After compiling the franchise’s worst record, the Los Angeles Lakers find themselves in the NBA Draft Lottery for the second consecutive year. The team will learn where their draft pick lands May 19 and make their selection should they keep their protected top-five pick June 25.
Among the big named college prospects in the draft, there are also some intriguing international talent available. In a recent chat, ESPN’s Chad Ford was asked about Croatian small forward Mario Hezonja and the validity of a Kobe Bryant comparison. Although he admittedly thought it was a stretch, Ford complemented Hezonja’s playing mentality and likened it to the superstar:
That’s going too far. But I understand why some in Europe see that. [Hezonja] has that killer instinct that Kobe has. He wants to destroy you out there. It’s one of the things I love about him.
Hezonja is considered a top-10 prospect and one of the best wing players available in the draft. Despite being just 20 years old, he spent the last three seasons playing professionally for Barcelona in the Spanish League. His greatest strength is his general offensive game with the ability to hit shots as well as attacking and finishing at the rim.
The Lakers have a need on the wing but could look else where to address the hole. Duke’s Justise Winslow is another possible target for the team. Free agency could be an option as well with the team trying to lure Khris Middleton or Tobias Harris away from Milwaukee and Orlando respectively.
Bringing on someone with a killer-instinct would be something the Lakers will need in the post-Bryant years. The hope is someone currently on the roster like Julius Randle or Jordan Clarkson develops into that player or the team brings in a player of that caliber in.[divide]