history as one of the craziest drafts to happen in league history, and that’s even before any picks are made. If the Lakers do trade in to draft someone, who knows who they might take? That’s part of the fun of the draft, is that you never really know until Adam Silver goes out to the podium and makes the announcement. Or if you have Woj and Shams notifications on.