News 'n Views - May 2016: The Lakers' adjusted culture could pay dividends going forward
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PostPosted: Thu May 12, 2016 7:46 am    Post subject:

Lakers select Ben Simmons in latest Vertical mock draft
by Harrison Faigen - silverscreenandroll.com

Two high school teammates will be reunited in Los Angeles if they keep their pick, according to one mock.

Next Tuesday, the Los Angeles Lakers will find out whether or not they get to keep their top-three protected first round pick in the 2016 NBA Draft and, if they keep it, where they will be picking. The Lakers could either have the first, second, or third overall pick, but if it drops to fourth or fifth overall, they will have to convey their selection to the Philadelphia 76ers.

The Phoenix Suns originally had the Lakers' top-three protected pick as a result of the Steve Nash sign-and-trade but sent it to the Sixers in a three-way deal sending Brandon Knight to the Milwaukee Bucks and Isaiah Thomas to the Boston Celtics.

If no teams move up or down in the draft, the Lakers would be slated to pick second overall by virtue of accumulating the second-worst overall record in the NBA during the 2015-16 season. If they do end up picking second, Jonathan Givony of the Vertical and Draft Express projects that they will select D'Angelo Russell's high school teammate Ben Simmons out of LSU:

In a draft many consider to have a significant dropoff after the No. 2 pick, the Lakers will be happy to "settle" for whomever the Sixers decide not to draft. It will be interesting to see how the Lakers fit the non-shooting Simmons alongside the ball-dominant backcourt of D'Angelo Russell and Jordan Clarkson, but there really isn't much of a choice here. New head coach Luke Walton could try and mold Simmons into a bigger and more athletic version of Draymond Green, which could help quite a bit alongside as many shooters as possible.

There are quite a few interesting notes here. The Simmons-Green comparison in Luke Walton's system is interesting, because that is a player Julius Randle has also spoken several times about attempting to emulate, so Green is clearly the type of power forward Walton wants in his offense.

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PostPosted: Thu May 12, 2016 7:47 am    Post subject:

A Few Silver Linings In The Event The Lakers Lose Their Pick In The Draft Lottery
by Trevor Lane - lakersnation.com

Make no mistake, the Los Angeles Lakers want to keep their 2016 draft pick. The selection becomes the property of the Philadelphia 76ers if it lands outside the top three in the draft lottery thanks to the ill-fated Steve Nash trade, which means that ping pong balls will ultimately determine Los Angeles’ fate.

After a disastrous season in which the team finished with the second-worst record in the league, to not have a top draft pick would essentially leave them with nothing to show for their franchise-worst 17-win year.

With only a 55.8% chance that the selection will fall where they need it to, the Lakers will nervously await the draft lottery results on May 17th.

Should the worst happen though, it won’t signal the coming of the apocalypse (unless you are an X-Men fan). In spite of what many will say, the sky is, in fact, not falling. It certainly would be preferable to keep the pick, but there are some definite advantages to sending it to Philadelphia this year.

First and foremost, losing the pick this time around guarantees that the Lakers will have their 2017 first round selection. Teams can’t trade away draft picks in consecutive years (Stepien rule), which means that the first-round pick owed to the Orlando Magic from the Dwight Howard trade can’t convey until two years after the one owed to the 76ers does.

The Lakers have spent the past two draft lotteries fretting over pick protections and the percentages that go with them. It’s nerve-wracking for the franchise’s fortunes to be tethered to such an unpredictable thing as the bounce of a ping pong ball, and makes it difficult for the front office to solidify plans moving forward.

Having the kind of certainty that a free-and-clear draft pick offers would be a welcome change.

On the other hand, keeping the selection in 2016 would mean that the 2017 pick would instantly be in jeopardy, with top-three protection once again providing a painfully small slice of hope.

Moreover, the 2016 NBA Draft is notoriously shallow, with only two players, Duke’s Brandon Ingram and LSU’s Ben Simmons, considered to be stars in the making. For the Lakers, who are now living in a post-Kobe world, landing a cornerstone that can be built around is of the utmost importance.

One star-level player could instantly change the Lakers’ fortunes and revert them back to being a major free agent destination. In this draft, however, it appears that a top pick is needed to find such a gem.

What this means is that, while handing over the fourth or fifth pick to Philadelphia this year would be painful, it likely wouldn’t equate to giving up a franchise-altering player. The same can’t be said for the 2017 draft, which already has experts salivating.

