The Los Angeles Lakers do not need to make a bunch of moves up the draft board at the end of June when picks are officially made.
The Collective Bargaining Agreement for the NBA expires this summer, but over a week after the draft is scheduled to take place. Therefore, the Lakers have more than enough time to evaluate what direction they would like the organization to go and which rookies would be best equipped in the future to lead them down that path.
In most recent Lakers’ years, there has not been much rookie involvement.
Phil Jackson has stayed solid in his approach with his core men. However, since the dawn of a new era is peering through the clouds among us, there may be a different approach taken.
Of course all of these decisions are going to be based on what coaching style is employed in LA in comparison to Jackson’s. The new coach may look for players that could immediately fill some considerable gaps in the Lakers game and can establish themselves with solid minutes.
LA does not have any first round picks, as expected, in this year’s draft. But, their position in the draft is pretty solid for their needs. Going forward, the Lakers need to address a few aging issues within the roster—one being the perimeter shooting threat that they lack.
Kobe Bryant has been pushed towards the perimeter because his aging body is not taking the contact beneath the basket as he used to.
The only problem with this turn of events is the win-loss ratio that the Lakers experience with Bryant taking fewer shots than normally.
With the exception of Kobe, there is not another dependable perimeter scoring option. Ron Artest, Shannon Brown and Derek Fisher may have the occasional long range jumper, but all are below 40 percent from outside the three-point line.
One of the most reliable scorers in the NBA draft this year is Marshon Brooks from Providence. What makes him such an attractive pick is not that he can score, but primarily how he scores. Brooks is a catch-and-shoot type of scorer, struggling a bit with pull up jumpers throughout his season. Shot selection is something that can be tamed and sculpted, however.
His speed while changing direction is admirable and would allow him to get open looks from the corner and the top of the wing where he is most effective.
Jason Terry is helping Dallas prove how important and how lethal a player with that type of escape ability and stroke can be to a team’s success in the postseason. Brooks will not get All Star numbers his first season, but when necessary, he will come off of the bench to fulfill the role that Shannon Brown was unable to this season.
Another issue that the Lakers must address in the draft is a guard that can come after Derek Fisher is officially dethroned.
Chris Paul may be the ultimate goal for the Lakers to follow up behind Fisher, but there must be a backup plan. Fisher just is not the man on the court he used to be and LA must come to the realization before they are stuck with a mistake.
The guard that the Lakers bring in must not be an immediate replacement.
Kobe Bryant is still one of the biggest voices in the franchise and still feels solid with Derek Fisher being the primary ball handler.
Therefore, Cory Joseph seems like the best guard option at their position in the 2011 NBA draft. In his season with the Texas Longhorns, Joseph seemed to be one of the centerpieces to the blueprint of success that Coach Rick Barnes explored.
Texas was a major contender in the NCAA this year and that fact can be attributed to both Tristan Thompson and Cory Joseph equally. Joseph has the tendency to disappear in games occasionally but still possesses the intangibles to be a great point guard in the NBA.
Joseph is a great three-point shooter, but is not a shoot first guard like Derrick Rose and Russell Westbrook. He will be able to be groomed by the All Star veterans around him and will gradually make his playing time blossom.
DeAndre Liggins is the third player that should walk away from the draft wearing a Los Angeles Lakers jersey. He reminds me of how effective Ron Artest was in his most productive days in the league. Not afraid to get his hands dirty defensively, Liggins put the pressure on a team’s offense that threatens the productivity of the pick and roll and half court plays.
DeAndre will shoot the ball with finesse from time to time, but his main responsibility is not scoring. It is filling the holes of his team’s defense in order to make the offense move the ball enough to create off balance shots or shot clock violations.
Liggins disappeared in the game against UConn in the NCAA Tournament, but made two blocks and two steals that allowed the Wildcats to stay in the game until the very end.
He will add to the defensive mentality of the post by defending the perimeter and taking pressure off of big men Gasol, Odom and Bynum.
Ending their draft choices, the Lakers should just stack their roster. The main needs have already been addressed as adequately as possible with the previous three choices and there will more than likely be trades and moves made in the offseason when a new CBA is born.
There will still be players on the board such as Isaiah Thomas, who has JJ Barea bench effectiveness going for him. Thomas was explosive this year and proved himself worthy of any praise he received.
The choice is all about the best player available.
The Lakers will be fine after this year’s draft and trades take place. They always have been and I expect next season to be no different than any other purple and gold recovery.
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