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2023 NBA Mock Draft Roundup: Field settles after withdrawal deadline

With the available players now fully set, there is more clarity for the Lakers as to who they could target in the upcoming 2023 NBA Draft.

Ohio State v Iowa Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

With the withdrawal deadline of May 31 having come and gone, the field of players is set for the 2023 NBA Draft. The Lakers look set to hang onto their No. 17 draft pick at the very least and have a clearer idea of who they can target with their picks.

In reality, there isn’t much change with the No. 17 pick as few, if any, players in that range withdrew. Things changed more with the No. 47 pick but that is already a very unpredictable pick to project as is.

A host of new mock drafts were released with the deadline coming and going, giving us another chance to look at potential picks for the Lakers. And has been the case, there is no consensus.

Jonathan Givony, ESPN/DraftExpress

In the majority of the mock drafts, the Lakers have taken a wing of some sort. Jonathan Givony, though, offered an interesting alternative to monitor in Cason Wallace of Kentucky. Wallace is a divisive prospect with a wide range possible on draft night.

Here’s Givony on the Lakers potentially drafting Wallace:

Wallace measured better than expected at the draft combine but appears to have a bit of a wider range on draft night than other lottery candidates, as some teams don’t view him as a surefire point guard or primary creator and others question his scoring credentials. Still, there aren’t many better defenders in the class than Wallace. His strong dimensions (comparable to multipositional guards like De’Anthony Melton, Bruce Brown and Tyrese Maxey) give him significant versatility to tap into when paired with his excellent instincts and intensity level, especially when surrounded with talent on a playoff team.

In the second round, Givony projects the Lakers to take Seth Lundy, a wing from Penn State.

Jonathan Wasserman, Bleacher Report

Perhaps influenced by D’Angelo Russell’s playoff struggles and unclear future, another projection of the Lakers taking a ballhandler. Again, it’s one with a big range of opinions in Kobe Bufkin of Michigan.

Here’s Jonathan Wasserman on Bufkin and the Lakers:

There is a divide among scouts on Bufkin, who has believers in his versatility and trajectory and skeptics over the eventual effectiveness of his creation, shooting and physical tools. With D’Angelo Russell’s future up in the air for the Lakers, Bufkin could provide some insurance and depth with his backcourt versatility, efficient finishing, three-level shot-making and defensive instincts.

In the second round, Wasserman has the Lakers taking Terquavion Smith, another guard, from NC State:

Scouts have concerns over Smith’s inefficiency and defense, but his shot-making and pick-and-roll offense should keep interest alive in the second round.

Matt Babcock, Sports Illustrated/FanNation

The Michigan Wolverines have a couple of players who could be future Lakers. Along with Bufkin, fellow guard/wing Jett Howard — someone mocked to the Lakers much more in the build-up to the draft — is a player that is going to be available in the same range.

As Matt Babcock notes in his mock draft, the questions around Howard are based on what he brings to the table outside of volume scoring and if that’s enough to overlook some deficiencies.

In the second round, Babcock projects the Lakers to take Emoni Bates, a high-ceiling, low-floor player who was once a top-ranked high school prospect that never found his way in college basketball.

Bryan Kalbrosky, For The Win/USA Today

One of the only places to maintain some consistency since the last mock draft is Bryan Kalbrosky with For The Win projecting the Lakers to take Nick Smith Jr. of Arkansas. A high-ceiling prospect, Smith is also a Klutch client, which...matters.

Here’s Kalbrosky on the pick:

Although he struggled to stay healthy and wasn’t particularly efficient during his one-and-done season at Arkansas, the upside for Nick Smith Jr. is still very high.

With a clean slate free from injuries, it’s worth betting on his development that Smith could make a return to the player he was as a McDonald’s All-American and the No. 1 overall recruit coming out of high school.

Drafting Smith, who is represented by Klutch Sports, would be a worthwhile home-run swing for the Lakers.

In the second round, Kalbrosky projects the Lakers to take Julian Strawther, a wing from Gonzaga.

David Cobb, CBS Sports

The final mock draft of our roundup offers yet another first round pick, further showing how much variance there is in this draft. Kris Murray, brother of Kings rookie Keegan, has a similar play style and could bring shooting to the Lakers.

Here’s David Cobb on Murray and the Lakers:

Murray can help right away after averaging 20.2 points and 7.9 rebounds for Iowa. He’ll be 23 on opening night of the 2023-24 season and is a plug-and-play NBA wing. Not sold? Look at Sacramento, where Kris’ twin brother, Keegan, started 78 games this past season on a playoff squad.

You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.

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