Between 1996 and 2006, the Los Angeles Lakers acquired 17 players through the NBA Draft, 10 of which went on to help the franchise win what is now 16 world championships.
Aside from Kobe Bryant, none of the other nine players had the superstar sticker placed on them, and to this day those nine guys remain within the same capacity by which they began their respective careers: role players.
Since 2006, the Lakers have dealt or otherwise lost their four draft picks, mainly due to a lack of need for them, combined with coach Phil Jackson's reluctance to play rookies.
However, as Thursday's NBA Draft draws nearer, L.A. may want to fall back on its pre-2007 draft form and use their 43rd and 58th selections to kickstart the 2010 offseason -- an offseason that will soon see four unrestricted free agents (Derek Fisher, Josh Powell, Adam Morrison and DJ Mbenga), one restricted free agent (Jordan Farmar) and another potential free agent (Shannon Brown, if he so chooses to opt out of his current contract) hit the inevitably historic market.
With that said, here are three potential draft picks that will put the Lakers in a predator-like position to prime themselves for a three-peat (in order of priority):
Brian Zoubek, Center, Duke
At 7-feet-1, Zoubek is one of only a few legitimate big men in the 2010 draft class. Sure he averaged just over 5 points and just under 1 block during his senior season, but Zoubek is also an underrated rebounder and a pretty good passer, the latter of which is essential for the triangle offense. Additionally, Mike Krzyzewski-coached players have typically had successful NBA careers -- see: Grant Hill, Carlos Boozer, Elton Brand, Luol Deng, Corey Maggette, Mike Dunleavy, Chris Duhon and J.J. Redick, among others -- and by being a part of Duke's 2010 championship campaign, Zoubek understands what it takes to be a winner.
Sherron Collins, Point Guard, Kansas
Listed at 6-feet tall and 217 pounds, Collins is a physical guard with great athleticism. He is like the aforementioned Brown, but with more of a pass-first, shoot-second mentality. Collins could very well become Fisher's successor in due time, and he has the physicality and quickness to disrupt the opposing point guard, a defensive scheme the Lakers have surely lacked in recent years. There have been questions surrounding his weight control and discipline, but with the teammate likes of Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher, you have to think that everyone in L.A.'s locker room is held to the same standards and responsibilities, specifically a rookie like Collins.
Jon Scheyer, Shooting Guard, Duke
Scheyer is not entirely athletic nor physical by any stretch of the imagination, but what he lacks in the athleticism and physicality departments, he remarkably makes up for with his cerebral and disciplined play. During his days at Duke, Scheyer was a great leader who played within himself and usually refrained from trying to do more than he was capable of accomplishing. Moreover, Sawyer is a terrific shooter -- an element the Lakers currently lack -- and at 6-feet-6, he has considerable court vision and capable ball-handling skills to play point guard, if need be.
You can contact Josh Hoffman at JHoffMedia@gmail.com.