The LA Lakers came into this draft not having any real holes to fill. LA's main goal this offseason is to resign Trevor Ariza and Lamar Odom. With Orlando, San Antonio and Cleveland making moves for big name veteren players the Lakers may now even be more motivated to resign both.
LA traded the rights to its 1st (29) round pick to the New York Knicks for 3 million in cash. The Lakers also traded their 2nd (42) rounder away to the Heat for future considerations. LA did keep their last pick witch was the 59th pick in the draft. With that they choose Texas A&M big man Chinemelu Elonu.
Chinemelu Elonu could end up being another diamond in the rough for the Lakers. At 6'10 235 pounds he was one of the few big men in this draft. He had recently had second thoughts about returning to A&M to play another season but decided last second to stay in the draft. Chinemelu averaged 10 points and 7 rebounds in his final season for the Aggies. NBA scouts feel he should transition well to the NBA because he is a hard worker and a great rebounder.
Elonus' coach at A&M couldn't seem to say enough about this kid. He praised him for being a person of good character and a hard worker. “I have never in my life been around a kid that works as hard as Chinemelu,” Smith said. “He is head and shoulders above a lot of kids when it comes to work ethic and passion for the game. He comes early to the gym and leaves late, and he spends a lot of time in the weight room. He’s a tireless worker.”
Overall I think this was a pretty good draft. We were able to pick up some extra cash that could help with the re-signings of Ariza and Odom. With our one pick we got a hard working kid with a great attitude. He is also a little bit of insurance if by some chance we don't end up bringing Odom back.