The Los Angeles Lakers caused quite the stir on draft night when they selected big man Moritz Wagner out of the University of Michigan with the No. 25 pick.
While most fans felt it was the right idea to address the hole at the center position with their first-round pick, there were some that felt there were better options on the board than Wagner, who was ranked No. 38 on Jonathan Givony of ESPN’s list of the top 100 NBA prospects. One of the players fans were hoping the Lakers picked was Mitchell Robinson, a former McDonald’s All-American with impressive physical tools at the five spot.
Leading up to draft night, it was rumored that the Lakers were one of the teams “seriously considering” taking the 20-year-old. A recent report by Marc Berman of the New York Post confirmed that rumor, but with important context:
“The Lakers had considered taking him at No. 25 and were ready to snare him at No. 39 if he had dropped, according to sources. Robinson also interviewed with just a small amount of teams, including the Knicks, and it’s unclear if he worked out for any teams. But not being at the Draft Combine became a red flag for teams picking in the first round.”
Does that mean the Lakers would have ended up taking Isaac Bonga with their later pick? Or would they have still selected Svi Mykhailiuk? We don’t know, but they have both because the New York Knicks ended up being the team to take a gamble on Robinson with the No. 32 pick.
So far, it looks like it has paid off for them. In five games at the NBA Las Vegas Summer League, Robinson averaged an impressive 4 blocks per game. According to Real GM, Robinson’s 4 blocks per game are the most in summer league history.
Does that mean the Lakers should be kicking themselves for passing on Robinson? Not exactly.
For all he’s shown on the defensive end, Robinson still has a ways to in just about every other area on the floor. At just 20 years old, Robinson still has plenty of time to address his weaknesses, but the Lakers still couldn’t talk themselves into taking him over a more polished player like Wagner in the first round.
This might be a conversation revisiting a few years down the line, but right now it’s much too early to say who got the better player.
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