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Lakers fans have undoubtedly been scouring the collegiate ranks for the team's next superstar. With guys like Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker, Julius Randle, Aaron Gordon and Joel Embiid looking like franchise building blocks, this is an awfully appealing draft class.
While the Lakers would surely love to land any of those college stars, the future of the franchise could come from the land down under. Dante Exum is an 18-year-old, 6'6" point guard from Australia that has a shockingly refined game for someone of his experience.
Exum changes speed and direction like a great pitcher would, and the footwork on his drives is sublime.
He can get to the rim in a flash. He can navigate the pick-and-roll like a pro, and with his defensive potential, he'd be a perfect fit next to Kobe Bryant, as he could always take the tougher of the backcourt matchups regardless of size.
Do the Lakers have a realistic shot at Exum? It might take some luck, but there are a few things working in their favor.
The first is the depth at the top of this class. The second is that there aren't many teams slated to draft ahead of the Lakers that need a point guard. The Orlando Magic look like the only team with a clear-cut need at the point, and you can't rule out the possibility that Marcus Smart from Oklahoma State is higher on a few boards around the league.
A better tanking effort for the rest of this season may still be required, as the Lakers are currently pegged to have the 11th pick. Exum, meanwhile, is widely regarded as a top-6 selection. If somehow the Lakers can scoot up in the lottery a few spots, there's a decent chance Exum will be on the board for them to take.
But why Exum? While the other aforementioned prospects could all help the Lakers, guards usually have the quickest transition from college or international play to the pros. Damian Lillard and Michael Carter-Williams are pretty good examples of guys that have hit the ground running from day one.
Put a player of Exum's skills and natural ability with Mike D'Antoni, who is a point guard whisperer, and the Lakers' prospects would be looking up pretty quickly.