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Draft Primer: Searching for Contributors

The Lakers enter the 2013 draft with very clear needs and some interesting prospects available in the late second round they might be able to take advantage of.


It's that time again. The time when we try to maintain hope in the Lakers managing the draft process well despite not reaping any concrete rewards from it for years. Of the Lakers' recent draftees, only Darius Morris holds any potential of sticking on the roster past next season and that's only if he takes the next step in his development. Year after year, the Lakers have sacrificed their first rounders for established players such as Steve Nash and Ramon Sessions or just engaged in plain old cost cutting that has come back to bite them in the rear in the long-term. One would say that there's no time like the present to correct this misuse of one of the fundamental resources for talent in the league, but the team only possesses their own second rounder and a late one at that at number 48 to restock the incredibly shallow farm of young talent they currently have.

The good thing is that the Lakers aren't looking for a central building block and just need a piece around the periphery to supplement what will still likely be a top heavy roster next year. You can also mostly boil down the Lakers' needs to three things: youth, shooting, and athleticism. Thankfully, the draft provides prospects that meet most of those criteria but not all at the same time, lest they be safely out of the Lakers' range. Of those three, shooting probably is the most important aspect, not only because it's easier to find contributors in that department that late in the draft but since designated shooters have the largest chance of making an impact early in their career.

The source of the shooting isn't necessarily important; moving up position groups, however, increases the value of the shooting and the Lakers could especially benefit from a stretch four. Dwight Howard experienced the greatest success in his career with a floor spacing big alongside him and Dwight in turn can cover for the defensive deficiencies of his frontcourt counterpart. Pau Gasol similarly can operate well in a four-out, one-in system that gives him dominion over the low block. College ball has reciprocated in that regard, giving the Lakers several options in the second round for big men who can spread the floor. This noted, the Lakers need shooting period, so whomever is the best prospect is at their spot, they should take them, position group be damned.

Those familiar with the draft process in any sport are familiar with the concept of best player available (BPA) and it applies for the Lakers here as it does to all teams. It doesn't mean that needs are irrelevant -- hence why "tiers" are common in which case you have greater freedom than you would relying on a more dogmatic ranking system -- but that most of the time, you take the better prospect and worry about the ramifications later. If the best player on the board is a point guard, for instance? You take him and worry about the fit with Steve Nash, Steve Blake, and Darius Morris later than possibly reaching for someone else at the spot.

There are obvious caveats to this approach, of course. BPA is fine as a guiding principle but it should also be tempered with a healthy amount of common sense. The Lakers shouldn't take someone who can't shoot because of how poorly it would play out for that rookie's development on a team that needs spacing for its offense to work properly. Otherwise, the Lakers have few restrictions on whom they can pick and plug into their rotation if they pan out well enough. Future upside against immediate contributors is another discussion; however, when it comes down to it, the Lakers would probably be happy with a draft pick who can stick in the league at this point.

In terms of strict positional needs, the Lakers have holes basically everywhere besides point guard, where there's a logjam at the position that's likely to stay put next season, and center, seeing that they have possibly up to four guys who can man the position. Otherwise, they could definitely benefit from someone who can jump in and become a part of the wing rotation, an area that is probably going to be depleted between Metta World Peace's likely amnesty, Kobe Bryant's injury, and Earl Clark's uncertain free agent status. Even if Kobe returns early in the year, moreover, the team could likely benefit from an additional two guard between Jodie Meeks' uneven play and Kobe's ability to slide down to the three. In comparison, the utility of a stretch four might appear diminished, although given the aforementioned fit with Dwight and Pau, it should be something the team takes a look into.

