The Los Angeles Lakers will have the second and 32nd picks in the 2016 NBA Draft, and speculation is ramping up regarding who they will target. While the consensus is that they will use the number two pick to select whichever of Ben Simmons or Brandon Ingram the 76ers ultimately pass on with the first overall pick, the 32nd could be used on any number of prospects.
Given the non-guaranteed nature of second-round picks, it would appear that the Lakers will be ideally situated to take a chance on a player with upside. Given their need for a big man who can protect the rim and shoot from the perimeter, Thon Maker may be an intriguing option. Metta World Peace endorsed selecting the young seven-footer when he recently appeared on “The Dan Patrick Show“:
“I don’t really know who is available, but I like the kid Thon Maker. I guess he’s going to be a superstar.”
Of course, World Peace isn’t exactly a draft expert, but ESPN’s Chad Ford is, and it seems as though he would agree with Metta’s choice. Ford recently visited a workout session that Maker was involved in and noted that he shot well on threes while displaying great mobility. Given the Lakers’ current lineup with Julius Randle at power forward, Maker could be the rim-protecting shooter that the team needs at the center position.
Maker, who won’t turn 20 until February, can’t be counted upon to contribute just yet, though. He had to receive special clearance from the NBA to even enter the draft after proving that he had graduated from high school in 2015 but had stayed an extra year as a post-graduate student. It won’t be an easy jump from high school to the NBA, but Maker believes he can handle it:
“I will be ready. I will be. I’m preparing for it every day.”
The Lakers interviewed Maker at the pre-draft combine, and all reports indicate that he handled himself well.
If he continues to impress in interviews and performs well in workouts he may be off the board by the time the Los Angeles picks at 32, but if the stars align and he falls into the Lakers laps they could walk away with not one but two top prospects in the 2016 draft.