In other words, with the 2017 pick factored in, this isn’t a bad year to have a top-three protected selection. The team either gets a potential star (or a solid trade asset with the third pick), or they pass along a less-desirable pick and hope for better luck next year.

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PostPosted: Thu May 12, 2016 7:47 am    Post subject:

Lakers begin inviting draft prospects for workouts
by Gary Kester - lakersoutsiders.com

The Los Angeles Lakers are preparing for what will certainly be a nervous day on May 17, as their first round draft situation will be decided once again by a bunch of ping pong balls.

The NBA Draft Lottery is just six days away, and Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak has stated that he is already operating under the assumption that the team will lose their top-three protected first round pick this year to the Philadelphia 76ers.

Despite having a 44.2 percent chance of losing their first round pick, the Lakers still have another pick in the 2016 NBA Draft. Los Angeles has the No. 32 overall pick, which is the second selection of the second round. The team has its focus on that pick for now, hoping that some of it will be able to shift to a top-three pick in about a week.

Los Angeles has obviously been evaluating prospects all season long, but now the next major steps in the process have begun. The 2016 NBA Draft Combine began today in Chicago, but the Lakers are still thinking beyond it, as they have started inviting prospects in for workouts.

ESPN’s Jeff Goodman reports that the Lakers have scheduled workouts with two prospects in the near future.

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PostPosted: Thu May 12, 2016 7:47 am    Post subject:

Julius Randle has fresh mentality and a new comparison
by Keith Rivas - lasportshub.com

Julius Randle is ready to take his game to the next level

Being in Julius Randle‘s shoes isn’t exactly an easy place to be, and next season under new head coach Luke Walton will tell us a lot about where his developmental skills as a basketball player really are.

According to an SB Nation report, the young Lakers star has apparently compared himself to Draymond Green of the Golden State Warriors. While at first sounding like a bit of a stretch, it could easily turn into something special.

Per the report, Green put a lot of praise into the work of Luke Walton, going as far as to say that that his development went through the roof thanks to the next Lakers head coach.

From the report:

Heading into the summer, a common comparison for Randle has been WarriorsAll-Star forward/center Draymond Green, as both have similar frames and skill sets, including ballhandling and passing abilities typical of much smaller players.

Green has publicly stated how important Walton was for his development, and Randle believes he will have the same experiences playing in a similar role to Green in the Lakers’ new schemes.

“Obviously there are a lot of similarities between Draymond and myself,” Randle said. “There will be a lot to learn, but especially with the style of play, it’ll be fun for us to get up and down. Sharing the ball is going to be big for us this year. Just building that chemistry on both sides of the floor.”


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PostPosted: Thu May 12, 2016 7:48 am    Post subject:

Shareef O'Neal: I Got A New Hoops Tutor - Kobe!! (video)
by tmz.com

Time heals all wounds

A new O'Neal is teaming up with Kobe Bryant to make basketball history ... Shaq's son Shareef ... who says Kobe offered to give him 1-on-1 training this summer ... and he accepted.

Yes, that Kobe Bryant ... the same one Shareef's father used to hate with a white hot passion.

Shareef dropped the news on us while leaving the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills ... saying he ran into Kobe at the All-Star Game in Toronto ... and the Mamba offered to be his hoops Obi-Wan.

"He was telling me I need to train with him ... I'm going to probably start training with him this summer."

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PostPosted: Thu May 12, 2016 8:21 am    Post subject:

lakersfreak wrote:
Julius Randle compares himself to Draymond Green
by Harrison Faigen - silverscreenandroll.com

The third-year forward knows he has a long way to go, but it's a comparison that should make fans salivate

After breaking his leg mere minutes into his rookie season, fans of the Los Angeles Lakers were forced to temper their expectations for Julius Randle, but the sophomore was solid in his first full season in the pros. Randle averaged a double-double of 11.3 points and 10.3 rebounds over the course of the 2015-16 season, with his rebounding ability (grabbed a team-leading 32.7 percent of opposing misses while on the floor) standing out most.

Randle's debut wasn't all positives, however. He shot just 42.9 percent from the field and often struggled defensively over his first 81 games, but to his credit, it sounds like Randle knows he has to improve. While he doesn't sound like he'll be making that improvement in Las Vegas Summer League, Randle told Jovan Buha of ESPN.com that he is hopeful that his time working with Luke Walton can help him emulate the success of another power forward who progressed on Walton's watch:

Heading into the summer, a common comparison for Randle has been Warriors All-Star forward/center Draymond Green, as both have similar frames and skill sets, including ballhandling and passing abilities typical of much smaller players.

