May 19 is the first important date of the Los Angeles Lakers’ off-season as that is the date of the NBA Draft Lottery. The organization and fans are hoping the Lakers move up from the fourth slot into the top-three of the draft, but most importantly the Lakers must remain in the top-five or lose their pick to the Philadelphia 76ers.
If the Lakers are fortunate enough to land in the top-three, they will have a difficult decision to make regarding who to draft. ESPN’s Chad Ford believes that the Lakers actually favor point guard Emmanuel Mudiay to center Jahlil Okafor as he revealed in a live chat:
Here’s my Lakers top 5 (they must send the pick to the Sixers if it falls to No. 6 which has about an 18 percent chance of happening) … 1. Towns 2. Mudiay 3. Okafor 4. Russell 5. Winslow
Karl-Anthony Towns being atop the draft board isn’t much of a surprise as he has reportedly surged to the top of most team’s board after an impressive showing in the NCAA Tournament. Mudiay ahead of Okafor, however, is interesting.
Okafor was one of the best players in college basketball last season averaging over 17 points and eight rebounds on 66.4 percent from the field. The Lakers clearly have a need in the middle, making Okafor a fit, but Mudiay seems to be an exceptional talent as well, though playing in China hasn’t allowed fans to see him.
Mudiay has an NBA body at 6’5 and 200 pounds and is an impressive athlete which is imperative at the point guard position. He averaged 18 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 5.9 assists in China while shooting a solid 47.8 percent from the field. Many things can change between now and the draft, and if the Lakers are fortunate enough to land either of those prospects, the team will be happy.[divide]
Lakers Nation Draft Profiles: Jahlil Okafor