2019 NBA Draft Predictions

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The 2019 NBA Draft is fast approaching and speculation is widespread with many giving their input on who the Lakers should draft with the #4 pick, come June 20.

It is very much a toss up between Darius Garland, Jarrett Culver, De’Andre Hunter, and Cam Reddish, it seems. Either would definitely be a solid addition to the roster. However, does it even matter? After all the Lakers will be trading the pick, won’t they? This is where it gets interesting!

We have gathered the opinions of four UK-based Laker fans (one is from Germany, but he’s now an adopted Brit!) on the franchise landing another high draft pick, the Lakers’ plans moving forward, how the draft will unfold, among other topics.

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Q: First of all, what was your reaction when the Lakers jumped up 7 places in the Draft Lottery to secure the #4 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft?

Matt: “I didn’t stay up for it like I have done in previous years because I thought we were a dead set for #11. Upon waking up I was elated, it was a massive boost for the franchise and some much-needed positivity in what was a relatively bleak period with all of the front office drama.”

Steve: “I was pretty happy. It‘s a top heavy draft so it’s nice to be able to pick at #4. It’s also an end to an otherwise forgettable season.”

Mohamoud: “Shocked would be an understatement. I never expected the Lakers to sneak into the top 5. However, once it was announced that the Lakers had jumped ahead, I had a sneaky feeling that the number 1 or 2 pick would fall in our lap. Either way, I am extremely happy.”

Ryan: “My initial thoughts were ones of happiness just like I’m sure all Laker fans’ were, jumping up that many allows us to draft a better player arguably. My other thoughts were that it gives us a lot better collateral for trading.”

Q: As well as giving the Lakers the opportunity to draft a talented young player to add to the core, the pick gives the franchise another asset to potentially place in a trade. Do you think the Lakers will use the pick or trade it?

Matt: “I think the Lakers will actively look to trade the pick in the hope of acquiring some star talent to the roster. Whether they are actually able to do it though, is a different question.”

Steve: “As much as I‘d like to see a new young player, I think the Lakers will use the pick as a trade chip.”

Mohamoud: “For the Lakers, the ideal situation would be to trade the pick. This draft is top heavy. I don’t envision anyone outside the top 3 to be good enough to entice other teams *ahem ahem* *Pelicans* to trade for that pick.”

Ryan: “Personally I think it depends on a few things. LeBron is the key player in all of this, if he decides to go and help run the Lakers which from what we’ve seen on the surface and from what Magic has told us, we could really do with him turning his hand to running the front office like everyone has said he’s done at every organisation he’s been at. If LeBron gets involved I can see it being used as collateral in a trade, LeBron has a few years left and wants to win now, he’s got enough kids on the roster, I highly doubt he’d want another. I could also see the front office trying to get back at LeBron after the whole AD thing and draft another kid and make LeBron work with it.”

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(Image/Jeff Haynes/Getty Images)

Q: Obviously, what the Lakers do and what the fans want appear to differ at present time, what do YOU want the Lakers to do with the pick?

Matt: “I’m pretty torn between the two really, if we get the option of acquiring Anthony Davis, I’m all for it. But the thought of gutting the roster to do so frightens me to be honest. If a reasonable offer for Beal got accepted I wouldn’t be against that either. The front office just needs to be smart, for once.”

Steve: “I‘d like to use the pick on a player like Hunter, Garland or Reddish.”

Mohamoud: “The Lakers want to win now. That’s why they signed LeBron James. So trading the pick would be a priority for me.”

Ryan: “I’m not sure AD is worth giving up what we will have to. If I was in the front office I’d be targeting Beal with the pick, I don’t know what other collateral you’d have to give Washington to get him but I highly doubt it would be what Pelicans are demanding for Davis.”

Q: There seems to be a fair few interesting options available at #4, who would you like to see the Lakers draft and why? This is should they decide to keep the pick.

