(Photo caption: Coming out of a Lakers staff meeting, Dr. Buss tells Commissioner Stern "We don't need your F*****g Charity")
It's June 25, NBA Draft Day as the following scene unfolds before us.
Commissioner David Stern approaches the podium. "The Los Angeles Lakers, with the 29th pick of the first round, choose..."No one?!". He quickly turns to Stu Jackson who is off the stage and gives him a puzzled, "WTH is this?" gesture.
Stu just shrugs, and sends back a, "I don't know?!" look.
Stern turns the note over and reads the rest of the Lakers message. 'And you can keep 42 and 59 as well.'
Seriously, folks, why would the Lakers even want a draft pick? They just won the NBA Championship and are looking pretty good for the near future.
Have you examined their team for next year, and the next, and the next?
They are very solid at every position.
Okay, you might reason that you draft, for back-ups or for insurance. You reason wrong.
Except for the 'versatile one', Lamar Odom, the rest of Lakers are specialists. This is not a weakness but a strength, just as you might see a Doctor who is a specialist. They all know their role, and do it well.
I hope you get my point here. How could a star struck, weak kneed rookie improve what the Lakers organization have already created? He can't.
Why would the good Doctor Buss pay twice the price in salary (See unfair lux tax) for a guy who can't break into the line-up for several years? He won't.
So why all the speculation on who the Lakers draft picks will be? When he can't possibly make the team.
And if one guy did get lucky enough to be drafted and somehow signed with the Lakers, he would only be stuck carrying all the veterans luggage. - A time honored Lakers tradition. Carry all that luggage?! Poor guy, he'd probably quit after a week.
Really, the Lakers Brain Trust have already made the decisions for us.
Listen to what Mitch Kupchak said about the Lakers Draft picks.
“We have three picks, and if we bring back the players we want to we’ll have at least 13 players on our roster. It stands to reason that we’d look to either move a pick, trade a pick, exchange picks for future picks or pick a player and look for them to play overseas for at least a year.”
You don't even have to be a 'read between the lines' expert to see where Mitch is going with this statement. Draft picks are not a priority for the Lakers as, let's say, the Clippers, the perennial Washington Generals of the NBA.
This team is set in stone for some time. If ANY name happens to come across the Lakers draft board, I can guarantee, it will not be pronounceable. Chances are, he's not from the USA. And why? Because of the International Players Rule.
IPR means you draft a project guy, let's say from Spain. Then you don't sign him, which is the beauty of the IPR. Because you don't have to pay him while he develops overseas. And you still own his rights!
Worked very well with Marc Gasol, no?
So, not only will Lakers Fans be celebrating like the Celtics Fans did last year, but they will have one stress and worry free summer. Just think, no need for endless debates on the blogs on who should they take and why my pick is better than yours. What a relief!
Instead, they can be off the computers, out of the houses, and on to the beaches, where Southern Californians earn their well deserved reputation.
Authors note: Some might perceive this Lakers organization as arrogant and you are probably right. It doesn't mean though, that the Lakers are guaranteed to win another Title next year. The NBA has some very good teams worthy of competing for a Championship, like Denver, San Antonio, Utah, Boston, Orlando, Cleveland, etc...
It's just that this team is pretty much set and for the NBA, the draft is meant to give its otherwise lesser teams, some margin of hope.
Update: The Lakers sold their two first picks (4.5 million) and for the 59th pick took someone with a name a little hard to pronounce, Chinemelu Elonu, from Nigeria.