Saturday, September 20, 2014
Tags Posts tagged with "2014 NBA Draft"

2014 NBA Draft

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Photo Credit: Getty Images

In case you haven’t checked what is trending this morning on Twitter Joel Embiid stole headlines with his most recent, now deleted, tweet.

Embiid as of late, has been heavily discussed within the sports world. His navicular bone injury could cost him the #1 draft spot in the 2014 NBA draft, as well as any within the top five. That would be perfect for the LA Lakers as they would be more than fortunate to have Embiid available when drafting tonight at #7.

Per Eliot Shorr-Parks of NJ.com, it seemed that someone was having a little fun with Embiid’s twitter account last night.

If this happens to be the case, many Lakers fans can breath a sigh of relief in having a very talented player who will, probably, be with the franchise long term. If not, it is almost a certainty that whatever does happen will help to progress the franchise forward.

Joel Embiid's Tweets

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Julius Randle
Photo: Chris Reynolds

Former freshman sensation Julius Randle worked out for the Lakers on Tuesday in front of Jim Buss, Mitch Kupchak and the rest of their staff. According to numerous reports, Randle had a great workout for the team. He even received some love from Jim Buss.

The concern surrounding Randle has been the rumors that Randle will need surgery on his right foot to remove a screw that was placed in there when Randle was in high school. When asked about the injury, according to the LA Times, Randle stated, “I met with the best foot doctor in the country, and he said he wouldn’t do anything for my foot. There’s no scheduled surgery or anything. I feel healthy, athletic. I’m moving great—no problem recovering. I’m ready to go.”

With the 7th pick in the upcoming 2014 NBA Draft, the Lakers may be in position to draft Randle if the concern about his foot scares some teams away. Randle, once the 2nd best high school recruit, has been compared to double-double machine Zach Randolph because of their similar body type, physical style and their apparent lack of athleticism. The 6’9” 19 year old quieted some of the doubts of his athleticism on Tuesday when he posted a 38 inch vertical during his workout with the Lakers.

When asked about the possibility of playing with Kobe and the Lakers, Randle had an interesting perspective.

“I’m the biggest Lakers fan. Probably more of a Kobe fan. I heard Kobe was a little tough on rookies, but I don’t care. The city of Los Angeles expects nothing but championships.  What more can I ask for?  I’m a little prepared for it because, coming from Kentucky — lose a game and they go crazy.”

Randle is one of many intriguing prospects the Lakers will be scouting before the day of the draft on June 26th. Other big men include Aaron Gordon, Noah Vonleh and Joel Embiid. When asked how he compares to his competition in the draft Randle responded, “How do I rate myself against them? I feel like I’m the best one.”

The Lakers will definitely have options with their No. 7 overall pick. The team would still love to trade the pick for a player that can help them win in the immediate future with Kobe still under contract. If they don’t trade the pick, though, the Lakers should be ecstatic to land a player like Randle. Out of all the players in the draft, Randle, along with Jabari Parker, is seen as the most NBA-ready of the group. His skillset and toughness would be huge additions to a Laker team with only four players currently under contract.

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NBA Draft
Image: Mike Stobe | Getty Images

To trade or not to trade? That seems to be the question amongst the Lakers’ front office.

According to the Los Angeles Daily News’ Mark Medina, Lakers’ general manager Mitch Kupchak says he is willing to trade the current pick (projected position 1-9) for a good offer. He also wants to trade for another pick for middle/late 1st round.

I have long been an advocate for the Lakers trading their 2014 draft pick regardless of position if it nets them a superstar like Cleveland Cavaliers All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving or Minnesota Timberwolves stud Kevin Love. Both players are ready to contribute right away.

It is no secret the Lakers’ $48 million dollar man, Kobe Bryant, wants to win now. Despite how you may feel about his hefty extension, the Lakers owe it to themselves and Bryant to make sure that they are in the best possible situation when it comes to contending.

Not making the playoffs, or struggling to secure an eighth seed in the Western Conference will be deemed as a failure for the franchise where championship or bust is everything.

Your move, Mitch.

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Sam Forencich/NBAe/Getty Images

While all the attention was on the return of former Lakers center Dwight Howard to STAPLES Center during Wednesday night’s matchup with the Rockets, another non-Lakers player also made headlines.

One of the top NBA prospects this year, Australian point guard Dante Exum, spent some time in the stands at STAPLES Center during Wednesday’s game after arriving in Los Angeles just a few days ago.

Exum, a combo-guard with a similar physique to Kobe Bryant‘s high school days, has already made it clear that he wants to play for one team–the Los Angeles Lakers. His interest was confirmed recently in an interview with Bleacher Report, stating that Exum wants to play for the Lakers.

Rumors continued to swirl after Exum signed with Kobe Bryant’s agent, Rob Pelinka, in January.

While Exum wants to play for the Lakers, uncertainty remains as to whether the Lakers feel the same way about him, especially with a strong 2014 NBA Draft class expected.

With the Lakers destined for a lottery draft pick this season, the 2014 NBA Draft is also expected to include the likes of Andrew Wiggins, Jabari ParkerMarcus Smart and Joel Embiid.

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Michael Klein

While there is sure to be plenty of discussion as to who the Lakers will select in June’s NBA draft, there is one prospect who is already envisioning himself in the purple and gold next season.

Australian point guard phenom Dante Exum in a recent interview to Bleacher Report, expressed his interest in joining the Lakers next season:

“Definitely L.A. is one option,” Exum told Bleacher Report. “I’ve been to L.A. many times and I love the city, and it is a great city. If I get the opportunity to go to L.A. and play for the Lakers, I know I’ll have love for the city. And their fans are loyal and they have the rivalry with the Clippers. But just to be in an environment where you have a great player like Kobe, where you have a mentor in a way as a rookie, I think that would be the best option.”

It should be noted that the 18-year-old Exum recently choose Rob Pelinka as his agent. Pelinka represents Kobe Bryant and that was one of the driving reasons behind choosing him as an agent.

“I just want to know his work ethic, what he’s done to be where he is at the moment, because he’s definitely in the talk of one of the greatest of all-time,” Exum said of Bryant. “So I want to just pick his brain, what he’s done, how he’s adapted over the years and still been able to average over 20 points in the league.”

An interesting aspect to keep an eye on is how Exum and Pelinka handle the draft process. As Jabari Davis of Basketball Insiders notes, it could be a similar situation that Kobe Bryant went through during his draft process when his representatives told teams they would regret drafting him. Exum could be in position to gain leverage in who he goes to by threatening to sign with teams overseas and not play for the team he is drafted for a few years.

At 6’6″, Exum’s size and athleticism has scouts raving about his potential. At his young age, it could be 2-3 years until Exum makes an impact in the NBA but with a potential mentor in Kobe for the next two years, it could be the perfect situation for him.

Below is the preseason scouting video for Exum from Draft Express:

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