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High School High

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The Lakers took a chance in yesterday's NBA Draft, and it may just pay off. LAist likes the selection of Andrew Bynum, a 6-11 high school center from New Jersey, who is the youngest player ever drafted. Admittedly, we've never seen Bynum play, so we have no idea if he's the next Shaq or Desagna Diop. But high school players have panned out in recent years, and the kid certainly has size at 6-11, 280 pounds.

Bynum may take several years to develop, but we have patience because the Lakers aren't going anywhere for a while. LAist would rather the Lakers take a guy who could be a superstar in four years with the No. 10 pick instead of a guy who can immediately be an average contributor.

Can Kobe Bryant be Bynum's high school-to-the-pros mentor?

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As for the Lakers other picks, we're also fans of Ronny Turiaf out of Gonzaga. Under Mark Few, he has only learned proper fundamental basketball. He's also got size at 6-10, 250, and has a tremendous amount of energy. He's still relatively new to the game, but the Frenchman has a strong desire to learn. While he's not where he needs to be now with his game, we feel good knowing that he'll actually try everything possible to improve. For a second round pick, this is a pretty good.

LAist is not as high on Von Wafer out of Florida State. He seems like a headcase, and he's not even a great scorer at the 2. Perhaps Phil Jackson wants him to play point guard, but he's not much of a passer either. He's got a ton of athletic ability, so that could pay off somewhere. But the track for athletic guys who can't shoot or pass, and have bad attitudes, isn't spectacular.

The Clippers had a questionable draft. Not unheard of, if you're a Clippers fan. About the only thing Clippers fans can positively about selecting 6-9 Russian Yaroslav Korolev is "in Dunleavy, we trust." Not that he's necessarily earned that trust, but it's hard for us to deny Dunleavy's love affair with Korolev that developed when he saw him play. Good luck, Clippers. Hope it works out for you.

Daniel Ewing isn't a bad second round pick, but is anyone else wondering why the Clippers have become Duke West? They have Elton Brand and Corey Maggette, who both went to Duke. Shaun Livingston had committed to Duke. Mike Dunleavy's son played for Duke. For while they had another Dukie in Cherokee Parks. And now they bring in Daniel Ewing of Duke. We guess there's nothing wrong with getting a bunch of guys with ties to the same school if they can all play, but at what point does a fixation on Durham cost you perspective in evaluating other better players? For now, the Clippers will just sit and hope that Yaroslav Korolev is better than... Mike Dunleavy, Jr.

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