Kupchak On Lakers Offseason

Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak held a conference call today to discuss the state of the team as well as addressing the ongoing coaching search and upcoming NBA Draft. The transcripts were posted on NBA.com. Here are the highlights:

On receiving the seventh pick and if he thinks there is anyone in the draft who can change the face of the franchise at that spot:

“I wouldn’t say it was bad luck. We were hoping to get lucky, but as you know we could have dropped down to number nine, too. We were hoping to get lucky, or at worst case, stay where we were, but it could have been worse. As far as what [Boston Celtics Executive] Danny [Ainge] said, that’s up to him. We think drafting number seven, there is going to be a good player available there. Maybe Danny is talking more about a guy that changes the face of an organization from the get-go, but you can’t really evaluate these things until years later when you look back on it. Damian Lillard is a great example. I don’t think anybody thought walking through the draft that he would turn into the player [he is] as quickly as he did, but looking back on it is a heck of a selection. We will be able to get a good player, and we are hoping that three or four years from now we can look back on it and he is even a better player than we thought.”

On the impact a player selected seventh overall can make:

“Well, it depends. Most of the players in the draft for the last 15 to 18 years have been young, developing players and some of them make a contribution quicker than others. There are certainly a couple of guys that played more than two years. There is a kid that played four years that might make a contribution quicker. I’m not saying he would be someone we would consider or not consider at seven. My point is, typically – and we have kind of gotten used to it over the years – you do have to work with the younger player and those are the guys that get drafted the highest, whether they are freshman or sophomore, it may take a year or two.”

On the variables the front office is measuring in potential coaching candidates and whether they want to pursue a veteran coach or a young coach:

“I think right now, our interviews will be formal in terms of sitting down and talking for a couple of hours, but at some point, we will probably have to sit down and talk a second time. I think that is where we are right now, at the beginning of the process. Whether it is a veteran coach or a rookie coach, that is not something we are prepared to comment on right now.”

On if there are particular offensive and defensive philosophies the Lakers are looking for in a coaching candidate:

“I wouldn’t use the word philosophy, but we have a player on our team right now who is proven in this league. Offensively, he can score and that certainly is a consideration. Obviously I’m talking about Kobe [Bryant]. He is under contract for two more years and we think he is a very integral part of this team. We have to make sure that whoever we hire as a coach will really get the most productivity out of him, whether it is scoring the ball or playmaking or the threat that he may score. That is probably a primary importance right now.”

On if they will focus on the drafting in the seventh spot or continue to look at other options:

“We started last night calling and trying to set up workouts with probably everybody on our board in the top 15 to 20. Some of those guys don’t think they are going to be there at seven so they won’t come in. There is nothing we can do about that. But some guys that are drafted later, and you may say ‘well why bring in a guy that might go 20?’ Well you never know, number one, and number two, you have the opportunity to develop a relationship with a player. Why not do it? So that started last night.”

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