The 2021 NBA Draft is set for this Thursday, which is an exciting time for the Los Angeles Lakers as they own the No. 22 overall pick and have been working out a ton of potential prospects.
The Lakers have been able to find players capable of contributing right away in the back of the first round and top of the second in recent years, and it will be important for them to do so again considering they do not have a ton of cap space to improve their roster through free agency.
This draft is expected to be one of the best in years as far as player talent goes, so the Lakers should be able to get a quality young player at No. 22. In fact, it appears the Lakers are confident they can get quality players even later than that as Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress and ESPN is reporting that they are exploring the option of moving down to acquire more picks:
With a big group of combo/scoring guards bunched together in the early 20s through early 30s, NBA executives say the Lakers have explored the option of moving down a few slots from the No. 22 pick while acquiring one or more second round picks. ESPN mock: https://t.co/VEdy8p5uV6
— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) July 25, 2021
In addition to adding more picks to draft more players, this would also help the Lakers with their salary cap issues. If the Lakers acquire a player such as Kyle Lowry via sign-and-trade then they will be hard-capped for the 2021-22 season so they will have to add as much cheap talent as possible to round out their roster.
Two teams to potentially keep an eye are on the Oklahoma City Thunder and New Orleans Pelicans. Both teams are stocked with picks as the Thunder have Nos. 34, 36 and 55 and the Pelicans have Nos. 35, 40, 43 and 53 in the second round.
Butler mocked to Lakers
In Givony’s most recent mock draft, he has the Lakers taking Baylor point guard Jared Butler if they keep the No. 22 pick.
The Lakers have a ton of guards set to hit free agency so adding someone like Butler who can come in and contribute right away if needed would be a huge plus. While Butler may not be available if the Lakers move down, there are some other quality options that the organization would feel safe picking as well if they were to make a deal.
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