Green has publicly stated how important Walton was for his development, and Randle believes he will have the same experiences playing in a similar role to Green in the Lakers' new schemes.

"Obviously there are a lot of similarities between Draymond and myself," Randle said. "There will be a lot to learn, but especially with the style of play, it'll be fun for us to get up and down. Sharing the ball is going to be big for us this year. Just building that chemistry on both sides of the floor."


It's here we have to note that player comparisons are mostly pointless, no two players are exactly alike and comparisons between two of them are generally painting in extremely broad strokes. With all that said, Randle and Green do boast some of the same strengths mentioned by Buha. Green is much better at them as of right now, but it doesn't mean Randle cannot improve, especially if Walton really was as critical for the Michigan State product's development into one of the top players in the NBA as Green says he was.

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Appreciate the confidence.

Let's see what happens on the Court.
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PostPosted: Fri May 13, 2016 6:28 am    Post subject:

How Much Cap Space Could the Lakers Have This Offseason?
by Eric Yee - lakeshowlife.com

The Los Angeles Lakers could have upwards of $60 million to spend this upcoming offseason

With the upcoming draft lottery less than a week away, much of the focus has surrounded what the Los Angeles Lakers will end up doing with the pick, should they keep it.

That said, unlike the draft, one thing that is for certain is that the Purple and Gold will have an abundance of cap space to chase free agents with this upcoming offseason.

Salary cap projection for 2016-17 NBA season: $92 million, per memo sent to league executives.
11:38 AM - 15 Apr 2016


If the cap indeed rises to $92 million as reported by Jeff Zillgitt, NBA reporter for USA Today Sports, the Lakers could have around $60-$65 million to spend depending on what they do with their roster this offseason.

Currently, the team only has six players on contract — Lou Williams, Nick Young, D’Angelo Russell, Anthony Brown, Larry Nance Jr., Julius Randle — but seeing how they’re likely to re-sign Jordan Clarkson and could sign a top three pick, this number falls into the $50 millions.

Trading Nick Young could add around $5.5 million to this number but only if they traded him away and took no salary back, an unlikely scenario to say the least.

Seeing how players in year seven through nine could earn up to 30 percent of a team’s max salary (roughly $27.6 million) the Lakers could possibly have enough money to sign two max free agents. However, some predict that the number of true max contracts signed this offseason will be significantly less than in years past.

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Last edited by lakersfreak on Fri May 13, 2016 6:32 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Fri May 13, 2016 6:29 am    Post subject:

D’Angelo Russell On Lakers Hiring Luke Walton: ‘Oh Yeah, I’m Happy’
by Ryan Ward - lakersnation.com

The 2015-16 NBA season mercifully came to an end for the Los Angeles Lakers last month with Kobe Bryant putting on a show one last time for the fans at the Staples Center. With Bryant now retired, the attention turns to the future of the franchise with D’Angelo Russell expected to be the torch bearer for the time being in Los Angeles.

Despite showing flashes of his star potential during his rookie campaign with the Lakers, Russell’s first season in Los Angeles ended on a somewhat sour note due to the incident with teammate Nick Young. The Ohio State product will have an uphill battle ahead to bounce back from the scandal that tarnished his reputation and impacted his relationship with his teammates, but the 20-year-old seems confident he and do just that.

Recently, TMZ Sports caught up with Russell and asked him about his relationship with Young and if it can ever be repaired. D’Angelo gave a similar answer to the same question he’s been asked many times before:

“I don’t know. Only time can tell, right?”

At this point, there’s no telling whether the relationship will be repaired or even if it’ll matter considering the consensus being that Young has likely played his last game in a Lakers uniform. The real issue is the current relationships he has with his other teammates and players that may come to Los Angeles in NBA free agency this summer.

Along with asking Russell about his status with Young, TMZ Sports also enquired about the hiring of new head coach Luke Walton. Russell didn’t hesitate in expressing his happiness about Byron Scott’s successor:

“Oh yeah, I’m happy.”

