Lakers’ struggles could lead to strong prospect in NBA draft
At 16-26, the Lakers are unlikely to make the playoffs.
On May 20, the NBA will hold its annual draft lottery. The last time the Lakers fell to the lottery, they drafted Andrew Bynum in 2005 with the 10th overall pick.
Currently, the Lakers have the ninth-worst record in the league, but they’re not too far ahead of the Sacramento Kings (15-25), Cleveland Cavaliers (15-26), New York Knicks (15-26), Boston Celtics (14-29) and Utah Jazz (14-29).
It would take serious losing for the Lakers to catch the Philadelphia 76ers (13-28), Orlando Magic (11-31) and Milwaukee Bucks (7-33). The Bucks may not win nine more games all season.
The silver lining in the prospect of a lost season is that it will likely help the Lakers land one of the top prospects in the draft.
Kansas has two players of note, center Joel Embiid and small forward Andrew Wiggins.
Three power forwards could go in the top 10 -- Julius Randle (Kentucky), Jabari Parker (Duke) and Aaron Gordon (Arizona).
Oklahoma State point guard Marcus Smart and Australian combo guard Dante Exum should also be high picks.
Other early lottery candidates include centers Willie Cauley-Stein (Kentucky) and Noah Vonleh (Indiana). Forward options could include James Young (Kentucky), Doug McDermott (Creighton), Dario Saric (Croatia) and Rodney Hood (Duke). Guard Gary Harris (Michigan State) and even local UCLA product Zach LaVine could also go lottery.
The list of prospects will vary as time goes on. The draft is set for June 26.
What kind of talent the Lakers will need a matter up for discussion. Kobe Bryant, currently dealing with a knee fracture, will eventually return, as will a number of his injured teammates.
So although there’s no telling exactly what will happen when the NBA holds the 2014 draft, there’s a strong chance that one of the talented young players listed above will be a Laker next season.
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