The 2020 NBA Draft is just over a month away, and for the fourth time in four years, the Los Angeles Lakers will have a first-round pick in the 20s. For most teams, that’s nothing to get excited about, but for the Lakers, a pick in the late 20s might as well be a top-10 pick. Look no further than this year’s championship-winning roster.
Two of the eight players that averaged at least 20 minutes for the Lakers in the NBA Finals were products of the team’s scouting department: Kyle Kuzma, who they selected with the No. 27 pick in 2017, and Alex Caruso, an undrafted point guard that they developed through their G League affiliate, the South Bay Lakers.
This year, the Lakers will be picking 28th overall, and there are a handful of names that deserve consideration at that spot. To help us narrow those names down, we looked at what a few experts from around the media are expecting the Lakers to do in their mock drafts:
SB Nation: Grant Riller, G, Charleston
The Athletic: Malachi Flynn, G, San Diego State
Sports Illustrated: Josh Green, G, Arizona
Yahoo Sports: Tre Jones, G, Duke
The biggest name on this list is Tre Jones, a 20-year-old point guard out of Duke. Tre, the younger brother of Memphis Grizzlies point guard Tyus Jones, isn’t a particularly explosive athlete, nor is he an otherworldly playmaker, but he’s a high IQ basketball player with good size (6’3) for the point guard position. He would be a safe pick for the Lakers at No. 28.
If the Lakers wanted to make an upside play, they could go with Josh Green, an Australian-born guard out of the University of Arizona. Green, 19, has all of the physical tools to be an elite defender at the next level, and unlike a lot of players that are usually available this stage of the draft, he has the skills to match. The biggest question for Green is whether or not he can make an impact on offense.
Green shot a respectable 36.1% from 3-point range in 30 games for the Wildcats, but his range and mechanics are questionable at best. From inside 3-point range, Green is long and athletic enough to attack the rim, but only if there’s an open lane. If Green wants to excel at the next level, he’s going to have to find ways to create his own shot.
Whether it’s from the Lakers or another team, these players will be hoping to hear their names called when the draft takes place on Nov. 18. We’ll see then if L.A. decides to add any of them — or someone else — to infuse this roster with a bit more young talent.