The Los Angeles Lakers will have several options in the first round of the 2014 NBA Draft. After the lottery was held, L.A. ended up with the No.7 overall pick.
L.A. might not end up with one of the elite talents in the draft, but they can still find a future All-Star with their top pick. This year’s class might be the deepest in over a decade, and a few players stand out as potential selections for Los Angeles.
During McDermott’s four years at Creighton, no other collegiate player equaled him as an offensive threat. As a senior, he averaged 26.7 points and 7.0 rebounds per game on 52.6 percent shooting.
There are a lot of questions surrounding how McDermott’s game will translate to the NBA. He’s not a superior athlete and could have a lot of trouble defensively. He’s doesn’t appear quick enough to guard small forwards and lacks the size to defend power forwards.
McDermott won’t be a top five pick, but his elite shooting ability could compel a team to take him within the first 10 selections. He made 45 percent of his three-point attemps last season, shooting more than six times from behind the arc each game. The 22-year-old won’t replace Kobe Bryant as the face of the Lakers, but he could be an important piece in helping them return to the playoffs.
Pau Gasol is likely moving on in free agency, and the Lakers need help in the frontcourt. Kansas’s Joel Embiid won’t be around at No.7, and Kentucky’s Julius Randle will likely be gone, as well. That leaves Vonleh as the best big man on the board.
The 6’10 freshman had a strong season with Indiana, averaging 11.3 points, 9.0 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game. Vonleh impressed at that NBA Combine with the size of his hands, which were measured at 11.75 inches. He’s only 18 years old and might not be a star in the immediate future, but he has a lot of upside.
For years, the Lakers have been in search of an upper echelon point guard. They didn’t get one when they traded for Steve Nash in 2012, and the first round of the 2014 draft might be their best opportunity to strengthen their backcourt. It appeared that Dante Exum might be destined to play in L.A., but he’ll probably be gone by No.7. Smart, however, could still be there for the taking.
The Oklahoma State product is a top point guard prospect, and could immediately become a starter, alongside Bryant. After it was suspected that he’d go pro as a freshman, he returned for his sophomore season, and improved his scoring (18.0) and assist (4.8) averages, as well as his shooting percentage. Kendall Marshall had some big games for the Lakers, but his numbers dipped in the final two months, and Smart has All-Star potential.