Mitch Kupchak, general manager for the two-time defending champion Los Angeles Lakers, might make a good judge on "American Idol." Like the wildly popular FOX television show, Kupchak’s mission is to find the diamond in the rough, the one or two or three or four late draft picks who will rise to the top and become legitimate NBA stars in their own right.
A good example of Kupchak’s moxy came in 2005 when the team selected 6'10", 245-pound power forward Ronny Turiaf with the 37th overall pick in the draft. The high energy, aggressive Turiaf was a gamble—though he was Gonzaga’s fourth all-time leading scorer and rebounder.
Less than a month after being drafted in the second round by Los Angeles, Turiaf underwent open heart surgery. He started the season in the Continental Basketball Association but ultimately signed with the Lakers on January 17, 2006 and quickly brought much needed energy, hustle and leadership to the team.
This year, the Lakers have the 41st, 46th, 55th and 58th picks, all in the second round. While the lottery picks will be long gone and the first-round selections a distant memory, the Lakers do have a great opportunity to pluck some intriguing, athletic position players in the second round who ultimately could help the team over the next several years.
Similar to “Idol," if these second rounders perform well, they’ll be invited back. If they don’t, they may quickly disappear from the basketball stage at Staples Center in Los Angeles.
The Lakers have a need for a strong point guard and depth at the forward positions since Andrew Bynum is their only “young” starter on the front lines, and we all know of his injury history.
Let’s take a look at the top 10 Lakers prospects who may get the call this coming June. There are some definite gems—they just need the right sort of polishing.