Scott and Russell never really saw eye-to-eye in their short time together in Los Angeles. D’Angelo seemed never to know where he stood with Scott and his old school mentality, and therefore the relationship between the two always appeared to be strained. The young point guard now seems to be at ease knowing that he may have a more relatable coach next season that could give him more freedom to show his true potential in the years to come.

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PostPosted: Fri May 13, 2016 6:31 am    Post subject:

D’Angelo Russell ready to be on good terms with Luke Walton
by Keith Rivas - lasportshub.com

D’Angelo Russell is getting the fresh start he deserves with Luke Walton

Byron Scott was never the biggest fan of D’Angelo Russell, and that seemed to be one of the defining and dividing lines of a chaotic season for the Lakers last year.

Now that Scott is out and his replacement in Luke Walton will be running the show shortly, it’s safe to say that D’Angelo Russell will benefit the most from it.

After already having Magic Johnson come to his aide as a mentor in the off-season, Russell’s focus has to continue to be gaining the trust of his teammates back.

Following the release of a secret recording that made it’s way around the web, Russell also recently told media that he’s not sure what will come of the relationship between him and veteran Nick Young.

Young was also the center of attention in an alleged sexual harassment incident alongside fellow Lakers star Jordan Clarkson — it’s since been a popular suggestion to cut Young loose from the team and relieve him of his duties.

That would be the ultimate best start for Russell, but it might not happen just yet.

The importance of Russell being able to relate to his coach is huge, and being relational is what will make Luke Walton have the biggest impact in Los Angeles.

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PostPosted: Fri May 13, 2016 6:32 am    Post subject:

Gordon Hayward On Kobe’s Last Game: ‘A Lot Of Us Were In Shock’
by Corey Hansford - lakersnation.com

Kobe Bryant’s final game with the Los Angeles Lakers is one that will go down for the ages. Kobe scored an unbelievable 60 points on 50 shots, leading the Lakers to a comeback victory over the Utah Jazz. Fans, media, and fellow players everywhere were in pure amazement at what Kobe was able to pull off, but on the other end of that, the young Jazz were the victims of that historic performance.

Jazz star Gordon Hayward is the team’s best player and spent a lot of time guarding Kobe Bryant so he got to witness everything up close and personal.

On his personal blog, gordonhayward20.life, Hayward spoke about that final game, saying that while they were trying to win, many were in shock once Kobe began to get going:

We were trying to win, and for a while there we were. But at the end of the game, in the closing minutes, everything that transpired kind of shocked us, to be honest. We were up double digits for most of the second half, and we led by 10 with about three minutes to go. So when Kobe started hitting shots, and the game started to get close, a lot of us were in shock.

Hayward also noted that once Kobe got in the zone, there was nothing they could do:

There comes a point where he is in the zone, and there’s almost nothing you can do. And Kobe kind of got to that, there at the end of the game, where he was hitting everything and the crowd was going wild […] It was definitely a fairy-tale ending for Kobe Bryant and one the sports world will remember forever. Everyone kind of wanted it to be Kobe’s night. Besides us. But that’s how it goes sometimes.

It’s always interesting to look at milestones from the other point of view. Hayward went in-depth about how difficult it was to guard Kobe when everyone was looking to get him shots for the entire game, and it’s a situation he hopes he never has to go through again.

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PostPosted: Sat May 14, 2016 6:36 am    Post subject:

Lakers add to list of pre-draft workout invites
by Gary Kester - lakersoutsiders.com

Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak and the rest of the team’s front office have been busy since the regular season ended last month.

Before and now during the NBA Draft Combine this week, Los Angeles has turned its focus from working on filling out new head coach Luke Walton’s head coaching staff to gearing up for the NBA Draft and the draft lottery on Tuesday. While the lottery will determine if they have a first round pick or not this year, the Lakers are surveying all options for the June 23 NBA Draft, including second round and potential undrafted free agent candidates.

Los Angeles has started interviewing some of the top players in this year’s draft class. They have also started a list of pre-draft workouts with some prospects expected to go very late in the draft if they are selected. According to Adam Zagoria of SNY, the Lakers have added three names to that list: Providence’s Ben Bentil, Kentucky’s Isaiah Briscoe and UNLV’s Derrick Jones (h/t Harrison Faigen of Silver Screen and Roll).

Bentil, a sophomore power forward, ranks No. 52 on DraftExpress’ big board, while Briscoe ranks 82nd and Jones is barely in the top-100, coming in at No. 99.

