Lakers NBA Draft Prospect Evaluations: USC Guard Isaiah Collier
Isaiah Collier
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The 2024 NBA Draft is quickly approaching and the Los Angeles Lakers will own the No. 17 and No. 55 picks. The Lakers are widely expected to trade their first-rounder in exchange for immediate help, but could choose to stand pat if the right prospect falls to them.

Although Los Angeles could use a big man to play either behind or alongside Anthony Davis, there’s no reason why they can’t take the best player available at No. 17. That could very well be USC’s Isaiah Collier, who was previously considered a high-lottery pick but now is slated to potentially fall within the Lakers’ draft range.

Collier is a bit on the shorter side at 6’2.5″ but has good bulk and muscle at a sturdy 205 pounds. While his wingspan is also a bit smaller than teams would prefer, he’s young enough at 19 years old to continue growing and developing into his body.

The USC guard appeared in 27 games his freshman year and averaged 16.3 points, 4.3 assists and 2.9 rebounds. He shot 49 percent from the floor, but just 33.8 percent from the 3-point line and 67.3 percent from the free throw line.

Strengths

Collier will be able to handle the NBA’s physicality from the jump with his frame, but he’s also good a solid handle and enough wiggle to his game to break down defenses and get into the paint. His playmaking is great for a prospect his age as he’s able to find the open man in the half court but also has a good feel for when to push the pace and pass the basketball ahead for easy transition baskets.

Offensively, he’s good at finishing through contact at the rim and can cover a lot of ground if given space.

Weaknesses

The biggest knock on Collier is his shooting stroke as he was inconsistent shooting from distance for the Trojans. Although he’s flashed shooting upside in the past, he’s been unable to knock down threes at the same clip which doesn’t bode well for his future on the perimeter in the NBA.

He is also prone to defensive lapses and was often seen out of position or getting beat by opposing players.

Fit with Lakers

The Lakers took Jalen Hood-Schifino last year, though he could be on his way out if the team finds a deal they like. That would open up a path for Collier to get minutes, though he would still be blocked by Austin Reaves and D’Angelo Russell if the latter chooses to return.

He would provide an injection of speed and playmaking off the bench which makes him an intriguing upside pick, but the team is likely to lean on its veteran players as they try to climb back into the championship race.

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