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Mitch Kupchak thinks Lakers can get good player with No. 7 draft pick

Professional BasketballLos Angeles LakersBoston CelticsNick YoungMarcus SmartMitch KupchakDamian Lillard
With a No. 7 draft pick, the Lakers could end up choosing among players such as Julius Randle and Aaron Gordon

The Lakers and Boston Celtics can never be in harmony, no?

So it wasn't surprising to hear Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak say he disagreed mildly with Celtics executive Danny Ainge, who said Tuesday he didn’t think there was anyone who would "come in and change the face of our franchise."

Boston will pick sixth at the June 26 draft and the Lakers will select seventh after falling a spot in Tuesday's lottery thanks to Cleveland's unexpected rise from nine to No. 1.

"As far as what Danny said, that's up to him," Kupchak said Wednesday in a conference call with reporters. "We think drafting at No. 7, there's going to be a good player available there. Maybe Danny's talking more about a guy that changes the face of an organization from the get-go. But you really can't evaluate these things until years later when you look back on it."

Kupchak mentioned Portland point guard Damian Lillard, who was taken sixth overall in 2012 and became an all-star this season.

"I don't think anybody thought walking to the draft that he would turn into a player as quickly as he did. Looking back on it, it's a heck of a selection," Kupchak said.

The Lakers could ultimately choose among players such as Kentucky power forward Julius Randle, Oklahoma State point guard Marcus Smart, Indiana power forward Noah Vonleh and Arizona power forward Aaron Gordon.

Anyone the Lakers select could start for the team immediately because they have only four players under contract, Kupchak joked. Nick Young is expected to decline a player option next season, so there would really be only three players under contract heading into the draft and, a few days later, free agency.

Kupchak declined to say that the Lakers' one-spot drop Tuesday was unlucky.

"I wouldn't say it was bad luck," Kupchak said. "We were hoping to get lucky, but as you know, we could have dropped down to No. 9 too."

 

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