(Photo: Lakers Twitter account @Lakers)
The anticipation, trepidation, and anxiousness is over for the Los Angeles Lakers and their loyal fan base after the completion of the NBA Draft Lottery on Tuesday. The Lakers avoided disaster of falling out of the top 5 and losing their pick and instead moved up to land the number 2 overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft.
Understandably, the Lakers were thrilled.
— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) May 20, 2015
Laker Nation: I screamed so loud when the pick was announced! I haven't screamed that loud in a long time! I'm so excited!
— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) May 20, 2015
— TWC SportsNet (@TWCSportsNet) May 20, 2015
Now that the Lakers own the number 2 pick in the upcoming draft, what do they do with it? Most mock drafts have Duke’s big man Jahlil Okafor being taken after Kentuckey’s Karl-Anthony Towns, but all of the reputable sites that we’ve checked had one or the either in their top two.
It might not be as easy as just taking the guy that the Wolves don’t take with the 1st pick as there will be a number of high end prospects with superstar, franchise changing ceilings that will be available when the Lakers pick making their decision a tough one.
One of those prospects will be Emmanuel Mudiay who was the #2 ranked player coming out of high school in 2014 by Scout.com, the same class that included many of the same players in this draft such as Okafor, Russell and Towns. Mudiay bypassed playing college ball to earn a paycheck and play professionally in China.
Mudiay struggled with an injury but did play in 12 games for the Guangdong Southern Tigers where he averaged 18 points, 6.3 rebounds, 5.9 assists and shot 47.8 percent from the field.
Mudiay has been compared to John Wall with his combination of quickness, court vision and athleticism.
The other star prospect that will be available is D’Angelo Russell from Ohio State.
Russell is a 6’5 combo guard that has been compared to Brandon Roy. Russell averaged 19.3 points, 5.7 rebounds, 5.0 assists and shot 44.9 in his freshman season with the Buckeyes.
Picking correctly among the 3 out of the 4 players that are still on the board when the Lakers pick 2nd is crucial for the future of the Lakers franchise. It goes without saying that the Lakers cannot whiff on a pick this high but it is in the 2nd position where many teams have done just that in the history of the draft. In fact, the 2nd pick in the draft has some of the most horrific failures in NBA draft history which is a very disturbing fact if you are a Lakers fan.
The 2015 NBA Draft will take place on June 25th and the Lakers will look to avoid making the wrong kind of history by taking a player that will forever live in NBA Draft infamy such as the likes of Darko, Thabeet and Sam Bowie.