Lakers Nation Debate: Best Prospect After Towns, Okafor?
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Topic: We wonder which player should the Los Angeles Lakers draft if both Jahlil Okafor and Karl-Anthony Towns are unavailable when the team picks?

Context: One of the most important things for the Lakers this off-season is to not only keep their top-five protected first-round pick, but to land a star with it to team with Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson as the team prepares itself for life after Kobe Bryant.

The Lakers have always been built around dominant big men and this draft has two in Karl-Anthony Towns and Jahlil Okafor. The chances of getting one of them, however, is still up in the air as the Lakers would have to jump into the top-three and that is far from a guarantee.

However, there are still some very talented players for the Lakers to choose from other than those two. If the Lakers want to add to the backcourt, Emmanuel Mudiay and D’Angelo Russell would both be excellent. Justise Winslow and Stanley Johnson are both defensive-minded wings with potential, and Willie Cauley-Stein would be the defensive big man the Lakers have lacked for years.

The question becomes what do the Lakers need most and who will become the biggest star in the future. The Lakers can not afford to miss with their pick, assuming they keep it.

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Verdict: We went to Twitter to ask the fans who they believe the Lakers should draft if Jahlil Okafor and Karl-Anthony Towns are both gone. These are some of the responses:

The fans have spoken about their choice, but it is not clear in any way. Willie Cauley-Stein got a little love as did a couple others, but the trio of Justise Winslow, Emmanuel Mudiay, and D’Angelo Russell were the players mentioned nearly every time. It looked as if Winslow had the slight advantage over Mudiay among the fans with Russell not far behind.

I have long been at the head of the Justise Winslow fan club, but I do believe he has the lowest ceiling of the three. I see him as more a top-level role player than a star so while I would love him on the team, I wouldn’t take him above the other two.

If I had to choose, I would give Emmanuel Mudiay the slightest of edges over Russell. While Russell’s shooting and scoring ability intrigue me, I love Mudiay’s physical attributes more. He has the size, speed, and athleticism to hang with today’s point guards and is a true point guard who excels ate getting to the basket. As long as the Lakers have their top-five pick I will be excited, but if they can’t get a big, I would love to see Mudiay in purple and gold.

[divide] Draft Profiles: Emmanuel Mudiay

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