Lakers eager to learn position as they prepare for NBA draft
The Lakers are eager to learn the results of the May 20 NBA draft lottery.
“It’s hard to focus 100% on the draft until you know where you’re drafting,” General Manager Mitch Kupchak said Monday on Lakers.com.
The Lakers finished the 2013-14 season with the sixth-worst overall record, with a 21.5% chance of moving up to a top-three pick. More likely, the franchise picks at six (43.9%) or seven (30.5%). The team could also fall to eight (4%) or even nine (0.1%).
“If the stars all line up and you get No. 1 instead of No. 9, there’s a difference,” Kupchak said. “It’s impossible to schedule workouts because the agents won’t cooperate until they know where you’re drafting.”
The top three players in the draft are widely considered to be Andrew Wiggins (Kansas), Jabari Parker (Duke) and Joel Embiid (Kansas).
Given Embiid is recovering from a back injury, Australian point guard Dante Exum or even Kentucky’s Julius Randle might sneak into third -- but that might be a stretch.
If the Lakers are in the 6-to-9 range, they’re unlikely to get visits from Wiggins, Parker and Embiid.
“I think everybody has a feel for what players they think will be one, two or three,” Kupchak said. “If you’re drafting at six or seven, you won’t get one of those guys.”
The Lakers also don’t have a head coach after Mike D’Antoni’s recent resignation.
The pick might determine the team’s long-term strategy, which should be in place once the lottery is decided. The Lakers may even consider trading their selection for a veteran, but once again, draft position will determine those opportunities.
In the meantime, the Lakers are preparing for the draft. The team won’t have a second-round pick, which is in the hands of the Milwaukee Bucks -- initially traded by the Lakers to the Phoenix Suns for Steve Nash.
“If we had to make selections today, we would,” Kupchak said. “We’re tied into the calendar and the way business has been conducted for years, which is: Chicago, the lottery, workouts in our gym, interview and physical results. There’s a lot of information to be had.”
The Chicago combine, held on May 15 and 16, will feature many of the draft’s top prospects -- there for measurements, physicals and workouts.
Some players, confident they’ll be selected as a top-14 pick, will opt not to work out in Chicago.
Wiggins, Parker and Embiid will skip the event altogether.
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