In terms of evaluation, the upside aspect is a big part and athletic numbers play a significant role in this. It is important to couch the combine testing with a healthy amount of skepticism. Let us refer to what yours truly said in my draft primer two years ago:

The athletic testing is simultaneously determinative and not so – on one hand, you can’t fake good scores, so guys who tested better than expected probably are more athletic than originally thought, but you can probably give players who had a reputation as an athletic player a break and say that they had a bad day. Take San Diego State’s Kawhi Leonard, who put up mediocre numbers in the athletic testing despite being regarded as a solid athlete in college, but as ESPN’s Chad Ford astutely notes, he didn’t warm up before the tests in a freezing gym. Moreover, there’s a big difference between athletic testing in the NBA and say in the NFL, as it’s much more difficult to apply "athleticism" in one’s game unless they have the skill set to take advantage of it. For instance, how fast one can do a three-fourth court sprint only determines really how fast you can run down the floor, not how fast you are while dribbling or under pressure. All that said, it does provide useful benchmarks against similar prospects in the past; it’s just part of the overall evaluation process. Finally, this list is obviously not intended to be exhaustive, but is just to illustrate some prospects the Lakers should be looking at. If you want larger breakdowns of these players, hop over to the always excellent Draft Express.

That still holds true, as anyone who has watched Leonard the past two years can attest to. It isn't to say that athletic testing isn't important, but that it's one more tool in the shed for draftniks to take into account. Same thing with college production, which you have to ground in metric tons of context. There are tons of guys who simply don't possess the athletic ability or sufficient skill to produce in the NBA as they did in college and how they produced the stats they did is important. Similarly, those who weren't that effective in college also can benefit, as many prospects thrive in the more open and flowing NBA game and not having to shoulder as large of an offensive burden as they did in college. The draft is an art as much as it's a science when it comes down to it.

As a final note, you will probably hear a fair amount of rumors between now and the draft of the Lakers trying to get into the lottery using Pau Gasol as bait. Needless to say, that's rather unlikely for the same reasons it was last year. Even if you think that Pau's value is a bit higher because he's more or less a massive expiring contract, one finds it difficult to entertain the notion of a team dealing away what could potentially be a key young player for him, even if one believes that there is a lack of blue chip talent at the top of the draft. The guys the Lakers would be interested in moving up for, moreover, are going in the top five, as Otto Porter and Victor Oladipo, both of whom would address the shooting and athleticism deficit on the wing in a huge way, won't be available.

In any case, let us proceed with the prospects that will likely be available with the pick the Lakers do have, starting with a few stretch fours and presented in no particular order:

Kenny Kadji

Age College (Year) PPG RPG APG FG% 3P% FT%
25 Miami (Senior) 12.9 6.8 0.8 47.1 35.1 66.1

Height w/o shoes Height w/shoes Weight Wingspan Vertical (no-step) Vertical (max) Lane agility 3/4 court sprint Bench press
6'8.75'' 6'10'' 242 7'3'' 34.0'' 38.0'' 11.47 3.44 9

The main problem in analyzing Kadji's impact is that he's very old for a draft prospect, being anywhere from three to seven years older than the guys he was competing against. It also makes his long-term upside especially limited since he'll be entering what should be his prime from the moment he sets foot on a NBA court. One can also have a certain degree of skepticism at his athletic numbers, as he has a more developed body than many of his peers, but it was impressive nevertheless. For a guy not particularly noted for his athleticism, his solid vertical and middling agility alleviates some of the concern of whether he can play the four in the pros. And that's where he'll make his mark, as Kadji's range extends out to to the three-point line and do all the usual things you associate with stretch fours. His percentages fell from his prolific junior season, but Kadji still was an efficient jump shooter as a senior as he took on a bigger role for a very good Miami team.

What will change is his touches on the post, a place Miami gave him a lot of possessions, as while he had some effectiveness in that department with his long arms and decent repertoire of moves, that area is simply too crowded on the Lakers' roster. Still, it certainly doesn't hurt for him to have that in his arsenal whenever mismatches are available and Kadji has sufficient size to play the five in some smallball lineups. Defensively, Kadji was a big part of one of the best defenses in the country at Miami, and while he might have some trouble checking the perimeter in the pros, he uses his length well and he demonstrated good strength as a post defender.

Kadji's weakness on the defensive boards is something he'll have to improve on in the pros, as he was merely mediocre in that department in college despite having a physical advantage on a lot of his opponents due to his age. Having Dwight or Jordan Hill as a frontcourt companion does make that concern a bit muted, but there's no reason he shouldn't be better considering his frame. Altogether, Kadji is a fairly finished prospect and one should temper their expectations accordingly. Still, for someone who can walk in and be a part of the frontcourt rotation next to either of the Lakers' primary frontcourt players, Kadji fits the bill and the stuff in his game beyond shooting might allow him to carve out a niche in the league.

