They say that one of the best qualities any leader can possess is the ability to know what they don’t know. That is especially accurate for NBA executives, even imaginary ones.
That truism is why as the general manager for the Lakers in the 2020 version of our annual SB Nation Blogger Mock Draft, I decided to acknowledge that I am not a college basketball expert, and defer to Ben Rosales (@brosales12) — one of the foremost draft experts on Lakers Twitter, one of the smartest people to write for this fine blog and someone I always go to for draft analysis — for who my fake Lakers should pick.
So after that conversation, with the No. 28 pick in this imaginary draft, I’m trusting my scouting department (like the Lakers often do) and going with four-year College of Charleston guard Grant Riller. If this ends up being the pick, though, ignore that I just gave Ben all the credit. It was all me, especially if Riller ends up being good.
Here’s what Ben had to say about Riller’s fit:
Riller is a three-level scorer for a team that could benefit significantly from an on ball creator, as outside of LeBron James and Anthony Davis to an extent, no other player on the team was a dependable source of perimeter creation in the halfcourt (Playoff Rondo notwithstanding).
Riller’s push skills are whether his passing can catch up to his shotmaking, and whether his defense looks better when not asked to take on such a large offensive load — Riller showed flashes of the latter, albeit inconsistently this past season. I would still handicap the pick as likely to be traded on draft night, but Riller would be a solid addition who could likely have a fair shot of contributing in the short term at a spot of need for the defending champions.
Here was his breakdown:
Riller doesn’t have the hype of a one-and-done freshman as a player who will turn 24 years old as a rookie, but the tape shows that the 6’3 guard is one of the most explosive one-on-one scorers in this year’s class. Riller has an elite scoring package that includes deadly step-back jumpers, outstanding finishing ability, and the ball handling required to create separation off the dribble. He will have to be protected defensively, but his offensive upside is impressive enough to warrant a first round pick despite his age.
Given that the Lakers have been almost exclusively linked to guards so far, it would not be a surprise to see Riller end up actually being the pick here, especially given how much this scouting department has shown an inclination to draft “older” college players later in the draft (i.e. Jordan Clarkson, Larry Nance, Jr., Moe Wagner, Josh Hart, Kyle Kuzma, etc).
If you want to learn more about Riller, Draft Express watched one of his workouts and interviewed him, and here are his highlights from his most recent college season:
We’ll find out who the Lakers are actually picking when the draft takes place on Nov. 18, when it will be televised on ESPN. Until then, you can check out SB Nation’s latest mock draft here, and see a round-up of all of SB Nation’s draft coverage at this slick new interactive page.