The common theme for the Lakers’ list of invites has been the fact that every player is projected to be selected well after their final pick in the draft, which is at that No. 32 spot.

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PostPosted: Sat May 14, 2016 6:36 am    Post subject:

Lakers To Workout Isaiah Briscoe, Ben Bentil, Troy Williams
by Corey Hansford - lakersnation.com

While it is still unknown whether or not the Los Angeles Lakers will keep their first-round pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, they are ensured to have their second-round pick at number 32 overall. The Lakers have holes just about everywhere on the roster, so they surely are checking out a number of different prospects.

The Lakers have had some good luck in the second-round recently with Jordan Clarkson looking like a steal. Additionally, players such as Draymond Green, Hassan Whiteside, Chandler Parsons, and Khris Middleton have all been second-round picks who have far outperformed their draft position in recent years.

With a ton of possibilities in the second round, the Lakers reportedly have workouts set up with Kentucky guard Isaiah Briscoe and Providence forward Ben Bentil according to Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv:

The 6-3 Briscoe is not here in Chicago but has worked out for the Spurs and Clippers and will work out for the Lakers after the Combine […] Bentil met here with Orlando, Golden State, Utah and Denver and said he has workouts coming up with the Clippers, the Lakers, Denver and Indiana.

Another workout the Lakers reportedly have scheduled is Indiana forward Troy Williams, according to Nathan Baird of the Journal & Courier:

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PostPosted: Sat May 14, 2016 6:36 am    Post subject:

Lakers interview Brandon Ingram at NBA combine
by Harrison Faigen - silverscreenandroll.com

Los Angeles is getting ready in the event they keep their first round pick

The Los Angeles Lakers have been busy over the past few days at the NBA combine in Chicago. On one hand, the team is preparing like they won't have a first round pick by setting up workouts with prospects unlikely to be drafted, like Mamadou N'Diaye of UCI and Indiana's Troy Williams and Yogi Ferrell.

On the other hand, despite general manager Mitch Kupchak saying the team is readying themselves for the draft as if they won't have first round pick, the front office is still interviewing several top prospects that could be in play for a top-three overall selection. The team was reportedly "impressed" with Kentucky guard Jamal Murray and also interviewed Jaylen Brown out of the University of California, who said he wants to emulate Kobe Bryant's work ethic.

Both Murray and Brown are contenders for the third overall selection, along with Croatian big man Dragan Bender who, according to Mark Medina of the L.A. Daily News, did not attend the combine. As far as the presumptive top two selections in the draft, Ben Simmons of LSU and Brandon Ingram of Duke, Medina reports that "the Lakers still interviewed Ingram, though they have not had any formal contact with Simmons yet."

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PostPosted: Sat May 14, 2016 6:37 am    Post subject:

Lakers Interviewed Jamal Murray and ‘Were Impressed’
by Eric Yee - lakeshowlife.com

The NBA Draft is only four days away and the Los Angeles Lakers have already started their pre-draft interviews of candidates they could select should they keep their draft pick

With the NBA Draft Combine fully underway, the Lakers have started the process of interviewing a series of players they could possibly select with either their top three or 32nd overall pick.

According to Rick Bozich of WDRB Sports, Wednesday night the Los Angeles Lakers interviewed University of Kentucky point guard, Jamal Murray, and “were impressed” by the 19 year old freshman.

The Los Angeles Lakers interviewed UK guard Jamal Murray Wednesday night and were impressed. Murray will not play or do interviews here.
12:26 PM - 12 May 2016


In the latest mock drafts, Murray seems to be hovering at around the sixth overall pick mark, but some have him going as high as third overall.

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PostPosted: Sat May 14, 2016 6:37 am    Post subject:

Lakers interview Henry Ellenson at Draft Combine
by Harrison Faigen - silverscreenandroll.com

Could Los Angeles have their eye on Ellenson with their first rounder?

The Los Angeles Lakers don't know whether or not they will even get to keep their top-three protected first round draft pick, but it hasn't stopped the team from interviewing prospects they could select with it. The Lakers have been busy at the NBA Draft combine in Chicago this week, and have already sat down for interviews with top draft prospects like Brandon Ingram, Jaylen Brown, and Jamal Murray.

