The NBA Draft will be the first major point of the Los Angeles Lakers off-season as they will look to add multiple pieces that will help the team in its quest to re-build themselves into a championship contender. The Lakers are hoping that they will keep their top-5 protected pick, and have an 82.8 percent chance to do so.
ESPN’s Chad Ford recently unveiled a ‘Grade A’ Mock Draft in which he makes picks for each team that he believes would be in the best interest of the team if he were the General Manager. For the Lakers, Ford had Duke center Jahlil Okafor falling to the fourth pick due to a couple of concerns:
His lack of defense, his lack of elite athleticism and his poor free throw shooting are all major red flags for teams that are emphasizing smaller, quicker athletes who can protect the rim in the NBA. With that said, at No. 4, he’s a no-brainer in this draft and paired with last year’s lottery pick Julius Randle would give the Lakers a very impressive young front line for the future.
Additionally, Ford grabbed Eastern Washington sharp-shooter Tyler Harvey with the Lakers’ 27th pick, and compared Harvey to a young Stephen Curry:
He’s the closest thing I’ve seen to a young Stephen Curry and I think his backstory points to a young man, who, like Curry, will keep working on and improving his game to the point that he can be something special.
With the 34th pick, Ford took Michael Qualls of Arkansas, one of the draft’s best athletes who is capable of playing both wing positions.
If the Lakers are fortunate enough to end up with a haul like this from this draft, the team would be ecstatic. Grabbing a long-term answer at center, a lights-out shooter, and an athlete on the wing would help to solve some major issues with the Lakers, and give the team a fascinating young core to build around.[divide]
MyNBADraft.com Draft Profiles: Jahlil Okafor