In what many experts are calling one of the weakest overall drafts in recent memory, the upcoming NBA draft Thursday promises to be a major challenge for the championship-challenged Los Angeles Lakers who have four picks, all in the second round.
The percentage of players from the second round who end up making the cut and turning into productive NBA players is not high. Very few of the “can’t-miss” prospects slide from the first into the second round and so the later picks become more of a gamble for general managers like the Lakers Mitch Kupchak.
As of Monday morning the Lakers held the No. 41, 46, 56 and 58 picks in the draft. There have been rumors that the Lakers may try and package a couple of their picks in a trade with another team in order to move up the ladder and pick a player with higher value.
But even that approach won’t necessarily translate into a sure thing. The chances are still high that the player will turn out to be a bust.
In recent years, the Lakers have done fairly well with second rounders, picks that turned into quality NBA players: Ronny Turiaf, Mark Gasol, Luke Walton, Derick Character and Devon Ebanks all made the team and contributed or, in the case of Gasol, were traded and excelled elsewhere.
Nick Van Excel in 1993 was perhaps the team’s best second-round selection. He became a starter that first year, averaged 14.9 and 7.3 assists per game in the five years he spent with the team and was selected to one all-star team.
What do these great NBA players have in common? Monta Ellis, Carlos Boozer, Manu Ginobili, Mark Price, Gilbert Arenas, Dennis Rodman, Trevor Ariza, Rashard Lewis , Michael Redd, Cedric Ceballos and Mark Price? They all were second-round picks, overlooked for various reasons. All of them went on to become elite players in the league.
Finding the next Manu Ginobli—considered by some to be the league’s best ever second-round pick—involves great scouting and a whole lot of luck.
All the combines and all the interviews don’t always translate into good or bad NBA players. It’s a crapshoot. Here, then, are five excellent college hoopsters the Lakers should avoid next Thursday. Nothing is a sure thing and I may end up eating my words—but that’s why they call it speculation.
There's a reason for calling this site The Bleacher Report. From where I sit, these are the guys I'd recommend passing on.