Erik Murphy

Age College (Year) PPG RPG APG FG% 3P% FT%
22 Florida (Senior) 12.2 5.5 1.4 51.6 45.3 78.4

Height w/o shoes Height w/shoes Weight Wingspan Vertical (no-step) Vertical (max) Lane agility 3/4 court sprint Bench press
6'8.75'' 6'9.5'' 240 6'10.5'' 24.5'' 29.5'' 12.19 3.57 13

Murphy is the classic big man shooting specialist in almost every aspect and one is tempted to make comparisons to fellow Florida alum Matt Bonner. In points per possession, Murphy was the second most efficient jump shooting big man in college basketball behind only Doug McDermott, an impressive accomplishment considering how ridiculous McDermott's stats are. Besides this, there's not a whole lot to discuss about Murphy's game: he's going to space the floor as a spot-up shooter from behind the arc, be involved in the pick-and-pop, and act as a release valve for the post. There are few guys with a better resume for a specialist role in this regard and Murphy would go a long way towards fixing the spacing issues that bedeviled the Lakers' offense last season.

Just don't expect a lot else, as Murphy's rudimentary post game at Florida won't translate at all in the pros, especially considering that Murphy finished poorly in just about every athletic category. That makes it easy to explain his lackluster rebounding and brings up the pertinent question of how exactly he's going to survive in the pros defensively. Murphy won't be disadvantaged in strength matchups in the post, but his ability to check the pick-and-roll and be a factor on the perimeter is definitely in question. This noted, Murphy's shooting is good enough to more than justify a place somewhere in the pros and there are few bigs you could see as a better complement to Dwight on offense. You just have to hope that Dwight reciprocates in equal fashion on defense to cover up Murphy's faults.

Ryan Kelly

Age College (Year) PPG RPG APG FG% 3P% FT%
22 Duke (Senior) 12.9 5.3 1.7 45.3 42.2 81.2

Height w/o shoes Height w/shoes Weight Wingspan Vertical (no-step) Vertical (max) Lane agility 3/4 court sprint Bench press
6'9.75 6'11.75'' 228 6'11.5'' N/A' N/A' N/A N/A N/A

A similar calculus applies to Kelly, who might be even more athletically challenged than Murphy but brings more diversity in his offensive game. Kelly does all the usual stretch four things as well as having a face-up game, some ballhandling ability, and good awareness as a passer. One just has to refer to Kelly's return from injury against Miami, during which he utterly destroyed a frontline that included the aforementioned Kadji to the tune of 36 points on an incredible 93.4 TS%, including seven made threes and twelve trips to the line. He naturally isn't going to be that good in the pros and one wonders whether the free throw attempts and his ability to finish at the rim translates against better defenders, but in general, Kelly brings more to the table than just his shooting.

Kelly's sufficiently limited defensively that one wonders whether you shouldn't stick him at the five in the NBA from time to time considering how small the league has gone nowadays. Laker fans with memories of the Earl Clark experience there might cringe, but Kelly is a more polished offensive player than Clark was coming out of Louisville, the difference between prospect Kelly and Clark a few years into his career notwithstanding. Regardless, you would take Kelly over Murphy with the hope that the former develops into a more well-rounded offensive player, but Murphy has a much more pronounced strength in his shooting. In the late second round, you might want to err on the side of caution for the guy who has a clear NBA skill.

