NBA Draft 2012: 7 Prospects Los Angeles Lakers Must Target

Imaz ACorrespondent IIMay 9, 2012

NBA Draft 2012: 7 Prospects Los Angeles Lakers Must Target

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    The 2012 draft class may turn out to be one of the best ever.

    With Anthony Davis, Michael-Kidd Gilchrist, Thomas Robinson, Brad Beal and more, this year’s draft is full of talent that possesses tremendous potential.

    The Los Angeles Lakers, a team in need of depth, has one pick—the very last one.

    Although the pick may seem useless, it’s important to note that there are many good players available in the second round that can make solid contributions in the NBA.

    There may not be many players that the Lakers can choose from in this year’s draft, but there are still good ones.

    Here is a list of seven prospects the Lakers should target.

Team Needs

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    Although the Lakers have only one pick in the draft, they need to maximize its potential.

    They won’t be able to sign a big fish in free agency because of cap space, so it’s vital that the team gets a hold of some good and financially cheap talent.

    Anyway, the Lakers already have one of the best starting lineups in the league. However, they have one of the worst benches.

    Also, they already have one of the best offenses, but they lack bench scoring—obtaining offensively skilled players is key. 

    In addition, they have a few players with expiring contracts such as Troy Murphy, Matt Barnes, Jordan Hill and Devin Ebanks.

    The Lakers will need to fill these holes:

    Backup Power Forward/Center: The Lakers don’t have much depth behind Gasol and Bynum and they may lose pieces if they fail to re-sign Murphy and/or Hill.

    Small Forward: While I expect Metta World Peace to be a starter next year, the Lakers will need to draft a small forward in case they fail to re-sign Barnes and/or Ebanks.

    Backup Scoring Guard: The Lakers don’t have much scoring outside of their starting lineup, and they don’t possess a legitimate backup shooting guard who can provide consistent minutes.

    Perimeter shooters: At 25th in the league, the Lakers have one of the worst team three-point shooting percentages at 32.6 percent.

    The team clearly has a lot of needs, but they’ll only have one pick in the draft.

    Let's take a look at their options. 

Henry Sims

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    Filled Need: Backup PF/C

    Henry Sims is a 6’11”, 245-lb power forward/center from Georgetown.

    Like many Georgetown centers of the past, Sims possesses a high basketball IQ and is a willing passer.

    He isn’t known for his defensive skills at all but he is a decent shot-blocker with great length.

    Offensively, Sims has a great mid-range jumper.

    As a Laker, Sims can be a valuable role player who can knock down open jumpers off double-teams.

    On nbadraft.net and DraftExpress.com, he is projected to go in the 50s, and it’s possible that he can drop to the Lakers. 

John Shurna

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    Filled Need: Backup SF/Perimeter Shooting

    John Shurna was the focal point of Northwestern’s offense last season.

    At 6’10”, Shurna has great size, and he will likely play small forward in the NBA.

    Without a doubt, Shurna will be a defensive liability, but he is a tremendous jump shooter that can spot up from anywhere—he shot 44 percent from three-point land last season.

    His skills will definitely come in handy for the Lakers, who are one of the poorest perimeter shooting teams in the league.

    Personally, I sense a lot of Steve Novak from Shurna—both are similar heights and have essentially the same offensive and defensive capabilities.

    Fortunately, Shurna is not in the top 60 on many draft boards, which puts him in perfect position for the Lakers to draft him. 

Bernard James

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    Filled Need: Backup Center

    Bernard James, a center from Florida State, is ranked outside the top 60 on both DraftExpress.com and nbadraft.net, which puts him in Laker range.

    At 6’10”, 240 lbs, James has good height to be a center, and he’s very similar to Jordan Hill.

    Like Hill, James is a high-motor guy who rebounds (he averaged over eight in 28 MPG last season) and blocks shots (he averaged 2.3 BPG last season).

    Both skills are valuable and they can be utilized in the NBA.

    While he doesn’t have a versatile offensive game, James does well off of pick-and-rolls and cuts—I can already imagine him paired with Ramon Sessions.

    James can fit in great with the Lakers if they fail to re-sign Jordan Hill.

    The only real drawback is his age—he’s already 27 years old because he spent time in the military prior to playing at Florida State.

    However, at pick 60, James will be a nice value pick.

Chace Stanback

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    Filled Need: Backup SF/Perimeter Shooting

    Chace Stanback is a 6’8” small forward from UNLV.

    Stanback has great length to be a small forward and he is a pretty good defender who can disrupt shots.

    His shooting is perhaps his best skill.

    Stanback shot 45 percent from three-point land last season and he hit an impressive 51 percent of his jumpers.

    Certainly, he can do the same for the Lakers as a spot-up shooter who can provide offense off the bench.  

Robert Sacre

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    Filled Need: Backup PF/C

    At 7’0”, Robert Sacre of Gonzaga possesses tremendous size.

    He isn’t a good defensive player, but he is good offensive rebounder who can score in the post.

    In addition, he has a nice mid-range jumper.

    Sacre is listed in the late 50s to early 70s on top 100 big boards on nbadraft.net and DraftExpress.com, so the Lakers have a great chance of getting him.

    Much like Henry Sims, Sacre can score off double-teams and even do some damage with his post game. 

Kim English

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    Filled Need: Perimeter Shooting

    Kim English was a big part of Missouri’s offense last season.

    At 6’6”, he possesses good size for a shooting guard.

    His most valuable skill is his efficient shooting—he connected on over 50 percent of his shots and over 40 percent of his three-pointers last season with the Tigers.

    He will fit in well in the Lakers offense as a spot-up shooter.

J'Covan Brown

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    Filled Need: Scoring Guard Off the Bench

    J’Covan Brown was known for taking some ill-advised shots at Texas, but he can do exactly what the Lakers need him to do: score off the bench.

    Last season, Brown averaged 20.1 PPG on a good 37 percent shooting from downtown.

    At 6’1”, he is definitely too short to play consistently at shooting guard, but I still believe he can be valuable for the Lakers if he figures out his limitations.