The Los Angeles Lakers have a busy offseason ahead of them. They will try to re-sign free agent Dwight Howard and attempt to improve a team that will be well over the salary cap threshold. Since free agency doesn’t begin until July, L.A.’s first opportunity to get better for the 2013-2014 season comes on Thursday with the NBA Draft.
Unless the Lakers make a trade, they won’t have many options on draft day. The club is without a first-round pick, having sent it to the Phoenix Suns in the deal that landed them Steve Nash. Their only selection comes at No.48 overall, in the second round.
Los Angeles might have a tough time drafting someone who can be a major contributor next year. In the 2012 draft, no prospect selected later than No.43 played in more than 32 regular season games in their rookie campaign.
With the odds stacked against them, the Lakers have done their due diligence to increase their chances of selecting a rotation player. On June 13, the club held a pre-draft workout with prospects that they might potentially take. Most notably at the workout was Peyton Siva, who won a championship with Louisville in his final college basketball season. In his four years with the Cardinals, the point guard was a key contributor to one of the best teams in the nation. Siva averaged at least 28 minutes, nine points and five assists per game in each of his last three seasons.
Point guard may be the Lakers biggest need heading into 2014. Steve Nash missed 32 regular season games in his first year with Los Angeles and appears to be on the decline. In his absence, the combination of Steve Blake, Darius Morris and Chris Duhon was one of the worst in the league.
L.A.’s need at point guard could put Ray McCallum on their radar, as well. The guard from Detroit is projected as a late second-round pick, and the Lakers could decide to take a chance on him at No.48. He was a scoring guard with the Titans, averaging 18.7 points per game in 2012-2013. The Lakers could benefit from taking a point guard that can score, since Kobe Bryant’s Achilles injury could hold off his return until a few weeks into the season.
Archie Goodwin may have more of an upside than Siva or McCallum. In his freshman campaign at Kentucky, the 6’4 guard averaged 14.1 points and 4.6 rebounds per game. Goodwin is raw, and probably needs several months to develop, however, and could be gone earlier in the second round.
If the Lakers decide to draft a big man, Colton Iverson may be their top choice. The seven-footer nearly averaged a double-double for Colorado State, and there were rumors heading into May’s combine that the club was interested in him.
The Lakers haven’t been very successful in the draft of late. Their most successful pick in the last five years has been Devin Ebanks, who’s started 15 games for the club in the past two years.
However, the club has a great history of success with second-round picks. Nick Van Exel, Ruben Patterson, Luke Walton, Ronny Turiaf, and Von Wafer, among others, were drafted in the second round, and managed to stay in the NBA for multiple seasons.
Prediction: Peyton Siva