The team continued the trend on Friday with an interview with Draft Express' ninth-ranked draft prospect, freshman power forward Henry Ellenson of Marquette, according to Mark Medina of the L.A. Daily News. Ellenson cited his ability to "knock down shots and put the ball on the floor" when explaining to reporters what he thought had allowed him to have so much success, but it still seems highly unlikely that Los Angeles' front office would be high enough on Ellenson to take him with a top-three pick. Our own college basketball expert Ben Rosales agrees:

Ellenson is a power forward with prototypical size, and has a fairly versatile offensive game. He has good shooting mechanics, can handle the ball, is able in the post, and thus able to make things happen on that end despite a lack of explosion. Think Nikola Mirotic here.

However, he is weak on defense. He is heavy legged, so he struggles in space and has poor defensive awareness. If he was a few inches taller, he'd have enormous intrigue as a center option for LA, but as it stands, he's a PF sans the intrigue of someone like Bender who could fill in the center spot down the line. As for why the Lakers are interviewing him, I'd imagine a good chunk of it is due diligence.


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PostPosted: Sat May 14, 2016 6:37 am    Post subject:

The Lakers interviewed Jakob Poeltl at the draft combine
by Harrison Faigen - silverscreenandroll.com

The sophomore from Utah thinks he can play like one of Los Angeles' greatest big men.

The Los Angeles Lakers have conducted a multitude of pre-draft interviews at the NBA combine in Chicago so far, talking to players such as Henry Ellenson, Brandon Ingram, Jaylen Brown, and Jamal Murray. The front office added one more name to that list on Friday, interviewing Jakob Poeltl, a sophomore center out of Utah.

Draft Express currently ranks the 7'1 center as the eighth best prospect in the draft, so like with a lot of the names they have spoken with, the Lakers would be defying conventional wisdom by selecting Poeltl with their top-three protected first round pick (if they even get to keep it after the lottery takes place on Tuesday).

Despite there being other more highly touted prospects in front of him, Poeltl would fill a need for the Lakers at center with the likely departure of Roy Hibbert. Poeltl told Mark Medina of the L.A. Daily News that he is ready to fill that hole for the Lakers, but he is aiming to fill bigger figurative purple and gold shoes than Hibbert's:

"I can be a lot like Pau Gasol... He's a guy who has good touch around the basket and is a very good passer. He can dribble the ball. He's even stepping out and shooting 3's. I hope I can get there too. He's a winner and won championships. I can do that, too."

Poeltl referencing Gasol is fitting, because while the Lakers tried to fill the gap left by his departure with various players the last two years, the Big Spaniard was the last great player the team has had manning the pivot.

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PostPosted: Sat May 14, 2016 10:23 pm    Post subject:

Mitch Kupchak wants Lakers to play ‘exciting basketball’ next season
by Gary Kester - lakersoutsiders.com

Los Angeles Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak has kept himself plenty busy since the team’s worst season in franchise history reached its conclusion on a bright note with Kobe Bryant tallying another 60-point performance for the road.

Since then, the Lakers replaced Byron Scott with Luke Walton as their 26th head coach in franchise history and have started their preparation for the 2016 NBA Draft.

Their entire draft situation is yet to be determined. The Lakers will have to wait until Tuesday’s NBA Draft Lottery for that to unfold, but that has not stopped them from exploring all of their options anyways. Los Angeles has interviewed some of the top candidates in this year’s draft class and scheduled workouts with a few players projected to be available at the very end or even after the draft.

Either way, the Lakers will, barring a trade, add another young player to the roster with the No. 32 pick in the draft. If they are lucky, they can bring in a top-three pick along with it.

The draft combined with free agency in July will be major resources the Lakers hope to take advantage of in an effort to improve a roster that won just 17 games this season. Adding more talent for Walton is Kupchak’s top priority this summer, but he has expectations for the team next season that go beyond any stat sheet or win column.

In an interview with Chris McGee from Time Warner Cable SportsNet, Kupchak stated that he wants the Lakers to play an exciting brand of basketball in their 2016-17 campaign.

“I’d like to get to the point where our team plays exciting basketball,” Kupchak said. “A lot depends on the players that we bring in this summer, if we are lucky enough to bring in players.”

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PostPosted: Sat May 14, 2016 10:25 pm    Post subject:

Should the Lakers keep or trade their first round pick if they keep it?
by sbnation.com

If Los Angeles gets some lottery luck, what should they do?

The Los Angeles Lakers still have to wait an agonizing few more days before finding out if they will get to keep or retain their pick in the 2016 NBA Draft Lottery on Tuesday. The Lakers have a 55.8 percent chance to keep the pick, but if it falls out of the top-three selections in the lottery it will be conveyed to the Philadelphia 76ers.