Grant Jerrett

Age College (Year) PPG RPG APG FG% 3P% FT%
19 Arizona (Freshman) 5.2 3.6 0.5 40.9 40.5 81.8

Height w/o shoes Height w/shoes Weight Wingspan Vertical (no-step) Vertical (max) Lane agility 3/4 court sprint Bench press
6'8.75'' 6'10.25'' 232 7'2'' 28.5'' 34.0'' 11.85 3.51 2

Jerrett is the rare exception for a team in the late second round in that he's exceptionally young for a prospect in that range and one of the few guys available that holds the promise of future upside. One of the top high school players of his class, Jerrett played poorly as a freshman and was never able to really ingratiate himself to the NCAA game. Combine that with the fact that his frame still needs to fill out and he needs to take some walking classes from whatever trainer Andrew Bynum found to improve his gait and you have a project that probably isn't going to be ready to contribute upon coming into the league. You could excuse his college production if his upside was more prominent, but Jerrett's athletic numbers don't really provide such a justification.

What Jerrett does have nailed down is the floor spacing aspect as a big man, nailing a solid percentage of his shots as a spot-up man from behind the arc. If he can have any impact as a rookie in the league, it will be in this aspect, although he'll need heavy seasoning in the D-League before he's ready for the real NBA game. The problem for Jerrett is how one-dimensional his game is, as good as that single skill is -- he was one of the best shooters at the combine and is about as natural of a shooter as you will find for the position -- and he's remarkably limited as a cutter, post man, or pretty much anything that doesn't involve an open jump shot.

This lack of polish extends to the defensive end, as while Jerrett was respectable in straight-up post defense, he has a long way to go before he's ready to check players on the perimeter as part of his responsibilities as a modern day NBA four man. His rebounding was also very poor and while a fully healthy Dwight Howard does offer a enormous presence there, one would also like to see more production from Jerrett in this regard. In all, Jerrett simply isn't going to produce all that much as a rookie, but proper development might yield promising results down the road. The Lakers have been awful at player development recently for basically everyone not named Andrew Bynum, but if they think they can bring Jerrett up to NBA speed, he might be a worthy project to invest into.

Brandon Paul

Age College (Year) PPG RPG APG FG% 3P% FT%
22 Illinois (Senior) 16.7 4.4 2.7 40.0 32.3 73.4

Height w/o shoes Height w/shoes Weight Wingspan Vertical (no-step) Vertical (max) Lane agility 3/4 court sprint Bench press
6'2.75'' 6'4'' 201 6'10.25'' 33.5'' 39.5'' 11.16 3.37 15

The difficulty in parsing Paul's game is discerning how much his statistics suffered under the massive offensive burden he had to shoulder for the Illini this past year. His 29.2 usage rate, only a stone's throw away from the same percentage of possessions Kobe Bryant had to handle for the Lakers last season, makes his so-so 53.7 TS% seem much better in context, although shot selection will be a concern for him at the next level. Needless to say, playing like Kobe and chucking up nearly seven threes a game, a number excessive even for Kobe, at only a 32.3% clip isn't going to fly in the big leagues. All this said, using Paul in isolation and off the dribble isn't entirely unjustified, as he has an explosive first step and sufficient quickness to succeed in that regard.

That might foretell his future in the NBA as a dynamic combo guard who can come off the bench and score in bunches, but Paul does have the potential to shed that label and develop into a more well-rounded player if he improves on his shot selection. All the tools are there for a potentially good NBA player, as Paul's athleticism numbers were solid and he possesses a long frame with that 6'10'' wingspan and strong base -- recall that those reps are more difficult the longer your arms are; for Paul to beat everyone else mentioned here says something of his physical gifts -- to succeed in the league playing above the rim. This also translates into the defensive end, as while Paul's effort waned and waxed in college likely as a result of his offensive load, his length and agility give the means to be an effective player on this end at the next level.

Of course, Paul's possible ascendance if he pans out is limited by the fact that the Lakers have an all-world player at the two guard position that they expect to return next year in some capacity, but the Lakers desperately need a player like Paul to inject some energy into what was a moribund perimeter unit outside of Kobe. Not all guys manage to successfully shed the gunner label and adopt a more measured game in the pros, so success certainly isn't assured for Paul in this aspect or he would be hearing his name being called somewhere in the lottery. There are simply few players available in the area the Lakers are picking in that offer that shot in the arm for the team's perimeter game as Paul does.

