Now that we know the Lakers have the 7th overall pick for sure, there's been a flurry of discontent in Laker Nation. Pretty much anything that was not a top three pick was met with comments such as "waste of a tank" and whatnot. Yeah, high expectations and all that.
But now that we know what we are dealing with, I still think there's talent here. The beauty of this? If you've read this blog and its frequently updated mocks, you'll know that my consensus generally doesn't match with the "wisdom of the crowd" aspect by Draftexpress, nbadraft.net and the particularly ill-informed like Chad Ford. With that in mind, sometimes it's better to trade back and get more bang for the buck--take advantage of the less informed, and use your information to make multiple picks.
I'm assuming that Joel Embiid, Dante Exum and Jabari Parker would be gone by the time we get the 7th. But if Marcus Smart falls here...I'd take the guy. He ranks 2nd in my algorithm, and I think he's a major steal in a draft like this. I might also make a case for Noah Vonleh, who ranks well enough (9th) within the inset of our draft pick.
I'm not completely sold on Aaron Gordon (21st). He's super young, but he's really hampered by that awful free throw percentage. Before you say, oh, that's definitely going to improve, keep in my mind he went something like 76-170. That's a huge sample space to work with, and that's among the worst free throw percentages in NCAA annals. He's fairly lukewarm, and not really extraordinary, in other categories. I think he's more personality and hard work than game, and while said hard work can improve the game, I think there are better prospects out there. He's known as a great team player and a team defender, but I wish he got more steals and blocks than what he put up.
Doug McDermott (32nd) and Julius Randle (34th) qualify as what I think are busts especially when you're talking top ten picks by the wisdom of the crowd. I brought this up to a fellow stat geek: but Randle's oft-cited NBA comparison, Zach Randolph, shot 59% on 2's and had 2.8 blocks/steals per 40 minutes in his freshman year. Randle his freshman year? 51% on 2's (just awful for a big) and a paltry 1.6 blocks/steals per 40 minutes. He's significantly worse than Zach, and there's a certain belief in the stat geek that he's a bust. I just happen to keep docking him each time as my model grows more "informed".
McDermott is that quintessential great college player, poor NBA player type. Yes, he can hit 2's. He can hit threes. And rebound. But some of the greatest predictive power comes from assists and steal/block combinations. When you're awful at both? That's a double whammy right there that undermines any great strength. For reference, another Creighton product, Kyle Korver, put up excellent steal/block and assist combinations at Creighton, in addition to great rebounding. That's the true Creighton product, not McDermott.
So, there's only two names I'd really like: Marcus Smart and Noah Vonleh.
So...what's the other option? Trading down. I'd trade 7th for 14th and the 18th picks, or to the Bulls for the 16th and 19th picks. There, we can fish out some real sleepers--Nikola Jokic, Jordan Adams, Clint Capela, Elfrid Payton, Mitch McGary, Kyle Anderson, Nik Stauskas and Damien Inglis are all popular choices at these slots. Late 1st rounders include Spencer Dinwiddie and Adreian Payne.
If we fish out for 2nd rounders I'd recommend Vasilije Micic, Taylor Braun, Kendrick Perry, Davion Berry, Jake Odum, Moussa Diagne and Javon McCrea.