With the confetti shower and the parade down Figueroa Street just memories of a successful defense of their NBA Title, the Lakers are now looking more toward free agency to fulfill their needs than today’s NBA Draft.
They traded both their 2008 and 2010 first-round picks to the Memphis Grizzlies in the deal for Pau Gasol. They no longer have first-round picks in 2011 and 2013, either. The highest they will draft this year is the 43rd overall pick, followed later by the 58th pick.
While they may luck out in the No. 43 slot, there is little hope of picking up anyone decent with that last pick.
What are their needs? Well, if you look at their roster and figure out who may be going, it is obvious they need a point guard. Both their starter, Derek Fisher, and his backup, Jordan Farmar, are unrestricted free agents.
While it is expected that the team will try to re-sign Fisher, they are apt not to get in a bidding war for Farmar, considering that the Lakers are well over the salary cap.
Also expected to leave are Josh Powell and D.J. Mbenga. That means the Lakers could use another large body as a backup center or power forward.
Who might be available at the No. 43 slot? Well, at point guard or shooting guard, here is the long and short of it.
Mikhail Torrance is a tall, 6-foot-5 guard from Alabama who averaged 15.6 points per game along with 5.1 assists. He has a 47 percent field goal average along with 35.8 percent on his three-point tries.
Despite the fact that 6-foot-1 Fisher and 6-foot tall Farmar have been mainstays at the position over the last three years, General Manager Mitch Kupchak favors taller guards.
So, Torrance is the long one. The short one is Jerome Randle, a senior out of Cal. Despite his diminutive size, Randle is one of the more impressive players likely to still be available deep into the second round. Randle averaged 18.6 points per game on 47.5 percent shooting and a very respectable 40.4 percent from beyond the arc. He also added 4.3 assists per game.
Another small point guard who will most likely still be around deep into the second round is Sherron Collins, a 5-foot-11 senior from Kansas who averaged 15.5 points and 4.5 assists.
Looking at some big men who might be available, Jarvis Varnado, a 6-foot-9 senior from Mississippi State, is a prolific shot blocker. He led the nation in blocked shots, averaging an astounding 4.7 blocks per game to go along with his 13.8 points and 10.3 rebounds.
Another possibility at power forward is Luke Harangody, a 6-foot-8 senior from Notre Dame. Harangody pulled out of last year’s draft, hoping to improve this year. He has been the top scorer in the nation and led the Irish with 21.8 points per game and 9.1 rebounds.
Devin Ebanks is a sophomore forward from West Virginia who did not live up to expectations. Despite some off-the-court difficulties, Ebanks is still expected to go early in the second round due to his overall athleticism and potential. If he is still on hand when the Lakers pick, Kupchak just might take a chance and pull the trigger.
The biggest prospect as far as size goes deeper into the second round is Brian Zoubek, a 7-foot-1 center from Duke. He only averaged 18.7 minutes per game and 5.6 points; however, he did average 7.7 rebounds while he was in there. But there are players who may still be on the board that have better athleticism.
Finally, another big guard, who has been in the NBA Draft since 2006, is Russian Alexey Shved. He hasn’t played very much in the European League, but he has been impressive in a couple of camps in Europe.
I don’t really expect either of the Lakers' two picks, no matter who they are, to make the team. I think they will get bumped by free agents. But you never know. Stranger things have been known to happen.