James Ennis

Age College (Year) PPG RPG APG FG% 3P% FT%
22 Long Beach State (Senior) 16.0 6.5 2.1 48.3 35.8 85.3

Height w/o shoes Height w/shoes Weight Wingspan Vertical (no-step) Vertical (max) Lane agility 3/4 court sprint Bench press
6'5.75'' 6'7'' 206 6'11.5'' N/A N/A' N/A N/A N/A

Ennis is another prospect that has all the physical advantages one could want from the wing position, but unlike Paul, he has to acquire the requisite skill set to utilize that athleticism instead of just having to focus it into a more manageable approach. A high leaper who can throw down some nasty dunks, Ennis lacks the ballhandling ability to be a consistent factor outside of transition in this regard and he will have to improve on this in the pros. Thankfully, he does have decent spot-up shooting ability and his overall efficiency numbers as a senior at Long Beach State were very impressive. A solid 83.4% mark at the line also says good things about his shooting ability in general and he should be able to be effective as a role player initially at the next level if both his finishing and shooting translate.

One would think that such a long athlete with considerable explosion would be a terror on the defensive end, however, and Ennis still hasn't put things together in that regard. His awareness and effort will have to improve, especially the latter considering that his defense will potentially be a major calling card of his in the pros should he pan out. It speaks to the notion that Ennis is still more athlete than basketball player, as while his shooting indicates that he does have the potential to expand his skill set, he has a lot of learning to do before settling into a role at the next level. As with Paul though, the Lakers' deficit in wing athleticism is so pronounced that Ennis could noticeably help them, even if his game is nowhere near as polished as Paul's is.

Deshaun Thomas

Age College (Year) PPG RPG APG FG% 3P% FT%
21 Ohio State (Junior) 19.8 5.9 1.3 44.5 34.4 83.4

Height w/o shoes Height w/shoes Weight Wingspan Vertical (no-step) Vertical (max) Lane agility 3/4 court sprint Bench press
6'5'' 6'7'' 220 6'10'' 28.5'' 32.0'' 12.94 3.53 5

Watchers of college ball should be very familiar with Thomas, who has been a big part of Ohio State's recent success. Only Paul and Penn State's D.J. Newbill had a higher usage rate in Big Ten ball than Thomas and he still maintained a solid efficiency with a 55.1 TS%. This is largely due to his ability to score the ball in a myriad of ways, from catch-and-shoot opportunities to putting the ball on the floor and scoring in the post. Whatever role Ohio State needed him to fill on offense, he did so and for the most part, with success. The issue in seeing how this works on the next level is that Thomas' athleticism is lackluster and he didn't exactly play above the rim, an issue in a league that has gotten increasingly athletic on the interior.

This means that to see the best returns from Thomas on offense in the pros, he will have to play as a smaller four, but his poor rebounding numbers and size make that a difficult proposition. Similarly, Thomas posted the worst agility numbers at the combine and he will be severely disadvantaged as a wing. To top it off, Thomas has never been particularly attentive or consistent on the defensive end and that just compounds his physical limitations at either forward spot. This makes it very difficult to foresee Thomas' future in the pros and his fit on an already athletically challenged Laker team is questionable seeing that he would probably have to carve out a place on the wing. He may be a case of an excellent college player who simply didn't have the tools to see the same success in the NBA.

James Southerland

Age College (Year) PPG RPG APG FG% 3P% FT%
23 Syracuse (Senior) 13.3 5.2 1.1 45.0 39.8 78.9

Height w/o shoes Height w/shoes Weight Wingspan Vertical (no-step) Vertical (max) Lane agility 3/4 court sprint Bench press
6'7'' 6'8'' 221 7'1'' 29.0'' 32.0'' 10.90 3.38 5

Southerland projects as the classic three-and-D prospect who can check wing players well and nail a three spotting up from behind the arc, something that basically described what he did at Syracuse. That's pretty much the ceiling for Southerland's game, as while he's mobile and posted a decent lane agility score for a wing, he's limited in terms of explosion and doesn't possess the skill set to be effective in other areas. He did run off screens for midrange shots and cut to the basket once in a while for Syracuse, but for the most part, his college play has pretty firmly stated what kind of player he could be in the pros. The only difficulty is parsing out how Southerland's individuald defense is considering Syracuse's zone, but between his length and decent lateral quickness, he has the tools to be effective at the next level.

