NBA Draft, Free Agency 2011: Julyan Stone Right Backcourt Mate for Kobe Bryant?
UPDATE: Julyan Stone was not selected in the 2011 NBA Draft and would be an excellent signing for the Lakers as an undrafted free agent.
Julyan Stone is an intriguing point guard prospect who is projected to be selected at the end of the second round (at best). The Los Angeles Lakers' need at point guard has been well documented and they have four second-round picks.
So it makes sense to speculate on the possibility of the Lakers taking the 6'7" point guard whose numbers demonstrate that he has very little concern for scoring.
During his four-year career at UTEP, Stone averaged more assists than field-goal attempts per game (5.2 compared to 4.3).
A backcourt of Stone and Kobe Bryant could pose some very interesting problems for opposing teams. They're both at least 6'6" and have the ability to create off the dribble and distribute the ball to the open teammate.
For the last few years, that responsibility was basically all on Kobe's shoulders. He's been expected to not only carry the team in terms of scoring, but also in terms of running the offense and keeping everyone involved.
Adding a versatile distributor like Stone could alleviate a lot of the pressure that Kobe's been under since Shaquille O'Neal left the team.
Sure, his three-point shooting leaves something to be desired, but the Lakers could use their other second-round picks to add shooters to the roster. Kyle Singler, Jon Diebler or Scotty Hopson could all be available for Los Angeles late in the draft.
If the Lakers did take Stone with one of their second-round picks, he probably wouldn't start right away, despite almost anything being an upgrade over Derek Fisher.
There's really no doubt in my mind that Stone would make the offense more dynamic than Fisher does and there shouldn't be any doubt in anyone's mind that he'd be less of a liability on defense.
The Lakers need a point guard and Julyan Stone will almost certainly be available all four times the team comes up to make a selection. There's definitely a risk involved, but the reward may make it a worthy one.
You can follow Andy Bailey on Twitter @_Andy_Bailey
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