The Lakers have a number of holes on their roster, but arguably the largest is their problems at point guard. When healthy, the Lakers have four solid point guards, but none of them have inspired confidence that they could lead this team in the future.
Steve Nash has barely played the last two seasons and has looked old and ineffective when he has played on the floor. Steve Blake is solid when healthy, but is better served as a backup. Jordan Farmar never quite got going before injuries derailed him. And Kendall Marshall would seem to fit better as an Andre Miller type off the bench.
The Lakers need someone who will command this team for years to come. Thankfully for them, there will be a number of options in the coming years. Eric Bledsoe will be available this offseason, while Kyrie Irving and Rajon Rondo become free agents next offseason. Additionally, this NBA draft boasts two exceptional point guard prospects in super sophomore Marcus Smart and Australian phenom Dante Exum.
With the options available, we asked our panel of experts, would the Lakers be better off pursing a point guard in free agency, or in the draft? This is what they had to say:
Ryan Ward (@Lakers_Examiner): With the Lakers seemingly in tank mode for the rest of the season, the team pursuing an upgrade at the point guard position in the 2014 NBA Draft appears to be on the horizon. Even though Jabari Parker or Andrew Wiggins may ultimately fall in their laps, Dante Exum or Marcus Smart might be the players the Lakers plan on targeting.
Over the past few weeks, Exum has gotten a lot of attention for being one of the most talented young players available for the taking. Despite the weak competition in Australia, Exum may be the answer the Lakers are looking for, and the right player to help turn things around in the twilight of Kobe Bryant’s career.
It’ll be interesting to see if the Lakers do end up making a play for Eric Bledsoe this summer, but I believe focusing on the draft to improve is the best option.
Alex Torres (@uclakers38): If the Lakers want to take advantage of this loaded draft class, they will have to take what is best available. We all can hope the Lakers get a top three pick, but it is simply not guaranteed.
If the Lakers end up with a mid to late lottery pick, Marcus Smart and Dante Exum become a real possibility. It really depends on where the Lakers are positioned in this draft, as there are too many good players to pass up.
A guy like Smart is one of my favorite players in this draft, and would help the Lakers at a position of need. However, it would be hard not to consider Joel Embiid, Jabari Parker or Andrew Wiggins if they were available. If the Lakers were to go that route, then they would be forced to find a point guard in free agency.
The addition of a point guard like Rajon Rondo, Kyrie Irving or Eric Bledsoe would be nice, but all three of them have been slowed down by injuries. While they are still relatively young, there is some risk in investing in a player that could continue to have injury concerns. Ultimately, it comes down to where the Lakers land in this upcoming draft.
Ramneet Singh (@Ramneet24): The Los Angeles Lakers are on the verge of a complete rebuilding process and the team will have to prepare for the future as Kobe Bryant will only be around for two more seasons.
At this point, it seems as though the Lakers are set for a high draft pick, something that will surely help them start a successful era once their current stars leave. However, the team should not solely rely on a college basketball player to change their fate.
There are many talented young players in the NBA today who are on the last seasons of their current contracts. Point guards in particular are beginning to ponder free agency and the Lakers should have their focus on those players instead of unproven college athletes.
Names such as Eric Bledsoe, Kyrie Irving and Rajon Rondo will become available soon and the front office will be better off going after them. There is always the risk of drafting a “bust,” which would set the Lakers back multiple years. The safer bet will always be acquiring the veteran who has proven that he can both win games, and make his teammates better.
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