Who are some of the most realistic prospects that attainable at 27 and 28?
Clayton: Realistic? With the D’Angelo trade, the issues the team needs to address were just amplified. The Lakers need to bring in guys that are able to handle the ball and shoot, but also provide defense. Easy right? They need to find some combinations of those at least. It all honestly depends on what their plan is moving forward. Guys that I like and could be there? Derrick White, Jawun Evans, Wesley Iwundu, Jonah Bolden, Josh Hart, and Jordan Bell. It is hard to tell who could fall with potential, but those are steady prospects that are likely to be available in that range.
Merge: If you would have asked me before the D’Angelo trade I would have said a player like Jordan Bell out of Oregon because of his defensive skills. Now that Russell has been traded the Lakers need another ball handler like Derrick White or Juwan Evans. They need someone to play with Ball who has vision and ability to take the load off Lonzo. With one the other picks the Lakers need a guy who can rim protect and be a pick and pop/roll option like Jordan Bell or Tony Bradley.
Nelson: Honestly, the Lakers should really be looking to trade up in the draft due to the fact that players that fit the archetype of a really switchable defender or a rim protecting big are falling due to injury or other reasons. I really think an upside guy like Ferguson can be there or even a player like an Ike or Tony Bradley. A player like White can come in and be a better version of Jordan Clarkson. Since the Lakers want to build through free agency, they are going to need cheap contracts like the ones at 27 and 28.
Which of the top draft prospects is going to slide unexpectedly?
Clayton: There are three that I did not expect to slide, but appear to be: Frank Ntilikina, OG Anunoby, and Ike Anigbogu. Apparently teams are divided on Ntilikina due to age, numbers, and the international factor. With OG, it is simply that teams are cautious about his knee. For Anigbogu, his limited playing time and the fact he is a total project have teams more cautious now. If any of these three were to start sliding, I would make moves to grab at least one of them.
Merge: I think the 2 biggest will be OG Anunoby and Frank Ntilikina. OG has injury problems to worry about, personally I still have him in my top 12 for prospects. His defensive potential is massive but he may be one of the worst offensive prospects in the first round. Frank has been sliding because of the international factor, his age, and some struggles over seas. Also I could see Dennis Smith Jr. dropping to around 9-10. To me, this is a huge slide because he is my 2nd best prospect in the draft.
Nelson: At this point, I think Frank is going to slide and some team is going to get good value. OG is likely to slide due to his medicals as well. TJ Leaf is another guy that I expect to slide into the late first round since there are going to be so many big men. Zach collins might end up falling into the later portion of the lottery as well if teams go with other players projected in that range that may add more immediate value.
What is the craziest draft day trade that could happen?
Clayton: Oh boy. I honestly think we will be questioning who is making picks at spots. A lot of teams appear to be putting picks in play, and it could all domino out of control. Utter chaos.
Merge: Honestly at this point I am hoping for the most chaos possible. After all the Dlo stuff I just wanna see other teams suffer. In all seriousness I think the craziest one that could happen is Kristaps Porzingis being traded because Phil Jackson is a grumpy old man who is hell bent on making the Triangle work in the modern NBA. Most seem to think this is just Phil being hard on the kid but the way Phil has been talking makes it seem like KP is in the past.
Nelson: All of the trades. I still think Jimmy Butler is going to be traded and the Bulls are going to end up with quite the haul. The Timmberwolves might be the team to do it this time.
Who is going to end up being a second round steal?
Clayton: This year, answering this question is harder for me. There are about 15 guys that I could see that will go in the second round, who could have gone in the first. Picks 20-45 are just so fluid right now. If Josh Hart and Jawun Evans fall to the second round, I think teams could be kicking themselves. Hart is just a solid all around player. He can do some of everything, but is not elite at anything. I really expect him to go in the first, but for some reason, many don’t. Evans has some really high upside for some scouts, especially if he can figure out how to finish at the rim.
Merge: I think Wesley Iwundu of Kansas State will be the Malcolm Brogdon of this draft. He is a 6’7 wing with a 7’1 wingspan, good ball skills and vision. Also with a ton of defensive upside. He is a guy who could come in and help a team from day one. If someone like Juwan Evans is still on the board I would have him first but I feel he goes in the mid to late first.
Nelson: Devin Robinson is going to be a steal in this draft. Especially if he is drafted as low as Draft Express has him projected. He has good size at 6’8” with a 7’0” wingspan and should be able to add value to any team defensively. A team could take him in the second and give him time in the D-League to season up some more.
Who is going to be the biggest reach on draft day?
Clayton: A reach on my board would be Lauri Markkanen going in the top 10. He is essentially a 7 foot shooting guard, with little to no value elsewhere. If we are going with consensus, I would have to say Harry Giles going in the lotto. I love Giles still, but the knees are a massive concern. The potential is so enticing, but will he ever be the prospect he was before his three knee surgeries?
Merge: I think Luke Kennard, Justin Jackson, and Lauri Markkanen will be the biggest reaches in the draft. Keep an eye on the Knicks to draft any of these guys because they all seem to fit the triangle and again Phil loves him some triangle. I like Luke Kennard as a shooter and secondary ball handler, but in the top 10 is a big reach. There are a lot more guys with higher upside and fit. Lauri is a stretch big who literally only can only shoot. He doesn’t provide any athletic upside or defensive upside. I personally have him at 14 on my board. I’ve seen mocks with him going as high as 6. Which is way too high for me. Justin Jackson is a guy who I see being a nice rotation piece for a good team, but having him in the lottery just boggles my mind.
Nelson: Lauri Markkanen in the top 10 makes me want to throw up. He can really space the floor and shoot at an elite level, but that is it. Later lottery and mid-first would be ideal, but he was to be one of the most overrated players players in this draft. Justin Jackson in the top 20 for me is also a reach and most teams should stay away. John Collins is an NBA player, but should that mean that he goes over some projects with legit upside? I really don’t think so and it could be a mistake that people lose their minds and jobs over.