Ever since the draft lottery the Lakers have been projected to take Duke big man Jahlil Okafor with the number 2 pick in the draft. However, according to multiple sources including ESPN's Chad Ford, that line of thinking has changed and Mitch Kupchak is now expected to select Ohio State guard D'Angelo Russell.
Russell, a left-handed guard with sweet shooting and passing skills, has been projected by some to have the highest upside of any player in the draft. Russell's skills and ability to float between point guard and shooting guard figure to mesh well with Lakers combo guard Jordan Clarkson.
The free agent market is a factor as well, with a number of talented big men available this summer but few guards. Kevin Love has decided to opt-out with the Cleveland Cavaliers and should give the Lakers an opportunity to pitch himafter years of being connected to the team. Portland Trailblazers big man has also reportedly informed the team that he will not be returning next year and has the Lakers near the top of his list of preferred teams to sign with, giving the Lakers another option to pursue.
While the news that Russell will be the pick could still be a smokescreen in order to get Philadelphia to part with an asset in order to move up a slot, it appears that the Russell-to-LA train is picking up steam. Keep checking back here at SS&R for the official announcement.