As the Los Angeles Lakers gear up for the draft next week they enter with only with a first round pick and numerous positions to fill. They are limited in what they can offer other teams for a second round pick and would be hard pressed to consider trading down with their current selection to get an extra pick in the second round.
With so many needs at almost every position the team needs to take the best player available mentality as they enter the draft. Here are three players that could be valuable late second round picks or could realistically just miss out on being drafted and be great players for the Lakers to sign.
In terms of big men available late in the second round that can come in right away, you don’t have to look much further than the Baylor frontcourt. Isaiah Austin was a household name while dominating the paint down low this past year for the Bears. Interestingly, if he is drafted he will be the second NBA player to be legally blind in one eye.
Austin has the talent to go anywhere in the second round where every mock draft has him in a different spot on the board. At the next level Austin will either be a stretch four or possibly a euro-style center. At 7-1, 220 pounds, he will be a matchup nightmare with his ability to stretch the floor with his quickness and ability to effectively shoot the long ball. The Lakers would greatly benefit from his inside-outside game but will need him to gain lower body strength so he won’t get pushed around too much under the basket. Austin’s defense has greatly improved in college but if he wants to earn minutes off the bench, he really needs to improve his ability to rebound in traffic and learn to box out against the more athletic power forwards.
Stanford shocked everyone in the NCAA tournament and they were led by the stellar play of power forward Dwight Powell. Coming off his senior season, the 6-11 PF averaged 14 PPG, 6.9 RPG and 3.1 AST.
Powell plays more like a point forward and his mobility allows him to run the floor beautifully. At Stanford he was a solid facilitator during his junior and senior seasons. He will need to improve his consistency going forward as he has ability to randomly disappear in games. Also, he could use some better offensive creativity in the low post as he tends be very predictable with the ball. He is the type of player who can become a great role player at the next level and gives you steady minutes right from the start.
A different approach to the second round would be to look for a new point guard to groom for the future. Arizona state sophomore Jahii Carson is one of the fastest players in division one. He is a bit undersized at 5-11, but uses his speed, ball skills and massive 43.5” vertical to get around players. His last season at ASU saw him average 18.6 PPG, 4.6 AST and 39.1% from 3PT range.
Carson is considered to be one of the most athletic guys in the draft and his ultra-quick scoring ability should fit right in with a team who needs more ways to score and create space on the floor. He needs work on the defensive part of his game, which was a bit of liability for him when on the floor at ASU. He also will need to improve some of his mid-range jump shots and gain some strength, as he tends to struggle with the more physical points guards. If he puts it all together has the ability come off the bench and be a spark plug in the mold of Nate Robinson.