Along with a dedicated shooting specialist like Murphy, Southerland would probably represent a desire for a safe pick at 48, which isn't a bad approach given that the Lakers could really benefit from plugging a serviceable player into their wing rotation. One can make arguments for either upside or safety and both paths are littered with suitable numbers of busts to make such a choice entirely context dependent. Either way, Southerland should be a choice that Lakers fans could be fairly happy with.

B.J. Young

Age College (Year) PPG RPG APG FG% 3P% FT%
19 Arkansas (Sophomore) 15.2 3.5 3.4 44.9 22.7 66.9

Height w/o shoes Height w/shoes Weight Wingspan Vertical (no-step) Vertical (max) Lane agility 3/4 court sprint Bench press
6'2.25'' 6'3.5'' 179 6'8.25'' N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A

The exact opposite applies for Young, who was once a lottery prospect after a torrid freshman season and lost essentially all of that good will by falling to earth in his sophomore year. The biggest culprit was that he simply forgot how to shoot; his .504/.413/.743 averages as a freshman stand in stark contrast to his recent play and his usage rate was roughly the same both years. Perhaps it was a result of his attempt to be more of a distributor as a sophomore, as Young can be safely labeled a combo guard, not having the passing ability to play the point and is a bit on the short side for the two even his wingspan does compensate for that a bit. At least initially, he probably will be coming off the bench as a change-of-pace player.

In that department, however, Young fits the bill in almost every respect. He has great explosiveness and speed and was one of the best transition players in college basketball last year. On the Lakers, he might have to be a one man break, but he can definitely push the pace and thrive in an uptempo system. The loss of his shooting ability hurt him in the halfcourt and his future will largely be tied to how well he recovers it. Still, he is a creative scorer in isolation or off the pick-and-roll and is very good finishing against contact. As mentioned, his distributing skills perked up as a sophomore, so he could perhaps handle the point in a limited capacity, but most of the time, he's going to be looking for his own shot.

As with most players who handled that kind of offensive burden, Young's defensive effort was inconsistent, but as with Paul, he has the tools to be a solid contributor if his awareness and energy improve. When considering the ceiling of any of the players here, Young's might be the most intriguing since he probably would have gone in the late lottery if he declared last season. Even now, he's only 19 and should he recover his jump shot, he could be a very effective player in the pros. The boom-or-bust factor is a significant factor here, but the Lakers probably should jump all over a player with Young's potential late in the second round.

Solomon Hill

Age College (Year) PPG RPG APG FG% 3P% FT%
22 Arizona (Senior) 13.4 5.3 2.7 45.8 39.0 76.6

Height w/o shoes Height w/shoes Weight Wingspan Vertical (no-step) Vertical (max) Lane agility 3/4 court sprint Bench press
6'5.5'' 6'7'' 226 6'9'' 29.5'' 37.5'' 10.77 3.19 14

Hill fits into a similar role as Southerland does at the next level, although he has more promise as an offensive player. Although his ballhandling is so-so, Hill had some success as a slasher and getting to the line at Arizona and he pairs this with solid accuracy as a spot-up shooter from behind the line. His solid athletic numbers at the combine help him a lot in this regard, as he didn't really profile as a leaper in college or that he possessed good lateral quickness. This doesn't mean that he's necessarily going to take on a big offensive role at the next level or become a major contributor, but that he has the tools to be effective in areas outside of spot-up shooting, an activity that just about every rookie will see a lot of time doing should they manage to crack the rotation.

Those numbers might be deceiving as well, seeing that Hill had a hard time trying to contain dribble penetration at Arizona. He performed well within Arizona's team defensive concept, however, and his strong frame and decent size for the wing should help in this regard, although he'll have to make up ground in that area as a rookie. Nevertheless, Hill projects as a fairly solid wing reserve at the next level and while not spectacular, he could possibly be more than just a specialist and bring immediate production..

