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At last, Draft day is upon us! And today, Mitch Kupchak makes the most important draft choice in his Laker GM tenure. Speculation is rampant as to who the Lakers will take. No one seems to know the answer. For a while, it seemed like North Carolina point guard Raymond Felton was destined to be a Laker at No. 10. But that no longer seems to be the case for two reasons. First off, Phil Jackson likes bigger point guards, and Felton is probably too small for him. Secondly, Felton has climbed the draft board in recent weeks, and could be a top-five pick anyways.
Reports are that the Lakers want to go with a big man, which has us slightly concerned. Yes, the Lakers need a big man badly, but the history of big men going outside the top-5 is pathetic. Still, if Kupchak does his homework, there's no telling what the future holds.
Some pundits say the Lakers will take 6-10 power forward Fran Vazquez of Spain. As one of the more experience European players, this could be a good pick, especially since Vazquez is supposed to be a more physical player. But we've never seen him play, and unless a team has done extensive scouting, they're really rolling the dice with any European player.
Rumor has it that the Lakers liked 6-11 high school center Andrew Bynum from New Jersey. While LAist is clueless if the kid can actually play, we wouldn't be opposed to the Lakers taking a high school player. At No. 10, it's important to get the best player available, even if it is a high school player. History has proven that these high school players can develop in the NBA if given some time. The Lakers probably aren't going anywhere in a hurry, so maybe they can take a chance on Bynum and exercise some short-term patience, hoping for the long-term payoff.
LAist is wondering why Jarret Jack of Georgia Tech has fallen so far down on most draft boards. At 6-4, he could be the ideal big point guard that Jackson seeks. And he proved he could play at Georgia Tech, leading them to the National Title game two years ago.
UConn's Charlie Villaneuva is a talented player, and might make for a decent pick at No. 10. But we have mixed feelings about him. Villaneuva could have been a much higher pick had he stayed in college another year and improved his game. He has been inconsistent in college, and some people have called him soft.
While the Lakers are unlikely to move up the draft board in a trade, we'd be happy if they pulled off a good deal to move into the top-five and take Deron Williams out of Illinois or Gerald Green from high school. Williams is a smart skilled point guard who could fit in well with the triangle. And some pundits believe that Green will wind up being the best player to come out of this draft. Green may be a small forward, which the Lakers don't need right now, but by the time he develops their needs will be different. If the Lakers have the chance to take the best player in the draft, LAist thinks they should do it.
As for the Clippers, all signs point to them taking 6-9 Russian Yaroslav Korolev. LAist doesn't quite know what to make of this. Elgin Baylor's draft record is so miserable, we'd be inclined to think taking Korolev is a mistake. But it seems like Mike Dunleavy is calling the shots these days, and his Shaun Livingston pick last year still looks good. Clippers fans better hope that Dunleavy has done his scouting homework.
Who would you like to see the Lakers and Clippers select in the NBA Draft today?