Matt: “I would go with Darius Garland. I think he looks a fantastic player, and could really fit into the modern NBA with flashy guards. He looks a threat from range, can get to the rim and can distribute. Oh, and he has that Klutch Sports link..”

Steve: “Hunter would be my obvious choice. He’s a great defender who could have an immediate impact on the team. He can defend guards, forwards and would be great alongside Lonzo.”

Mohamoud: “For the Lakers, they have to pick the best player available. If the projected top 3 remains as it is, Culver would be a great pick. I am also extremely high on Garland and considering that we will most likely push to trade Lonzo for something better, Garland would be a good pick up. I am also high on Hunter. With his size and skill set, he could help out immediately.”

Ryan: “Ideally I’d like Ja (Morant) to still be on the board although that has as much of a chance of happening as the Suns do of going unbeaten next season. Personally I like Cam Reddish, he’d be a good fit at #4.”

Q: There have been reports suggesting that the New York Knicks may pass on RJ Barrett and select Jarrett Culver with the #3 pick. That surely won’t happen, will it? I mean, it is the Knicks that we are talking about.

Matt: “In the past, the Knicks have been as dysfunctional as any but surely they don’t pass on Barrett. I can’t see it happening. I don’t think there’s a huge difference between the top-3 and the rest of the draft like many are saying. But there is still some difference. The Knicks will play it safe and so they should.”

Steve: “If you‘d asked me that a year ago I’d have agreed on him, no doubt. However his year at Duke wasn’t convincing. Barrett wasn’t able to carry the team without Zion. Even with Zion he seemed more like a complementary player.”

Mohamoud: “The Knicks cannot be that stupid, can they? Pass up on, potentially the best player in the draft? If Barrett falls on our lap, we might have to rename the draft to the Lakers Christmas gift. Don’t get me wrong, I am not excited about the prospect of playing him, rather that he would have great trade value. We could flip him for something more productive for our timeline.”

Ryan: “I think this is a non starter because not even the Knicks would be that stupid. But also because I think that’s where AD will end up as the change of having the 1+3 pick might see the Pelicans give AD to NY.”

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Q: The Lakers have drafted very well over the past few years, especially late in the 1st round and in the 2nd. Who has been your favourite pick in recent years, it doesn’t necessarily have to be who you think is the best, but it could be a steal for the position in which a player was drafted. Is there one that stands out for you?

Matt: “There has been quite a few over recent years; Nance, Clarkson, Zubac, etc. But Kuzma stands out for me, to snatch him as a late-1st rounder was a steal. He’s had such a strong impact and should get better and better. On his day he can be a devastating scorer.”

Steve: “Kuz is my favorite pick in recent years. To get a player with his skill set at #27 was amazing. Ingram and Lonzo were good picks too, but that’s what you expect when you draft a player at #2.”

Mohamoud: “Kuzma should come to everyone’s mind as a late draft pick steal. So does Josh Hart. I can also remember the Lakers selecting Marc Gasol late in the second round, although nothing materialised from that. I also really like Zubac. The front office made a terrible mistake trading him out of sheer panic.”

Ryan: “This would have been a straight forward one and I’d have gone with Zubac until, idiotically, we traded him for some ridiculous reason. So I’m going to bend the question a bit and go for Kuzma, although technically we didn’t select him. He’s still my favourite player we’ve gotten in the process in recent years. I love watching him play.”

Thank you to Steve, Mohamoud, and Ryan for taking part and providing their views, it is much appreciated. Over the past week we ran a poll over on Lakers Fanclub UK’s Twitter page on who our followers think the Lakers should draft with the #4 pick, should they decide to use it. The results were:

  • Darius Garland – 32%
  • Jarrett Culver – 21%
  • De’Andre Hunter – 16%
  • Cam Reddish – 31%

Speculation will undoubtedly run wild between now and June 20, that’s for sure. Come draft night who honestly knows what’s going to happen, but that’s the fun of it all, we wouldn’t have it any other way!

By Matt Evans (@mattyyyevans)