The Los Angeles Lakers have 20 days to figure out what to do with the No. 7 pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, but until then, the mock drafts will continue to stream in. Last time, Julius Randle sliding to the Lakers was a consistent theme, while Marcus Smart and Noah Vonleh were the other two names in the mix. Randle did not attend either of the group workouts the Lakers held on June 4, however.
Sports Illustrated's Chris Mannix released version 2.0 of his mock draft and projected Randle to Los Angeles -- the same pick he made in his previous draft board. His mock also has the Orlando Magic drafting Marcus Smart over Dante Exum, and the Utah Jazz rolling the dice on Exum with the No. 5 pick. Another surprising twist? The Boston Celtics drafting Aaron Gordon with the sixth-overall pick and Noah Vonleh dropping to the Sacramento Kings at eight.
ESPN's Jeff Goodman released his latest mock draft on May 29 and selected Vonleh for the Lakers. He had this to say about the big man coming out of Indiana:
The Lakers have numerous needs and will go with the best player on the board. Vonleh has an NBA-ready body and is more skilled than many realize. He could be a player, in time, who develops into a star and that is exactly what the Lakers need.
His reasoning aligns well with what Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said during the Lakers big workout:
Q: On the challenges heading into this Draft and trying to determine the right player with no coach in place yet:
Kupchak: It's not that much of a factor. You could argue because we only have four players on the roster, we're not really limited to looking at one position. We need to look everywhere. We'd be in a position to take the best player at almost any position. Even the position we do have covered, he's been around 18 years, so we have to look beyond that position, too. That is a good thing. Sometimes you get put in a position where you need a point guard and say: ‘Let's focus on a point guard.' And you may overlook a player who may be a (better) player down the road.
The trio of analysts over at CBS Sports each projected a different prospect to the Lakers. Matt Moore is sticking with Randle at seven, the same pick he made in his previous mock. Zach Harper sent Vonleh to the Lakers, and Gary Parrish projected Smart.
Finally, Basketball Insiders updated their mock draft board recently. Two of their experts projected Smart while Vonleh and Randle each notched a single tally. For those wanting to keep track, here's the total from the latest batch of mocks:
As expected, there's no clear-cut favorite for the Lakers right now, and the team has been tight-lipped in regards to who they have at the top of their draft board right now.