This was not the earth-shattering result many expected coming out of the draft, mainly since Pau Gasol is still on the team and there is no shiny new replacement at point guard or small forward, but considering their position, the Lakers did decent work to end up with two prospects who have a chance to crack the roster in Marquette's Darius Johnson-Odom and Gonzaga's Robert Sacre. From the reports given, the Lakers did indeed follow up in what we noted yesterday was a genuine interest in Kentucky's Michael-Kidd Gilchrist, but understandably, failed to find a way to coax the number two pick away from Charlotte. Following this, they tried to get into the late 20s for a chance at Ohio State's Jared Sullinger or Baylor's Perry Jones III, either of whom would have constituted solid value that late in the first round, but similarly, failed to find a partner likely due to the unwillingness to deal Pau Gasol for a lesser package and the lack of any other assets to bargain for a late first.
As such, Laker fans were left to wait until the end of the second round, when the Lakers made their only move of the draft by ponying up $500,000 for the second round pick they had shipped to Dallas in the Lamar Odom trade, selecting Johnson-Odom at the spot. They closed the draft by making Robert Sacre the most recent iteration of Mr. Irrelevant. After the jump, we will review both Johnson-Odom's and Sacre's profiles, their prospects for making the team, and the manner in which they could contribute next season.
Marquette (Jr.): 22 y/o, 32.9 mpg, 18.3 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 2.7 apg, 44.7 FG%, 38.5 3P%, 76.4 FT%
6'2'' in shoes, 214 lbs, 6'6.5''' wingspan, 41.5 vertical, 17 bench reps, 10.76 lane agility, 3.21 sprint
So besides the fact that DJO was apparently destined by the fates to become a Laker considering that his middle name is "Earvin" -- seriously, a guy who references three Lakers (Darius Morris, Magic Johnson, Lamar Odom) at the same time in his name is nuts; to top it all off, he is a southpaw like Odom is -- he does carry the type of profile the Lakers need in the backcourt coming off the bench between his athleticism and shooting ability. For all intents and purposes, DJO was the winner of the NBA combine, finishing no worse than ninth in any of the athletic drills and blowing away the entire field with a 41.5'' vertical, which is a top twenty all-time mark in Draft Express' database. These physical superlatives, namely his quickness and strength along with a decent wingspan for a two guard, enable him to compensate for the fact that he is three or so inches shorter than his counterparts and help to instill confidence that the solid defensive effort and smarts he displayed at the college level will translate into the NBA.
DJO's primary strength on offense is his proficiency in catch-and-shoot situations, a godsend for this Laker offense, and while he improved during his junior year at converting more pull-up jumpers and creating off the dribble, his role on the team will invariably be as a designated shooter. Oddly for someone with such hops, DJO was somewhat poor at finishing near the rim despite being able to use both hands, likely a result of his small size, but as previously noted, he will rarely be asked to create in such situations. Finally, while DJO's handle and ballhandling ability are respectable and he is an unselfish passer, it is highly unlikely that he mans the point and initiates the offense at any juncture, firmly indicating that his position at the moment will be as an off guard.
Altogether, DJO is a fairly solid two guard and if he happened to be two inches taller, we definitely would not be talking about him at the end of the second round. His measurables are otherwise excellent and he brings a good combination of shooting and defensive intensity to a backcourt that had otherwise been greatly lacking it. It is too early to prognosticate on what spot he could claim on the roster before free agent signings and such occur, but he certainly looks like he will have an opportunity to try for the backup two spot behind a certain Kobe Bryant.
Gonzaga (Sr.): 23 y/o, 26.3 mpg, 11.6 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 0.7 apg, 51.1 FG%, 76.1 FT%
6'11.75'' in shoes, 263 lbs, 7'0.5'' wingspan, 30.0 vertical, 17 bench reps, 11.91 agility, 3.42 sprint
At first glance, Sacre appears to be a stereotypical seven foot stiff, but he brings an interesting combination of skills that might enable him to keep a spot in the league. Naturally, his body is NBA ready, as barring a somewhat short wingspan, he has prototypical size for a center and likely will be able to hold his own in straight-up post defense on the next level. He also has decent lateral quickness, however, which makes him effective against the pick-and-roll and players coming off screens, which constitutes a fair portion of the modern game. All in all, his smarts and good positional defense made him a solid defender in college and this should definitely endear him to Mike Brown. Sacre's primary deficiency on this end is his mediocre defensive rebounding, something likely attributed to his lack of explosiveness, but his instincts on the boards need some improvement and he will need to contribute meaningfully in this regard if he wants to stick in the league.
On offense, the aforementioned lack of hops means that his game is largely floor bound and he won't be dunking over people off the pick-and-roll anytime soon. He does have a burgeoning post game when set on the block and best of all, a jumper out to 12-15 feet, which makes him a potential pick-and-pop partner for the Lakers' ballhandlers. He brings to mind someone like Marcin Gortat in this sense, and while he certainly isn't at Gortat's level, especially since his offensive game is somewhat raw as of now, he should be able to produce in a similar fashion. To put it simply, guys with NBA size and some skills tend to stick in the league as backups for a long time and Sacre has the potential to get that far, notably since Andrew Bynum hasn't had a real backup for quite some time.
All in all, the Lakers easily could have followed the trend of most of the second round in picking foreign prospects that weren't going to be coming to the league for a while, but they brought in two guys who will likely be able to compete for roster spots. One does wonder if other selections at sixty might have reaped more value (Scott Machado, Terrell Stoglin, Drew Gordon), but Sacre's selection does fill a need and the Lakers were likely happy with their current situation at those spots (Andrew Goudelock, Darius Morris, very likely a re-signed Jordan Hill). This draft certainly isn't going to change the Lakers' roster dramatically or alter their championship fortunes as flashier and more high profile moves would have done, but as previously noted, both DJO and Sacre will have the opportunity to show that they can contribute and it will be interesting to see them perform in summer league.
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