The 2014 season is one most Laker fans would like to forget.
With the seventh overall pick in the draft, L.A. chose promising young forward Julius Randle, who broke his ankle in the Lakers’ home opener and needed surgery that ended his season. Kobe Bryant, who turns 37 in August, tore his rotator cuff less than halfway through this past year, ending his season as well. The Lakers went on to a 21-61 record, the fourth-worst in the NBA and the worst in team history.
This year, L.A. has the second pick in the draft, and the rumors have been swirling for months about who the Lakers might snatch up tonight at the two spot. The Minnesota Timberwolves own the first pick this year, and word in the Twin Cities is they want University of Kentucky forward Karl-Anthony Towns. The Lakers could go in a number of different directions at number two, though they are widely expected to draft Duke center Jahlil Okafor. At 6’11”, he’s a monster in the post and an excellent rebounder, but questions remain about his defensive abilities.
Assuming Towns goes first, the Lakers could also choose from talent like Wisconsin’s Frank Kaminsky, who won the 2015 Player of the Year Award for men’s college basketball, the explosive Ohio State guard D’Angelo Russell, or standout forward Stanley Johnson out of Arizona. The Lakers also have the 27th and 34th picks out of 60. Barring any draft day trades, the Clippers will not pick in the 2015 draft, having traded their picks away (though they do get to show off some shiny new uniforms next season).
The Lakers could also make a trade, though they would have to declare their second pick as a Laker before making any trade. Rumors have been swirling that the Lakers are interested in getting forward DeMarcus Cousins from the Sacramento Kings. At 24, Cousins has established himself as one of the NBA’s premiere big men, and would be an intimidating force if paired down low with Julius Randle.
Who should the Lakers take with the second overall pick? Should they look to make a trade instead, and if so, for whom? What do you see as the biggest needs for the Lakers this year? Are the Lakers doing enough to prepare the team for life after Kobe?
A Martinez, host of KPCC’s Take Two and host of Lakers Line on 710AM KSPN after Laker games