Mitch Kupchak: Lakers Won’t Draft Player ‘Because He Can Play With Kobe’

Mitch Kupchak

With the NBA Draft less than two weeks away, there continues to be a lot of questions as to who the Los Angeles Lakers will select with the second overall pick. Duke big man Jahlil Okafor has been tabbed as the most likely choice, but there are numerous other options for the team.

— Have you seen the ‘Lakers Nation’ phone case? —

Regardless of who the Lakers take, general manager Mitch Kupchak has made it clear that the team will take the best player available, and that prospect’s fit with Kobe Bryant will not be a factor at all via Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News:

We’re not going to pick a player because he can play with Kobe, likes Kobe or dislikes Kobe. We’re going to pick the player that can have the longest and best career.”

Though Okafor, Karl-Anthony Towns, and D’Angelo Russell have all spoken about playing with Bryant, Kupchak is right in thinking like this. Kobe, by all accounts, is likely playing in his final season so it would be foolish to worry about who fits next to him. It has also been proven that teams should never draft for need that high in the draft and are much better off taking the best player available.

As was said before, Okafor remains the favorite to be taken by the Lakers and the team is supposedly ‘locked’ on him. Guards D’Angelo Russell and Emmanuel Mudiay will also be strongly considered as will Latvian big man Kristaps Porzingis who reportedly gave the Lakers ‘something to ponder’ after his open workout last Friday.

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