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Three players the Lakers should target if they buy second-round pick

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If the Lakers work their way into the second round pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, here are a few names they should take a look at.

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NCAA Basketball: Big 12 Conference Tournament-Iowa State vs. Kansas State Amy Kontras-USA TODAY Sports

For the first time since 2001, the Los Angeles Lakers don’t have a pick in the NBA Draft — at least not yet.

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the Lakers are “aggressively pursuing” the purchase of a second-round pick ahead of Thursday’s draft and it’s not unrealistic to assume they’ll get one. The last time they purchased a second-round pick was in 2014, when they paid the Washington Wizards $1.8 million for the draft rights to Jordan Clarkson, something he also has not forgotten:

Since then, they’ve had some success finding talent in the second round, drafting players like Ivica Zubac, Thomas Bryant, Svi Mykhailiuk and Isaac Bonga. If the Lakers find themselves picking in the second round again this year, here are some names they should consider.

Talen Horton-Tucker

NCAA Basketball: Iowa State at West Virginia Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

Talen Horton-Tucker is one of the most polarizing players in the draft.

Despite being relatively short for the shooting guard position (6’4”) and having a stocky frame (235.4 lbs.), Tucker moves well with the ball in his hands and is one of the most skilled shot-creators in the draft. However, due to his athletic shortcomings, he struggles to stay in front of his man on the defensive end, which is a big reason as to why his draft stock is so low.

Still, if Tucker is on the board in the mid-second-round, the Lakers would be wise to gamble on his upside. Tucker just turned 18 in November, and has all the physical tools to excel at the next level. For example, despite being 6’4”, Horton has a 7’1” wingspan and massive 9.75” hands. To put that into perspective, Kawhi Leonard also has 9.75” hands.

He might not be able to come in and make an impact right away, but that’s to be expected of a player drafted late in the second round. A season in the G League with the South Bay Lakers should help Tucker figure out his slow shooting stroke and conditioning.

Jontay Porter

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-First Round-Missouri vs Florida State Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Around this time last year, Jontay Porter, the younger brother of Denver Nuggets rookie Michael Porter Jr., was projected to be a first-round pick — if not a lottery pick — because of his highly-coveted combination of shooting and passing skills at the center position.

This year, he’s projected by many to go in the late second-round due to concerns over his injury history. Over the last year, Porter has torn his right ACL twice, with the latest time being in March.

If Porter can stay healthy, though — and that’s a big if — he projects to be one of the best center prospects in this draft class. Not only can he step out and knock down 3-pointers, but he has such a good feel for the game, which allows him to make an impact on the floor even when his shots aren’t falling.

From a physical standpoint, Porter still has some room to grow, but he’s made strides in that area over the last year. Plus, the Lakers probably have a good idea of where he’s at both physically and mentally after meeting with him at the NBA Draft Combine last month.

If Porter is still on the board when the Lakers pick, don’t be surprised to see them take him.

Luka Samanic

2019 NBA Draft Combine - Day 1 Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

If floor-spacing center Moe Wagner is a casualty of the Lakers’ star-chasing ambitions, they could replace him with an arguably more promising prospect in 19-year-old Croatian big man Luka Samanic.

Despite having an underwhelming season with KK Petrol Olimpija in Slovenia, Samanic was far and away the best player at the first day of NBA Draft Combine scrimmages, scoring 13 points in just 20 minutes of play. While the 6-foot-9 big is known for his shooting, he can also take his defender off the dribble and drive it to the hoop.

Defensively, he has good mobility, but his footwork leaves a lot to be desired. He also gets pushed around pretty easily because of his thin frame, so he’ll need to add some serious weight before he can make an impact on an NBA floor.

Samanic’s name might not be as well-known as some of the other college prospects that are expected to be available in the second round, but he has serious talent and upside, and is among a few options the Lakers should consider.

Agree with this list? Have other ideas? Let us know in the comments below. And for more Lakers talk, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. You can follow Christian on Twitter at @RadRivas.