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Hoops Rumors Community Shootaround 6/15/15

Some of the greatest joys of being a sports fan, besides your favorite team winning the championship, are the debates that arise between fellow sports nuts along the way. It’s with this in mind that we have begun providing a forum for basketball fanatics to voice their opinions, debate trending topics, and simply hang out with like-minded hoops aficionados. We’ll be posting a topic for readers to discuss each weeknight, and we hope that this will become a regular part of your sports day.

Of course, there will be differing opinions from time to time. While we absolutely encourage lively discussion and debate, we do expect everyone to treat each other with respect. So, please refrain from inappropriate language, personal insults or attacks, as well as the other taboo types of discourse laid out in our site’s commenting policy.  Speaking of commenting: we’ve made it much easier to leave a comment here at Hoops Rumors.  Just put in your name, email address, and comment and submit it; there is no need to become a registered user.

Now that the preamble is out of the way, we can now get to the day’s topic: What should the Lakers do with the No. 2 overall pick in this year’s NBA Draft?

Should L.A. try to deal the pick for an established star? If so, which players would be worthy of the franchise passing on a potential young superstar in the draft? If not, then whom should the team target with the pick? Should the Lakers go with a big man such as Jahlil Okafor or Karl-Anthony Towns, or add a playmaker like D’Angelo Russell or Emmanuel Mudiay? Maybe you think the franchise should gamble on the upside of Latvian forward Kristaps Porzingis? We had our say when we looked at the offseason ahead for the Lakers today. Now, the floor is yours. Take to the comments section below and weigh in with your thoughts and opinions. We look forward to what you have to say.

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27 thoughts on “Hoops Rumors Community Shootaround 6/15/15

  1. Tony

    I wouldn’t mind Russell, to be honest. I feel like him and Clarkson would work really well off of each other and would have some success in this guard-driven league. The Lakers can pick up a big man in free agency and also grab some frontcourt depth with the second first-rounder and early second-round pick.

    Then again, the idea of the next great Lakers center in Towns or Okafor is intriguing.

    • Chuck Myron

      Russell has certainly vaulted up draft boards this year, but I can’t see him getting quite as high as No. 2. I think when you have the opportunity to take a strong big man, you should do it, although these Finals may well be proving that an outdated idea.

      • Eddie Scarito

        I think if given the choice between Okafor and Russell, the Lakers really need to take a hard look at going for the backcourt boost that Russell would provide. The NBA has become a guard-driven league, and the Lakers need talent at both spots. I like Clarkson, but I think he’ll be better served as a backup point guard/sixth man type for the long-term.Russell could end up being the best player in the entire draft. Really tough call with this pick.

  2. Stephen

    Keep it simple. Take the big man Minnesota doesn’t take. It’ll probably be Okafor, which would be a great steal at 2. He’ll get better defensively and his back-to-the-basket style of play would open things up offensively.

    • Chuck Myron

      I’m not sure if it’ll qualify as a steal; he’d have to turn into a transcendent superstar for that to happen, given how highly the Lakers are picking. I don’t see that in Okafor’s future, but I do think he’s the sort of post threat that could make the Lakers dangerous for years to come.

    • Eddie Scarito

      One problem with Okafor is his lack of defensive presence. His value is strictly as an offensive threat. So is 2014’s first-rounder, Julius Randle. I like a Towns/Randle pairing much better than an Okafor/Randle frontcourt. Don’t get me wrong…Okafor is a heck of a talent. But I think Russell can become a superstar in a few seasons.

  3. David

    The NBA has become a guard driven league because of the dearth of quality low post scorers in the league. When you have the chance to draft someone as offensively skilled as Okafor you turn the card in as quickly as possible. Eschewing the current line of thought (bucking a trend in favor of traditional logic) is what winning organizations do.

    Draft Okafor and have a piece you can build around for the next decade plus. That is what the Lakers do.

    • Chuck Myron

      Agreed. Okafor has a ceiling, and I don’t think he’ll be the next Mikan, Wilt, Kareem or Shaq, certainly. But he can solidify that position for years to come.

  4. Charlie

    I don’t think the option of trading the pick for an established player should be taken off the table. The Lakers don’t necessarily need to go through a true ‘rebuilding’ process like a small-market team does; they can improve rather quickly by luring big-name free agents to LA (something a team like Utah or Minnesota can’t so easily do). If they can land the right player via trade and ink a couple of big names this summer and next (definitely not out of the realm of possibility), they’re already well on their way back to being a title contender. They’ve got a few nice young pieces already, so I think you go with the proven talent if at all possible. If they can’t get the right guy via trade though, I say nab Okafor if he’s available since he’s the most NBA-ready talent in the draft.

    • Chuck Myron

      Yeah, I’d agree; you can’t rule out a trade, because you never know what a team is going to offer. And, certainly, if you can get a proven star, why gamble with a draft prospect who’s never played an NBA game? That said, I don’t think anyone is giving up a proven star for this pick. Too much risk there. The Wiggins-Love sorts of trades don’t come around that often.