This is getting a little ahead of ourselves, but I (Harrison Faigen) decided to ask our motley crew of writers what they think the Lakers should do if the team is fortunate enough to keep the pick as a reward for their worst season ever. Their thoughts varied.

If the Lakers keep their pick, would you keep it or trade it? Why?

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PostPosted: Sat May 14, 2016 10:27 pm    Post subject:

D'Angelo Russell working on post-up skills (video)
by Harrison Faigen - silverscreenandroll.com

Los Angeles' young guard has wasted no time getting back to working on his game.

The Los Angeles Lakers' young roster seems to be ignoring the "off" part of the word offseason. The team may have finished well short of its preseason goal of nabbing a playoff spot, but some of their most promising players are not using that as an excuse to skip putting in work.

Jordan Clarkson, Larry Nance, Jr., and Anthony Brown have all been posting on social media about their offseason workouts, a habit D'Angelo Russell has taken part in as well. The Lakers hope the 20-year old can be their franchises' point guard of the future, and Russell seems to be taking that responsibility to heart with how early he has gotten back in the gym.

Russell has been spending time in recent days working out with trainer Robbie Haught at the Cleveland Basketball School, and judging by a video posted on Haught's Instagram, he appears to be focusing on sharpening his post-up skills:

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PostPosted: Mon May 16, 2016 6:37 am    Post subject:

Lakers Will Face Big Decisions If They Keep Their Draft Pick
by Trevor Lane - lakersnation.com

The Los Angeles Lakers are anxiously awaiting Tuesday’s draft lottery, where they will learn whether or not they will have a first-round pick in the 2016 NBA Draft. Thanks to the ill-fated Steve Nash trade the team will have to send their 2016 pick to the Philadelphia 76ers if it falls outside of the top three.

Due to the NBA’s lottery system, the Lakers will have just a 55.8 percent chance of keeping their pick in spite of the fact that they finished the season with the second-worst record in the league.

Recently we took a look at some of the positives if the Lakers lose their pick this season (there are some, I swear). Now, with the draft lottery nearly upon us, it’s time to imagine the possibilities should the Lakers indeed keep their pick.

The team will be looking to do one of two things with the selection: Select a player they hope can be a building block for the future or trade it for an already-established player.

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PostPosted: Mon May 16, 2016 6:38 am    Post subject:

MYSTERIES OF THE DRAFT REMAINED UNSOLVED
by Paul Flannery - sbnation.com

There were two main questions worth asking at the annual pre-draft combine this season. The first was who goes No. 1: Ben Simmons or Brandon Ingram? The other: What happens after that? The combine provided clear answers for neither.

Simmons wasn’t in attendance and several of the top prospects like Ingram, Buddy Hield and Jamal Murray skipped the media portion and were only in town for individual interviews with teams. Dragan Bender and other international players were not able to come to the event because their teams are still playing. As has been the case in recent years, the combine is as much a central meeting place for teams to conduct interviews, agents to make their rounds and reporters to work the after-hours hotel lobby scene as it is a venue for talent appraisal.

On the first question, opinion was mostly divided between the long and smooth Ingram and the multi-dimensional Simmons. Interestingly, those who felt there wasn’t much of a choice at all leaned Ingram, while those who viewed it as a toss-up nodded toward Simmons. Still, most felt it was close. As one talent evaluator put it, "It’s one of those where you get in a room and debate."

Ingram is the better shooter, by far. He’s longer and seems likely to grow into his ultra-thin frame. (How could he not?) He played well in several big games and played even better down the stretch of the season when Duke made its annual postseason push in what was arguably the country’s best conference. At 18, he’s also younger than Simmons by more than a year and is also one of the youngest prospects in the entire draft. One can look at Ingram and visualize all kinds of special things in the future.

Simmons has been defined as much by what he can’t do in recent months as by all the positive things that he has shown. He’s not a good outside shooter and he’s not that long, which admittedly are two very important things in today’s game. The most troubling aspect of the Simmons report is that his LSU team cratered down the stretch, failing to make the tournament despite playing in a less-than-stellar SEC.

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PostPosted: Mon May 16, 2016 6:41 am    Post subject:

Why The Lakers Should Draft Buddy Hield
by lakersoutsiders.com

Before I dive into one of my hotter takes in recent memory, let’s make a couple things clear as we head into the NBA Draft Lottery, which is just days away.