Nemanja Nedovic

Age Team (Homeland) PPG RPG APG FG% 3P% FT%
21 Lietuvos Rytas (Serbia) 9.8 2.5 2.1 36.7 38.1 70.0

Height w/o shoes Height w/shoes Weight Wingspan Vertical (no-step) Vertical (max) Lane agility 3/4 court sprint Bench press
6'2.80'' 6'4'' 195 6'5'' 32.5'' 41.0'' N/A 3.26 N/A

One of the few international prospects to merit a mention here, Nedovic is a really athletic combo guard, as his 41 inch vertical can attest to. As with most European players, his statistics are rather deceiving as it depends on heavy amounts of context, seeing as the level of competition can widely vary depending on the club. In Nedovic's case, his team Lietuvos Rytas, the same place Jonas Valanciunas called home before coming to the NBA, was part of the Euroleague, the highest level of competition in Europe. As such, Nedovic's performance as a 21 year old is rather impressive and it speaks well of his potential. The primary reason he isn't inching up draft boards is that he still has a lot of developing to do and he doesn't have a clear position. He has great size for the point guard position but doesn't have ideal distributing instincts and is undersized for the two, especially since he doesn't have an outstanding wingspan to compensate for his short stature.

Pretty much every part of Nedovic's game is a work in progress, moreover, as his ballhandling, finishing ability, and shooting all need work, although he has improved on the latter item quite a bit. He would be best as a secondary creator on the wing playing alongside a better distributor, as he does have some skill in the drive-and-kick game as well as going off the pick-and-roll due to his explosive first step. His defense, unfortunately, is also far behind his physical gifts, as he has to acquire better fundamentals and learn how defend on the highest level. Ultimately, Nedovic strikes one as a possible draft-and-stash pick that the Lakers can keep in Europe as he develops. Given their payroll situation and depending who else is on the board, this may be a good move that could pay dividends down the road.

Michael Snaer

Age College (Year) PPG RPG APG FG% 3P% FT%
22 Florida State (Senior) 14.8 4.5 2.5 42.5 38.4 81.7

Height w/o shoes Height w/shoes Weight Wingspan Vertical (no-step) Vertical (max) Lane agility 3/4 court sprint Bench press
6'3.5'' 6'4.5'' 201 6'8'' 32.0'' 37.0'' 10.92 3.20 10

Last in our list, Snaer might be the most polished defensive prospect of all the above players, combining solid quickness, instincts, good wingspan for the two guard position, and experience in a heavy defense-first environment at Florida State. His offensive game hasn't quite picked up to that defensive reputation, as he's a so-so ballhandler who struggles inside the arc finishing at the basket and converting against active defense off the dribble. A mediocre college PER of 18.37 underlies what has been an underwhelming offensive portfolio for him, even if one considers how much of Florida State's offense he had to run on his lonesome.

He is, however, a good spot-up shooter from behind the arc and this has been a consistent strength of his throughout his career. Whether he can develop elsewhere is an open question, especially at the two guard spot, but he comes into the league with two NBA ready skills that can translate at the next level. His limitations offensively might be irksome considering that the Lakers need creators in that department, but getting a three-and-D guy who can be plugged into the wing rotation is rarely a bad thing either.

And there we have it. There are other prospects available at this range that the Lakers could have their eye on, of course, and the board could certainly change between now and draft day for various reasons. The goal here was to illustrate the kind of prospects the Lakers could target and put some names out there for discussion. While the team has historically been rather cost adverse in using the draft, this could change for that very reason next season since the team might prefer paying a second rounder a tiny salary in lieu of signing someone to fill a slot in the wing rotation. The goal in general is to increase the team's athleticism, overall dynamism, and ability to space the floor, but when it really comes down to it, the Lakers will probably be happy with a player that manages to stick on the team.

If we were to hazard a guess at this juncture, either Brandon Paul, B.J. Young, or Erik Murphy would be the likely choices, whether for perimeter athleticism or shooting from the four spot respectively. Still, pretty much any of the above players could fill a role on the team should they pan out. The challenge for the Lakers will be working against their recent draft history and finally coming out of the fray with the diamond in the rough that they desperately need in a summer with very limited resources available towards improving the team.

Follow this author on Twitter @brosales12.

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