      • Charlie

        Yep, odds are low of anyone actually offering up a real ‘star’ for a pick, but that’s certainly even more reason to take such an offer if it get proposed.

        The Lakers obviously have a history of great centers, and JO might be next on the list. Defense and FT% are a concern, especially with the hack-a-X and how important rim protection is now, but I don’t think those weaknesses should define someone with such a refined game at such a young age. He wouldn’t be the first big man to mature and get better on both of those fronts, and it’s not as if Russell is a defensive menace himself, so I think they should pull the trigger on Jahlil if they’re still picking second come draft day.

        • Chuck Myron

          Yeah, the defense is a real concern, but there aren’t a lot of rookies who are good at defense. I think the onus would be Byron Scott and his staff to work with him and develop his skills on that end. That’s part and parcel of the NBA world we live in now, with players coming into the league so young.

  5. Z.....

    They should take Russell or trade back for Winslow or Mudiay. They could luck out and fall into Robert Upshaw with the 27th pick

  6. Z.....

    …accidentally posted before finishing my thought…

    …or they could land one of the mid tier wings with that 27th pick and go after a big that can protect the rim in free agency and a 3 and D wing player

    • Chuck Myron

      I think they’d be very fortunate to find a trade that gives them Winslow and Mudiay. I would take that deal if I were them.

  7. Z.....

    I don’t see any way for them to get both. Obviously, you would do that. I meant either of them in that scenario.still, I would probably take Russell. He isn’t the best defensively either but he is active in passing lanes and gets a lot of steals, and also has shown pretty good quickness in lane drills. Offensively, he does everything you want from your primary guard nowadays, and he would be a nice fit with Kobe for his final couple of seasons. I also like the fit with Jordan Clarkson, as he can make up for Russells shortcomings defensively. Okafor is a below the rim big that doesn’t protect the rim defensively. In the half court, he would be a great weapon, so he would be a good fit for the playoffs offensively, but otherwise, he doesn’t space the floor, and as mentioned, his shortcomings defensively don’t make sense for the lakers, at least if you have Julius Randle as well.

  8. Z.....

    Also, you would ha e to surround Okafor with shooters, which the lakers dont have, and don’t seem likely to add considering Byron Scott and his apparent philosophy regarding 3 point shots

    • Chuck Myron

      Sorry about that; I misread your previous comment and thought you’d said Mudiay AND Winslow instead of OR. But you make a good point to bring up Byron Scott. His old-school philosophy would certainly suggest he’d want a big man there. Mitch Kupchak won’t necessarily give him what he wants, but I’m sure it’ll weigh heavily in consideration.

  9. Z.....

    The problem with oozing is is that he is just sooo skinny. He looks like he has great potential, as he looked great in the workout video, but I think it may take him a couple of years to get stronger and be more nba ready. He also obviously has shortcomings defensively, though he has blocked some shots in Europe. If he can get stronger and be able to survive having to bang with big bodies at times, he could be a big time fit for someone. I personally couldn’t take the risk with him that high in the draft after what we have seen from some international bigs, pretty much since Pau

  10. Z.....

    Really wish there was an edit function…supposed to say porzingis

    • Tim Dierkes

      We’re working on it!

    • Chuck Myron

      The video I saw showed Porzingis to lack quickness, and I’ve read similar observations from others. That could simply be a product of the 1-on-0 workout setting, but if it isn’t, it’s worrisome. You can’t really teach quickness.

  11. Z.....

    I don’t know. I thought he showed some quickness at times during that video, but I see what you’re saying about the rest. It’s hard to say b/c of the setting, as you mentioned. Regardless, you can definitely see his talent. He is interesting. Like I said thouhh, I personally couldn’t risk taking him over certain guys at the top

    • Chuck Myron

      Yeah, Porzingis certainly wouldn’t go over Towns or Okafor in my book. Over Russell and Mudiay? Maybe.

  12. C Popp

    IMO, the Lakers need to take Okafor at #2. I’m not too worried about his defense. The Lakers were not good defensively last year, so it’s not like adding JO is crippling a good defense. And the defense will improve over time. That being said, we know the Lakers would like to win now with Kobe, and out of the projected Top 4 picks, Okafor is the one most able and expected to provide right away. Also, I think the Lakers should explore trading for a PG rather than overpay for one in the FA market. Maybe try to strike a deal with Minnesota for Ricky Rubio (his contract could end up being team friendly once salary cap booms). Rubio would appear to be a good fit for LA, assuming he can stay on the court. I’m not sure what it would take to get Rubio, but maybe a package of Jordan Hill (would have to exercise team option), the #27 pick and another piece or 2 for salary purposes would get it done.

  13. Take okafor. He is a franchise player who can change everything on o and open up for kobe. Lakers will get shooters with pick 27. I’d offer jimmy butler max but Bulls would match. Would love Aldridge or love but dunno if we get them. Lakers will sign rondo and he will set up guys and help out on d. Russell is great player but I’ll take Duncan over harden everyday.

  14. Z.....

    Tim Duncan is one of the all time great pick and roll defenders, and has been a great defender in general for his whole career. To outright decide Okafor is Duncan is a joke

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