1. This Draft Lottery, unlike last season, is not a do-or-die situation for the Lakers. The Lakers have a core they can build around with D’Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson, Julius Randle, Larry Nance and, to a lesser extent, Tarik Black and Anthony Brown.

2. This draft, outside of the top two, is very meh. And even the top two prospects in Brandon Ingram and Ben Simmons (in some order) are not world beaters like previous years. While both would be considered top 10 picks in last year’s draft, they would be at the lower end of that range.

3. Should the Lakers lose their pick, not all hope is lost. Sure, last season, in some ways, will feel like a waste, but the Lakers will hold on to their pick in 2017 which will be a much deeper and more talented draft than this year’s. And most importantly, the pick will have no protections or stipulations on it, so there will be no sweating out lottery nights.

Now that we have that out of the way, let’s imagine that the Lakers do maintain their pick, but slide down one spot to the third pick. At this point, it’s assumed that Ingram and Simmons will go 1-2 in some order. Not even the 76ers could mess that up.

From there, things get interesting, and not necessarily in a good way. There is a steep drop-off to the next level of prospects, which includes the likes Dragan Bender, Kris Dunn, Jaylen Brown and Jamal Murray. However, the one name I’ve left out of that group is the one that is a divisive prospect, but one I think the Lakers should be leaning toward drafting.

Buddy Hield.

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PostPosted: Mon May 16, 2016 6:42 am    Post subject:

NBA Draft Combine 2016: Most Impressive Measurements from Chicago
by Chris Roling - bleacherreport.com

Over the years, the NFL and NBA drafts have helped sensationalize measurement numbers to an almost silly degree.

It's like mock drafts, though—every number has its value when viewed through the proper lens.

With this theme in mind, the 2016 NBA Draft Combine provided some important lessons on key prospects. With plenty of game film available, nailing down official numbers to go with the film gives organizations some finality to help the grading process.

Below, let's take a look at the combine's most impressive measurements.

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PostPosted: Mon May 16, 2016 6:45 am    Post subject:

Lakers Interview Seven-Footer Thon Maker
by Ryan Ward - lakersnation.com

At this point, the Los Angeles Lakers are entirely focused on May 17 when the team will learn its fate during the NBA Draft Lottery. Once the order of the top three picks in the upcoming draft are determined on Tuesday, the Lakers brass will figure out where to go from there, including what their intentions may be with their second-round pick.

One player the Lakers could consider selecting with the 32nd pick overall is seven-footer Thon Maker. Apparently, Los Angeles has already met with the 19-year-old along with quite a few other NBA teams, according to Adam Zagoria


 of SNY.tv:

He will work out next week for the Indiana Pacers (likely on Wednesday), while Atlanta, Boston, Orlando, Detroit and Minnesota are expected to bring him in for workouts, a source told SNY.tv. He met here with Minnesota, Boston, Charlotte, Portland, Oklahoma City, San Antonio, Detroit, Orlando and the Lakers.

Maker has been tabbed a second-round pick in most NBA mock drafts. However, MyNBADraft.com has him being taken in the late first round. Maker’s draft position will likely continue to fluctuate in the coming weeks following workouts and evaluations from teams around the league.

Maker is an interesting case due to the fact the league has made an exception for him to enter the NBA Draft, via ESPN’s Chad Ford:

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PostPosted: Mon May 16, 2016 6:47 am    Post subject:

Lakers interview Melo Trimble at pre-draft combine
by Harrison Faigen - silverscreenandroll.com

The Maryland sophomore may not stay in the draft, however.

The Los Angeles Lakers have seemingly interviewed just about every teenager who has ever played basketball draft-eligible player at this point, even if that's not exactly true. Mitch Kupchak and the front office added one more name to their NBA pre-draft combine dance card, as the team interviewed sophomore point guard Melo Trimble over the weekend, according to Adam Zagoria of SNY.

The team has said they are preparing for the draft as if they won't have a first-round pick, and getting familiar with Trimble certainly fits that line of thinking. Draft Express ranks the Maryland sophomore as the 76th best player in the draft, so he could be a candidate for the Lakers' summer league team and a possible training camp invite.

That may not be good enough for Trimble, however, as he told Zagoria that if his stock isn't quite where he hopes it will be, he could still withdraw from the draft:

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