Lakers Lineups & Cap Space for 3 Scenarios With No. 4 Pick in NBA Draft

Lakers NBA Draft Scenarios

Getty Los Angeles Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka looks on before the team’s preseason game against the Sacramento Kings.

With a number of directions to go having landed the fourth pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, the Los Angeles Lakers now need to decide which path to take. There are a number of intriguing prospects available and while they lost on out Zion Williamson, they could strike gold on a different top draft pick. A trade for Anthony Davis has been highly publicized for some time now and adding the fourth overall pick in the draft helps sweeten the pot for the Lakers offer.

So just which direction will the Lakers take their fourth pick?


Scenario 1: Lakers Draft Jarrett Culver

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The Lakers need shooting but also want to keep their cap flexibility open in order to sign another max free agent. Thankfully, picking at the fourth spot, their ability to go out and sign a max player isn’t impacted even if they decide to take someone with the fourth overall pick. With the rookie scale set to pay the fourth pick out just a shave over $5 million, the Lakers could still sign a max free agent and add a few other pieces as well before dipping into the luxury tax.

PG: Lonzo Ball
SG: Brandon Ingram
SF: LeBron James
PF: Kyle Kuzma
C: Moritz Wagner

Bench: Jarrett Culver, Josh Hart, Isaac Bonga
Cap Space: $37,069,396

The Lakers simply have too many starting-caliber wings right now and even if they signed Culver, he would likely ride the bench behind Ingram, who slides down from his original forward position to play alongside James and Kuzma. While the Lakers hope he develops into much more, off the bat he could be effectively deployed as a combo guard off the bench, helping spell Ball and Ingram. With solid defensive chops as well, Culver is the type of prospect who can step in and contribute from day one.


Scenario 2: Lakers Draft Darius Garland

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While Jarrett Culver projects to be a bit more of a two-way talent, Darius Garland could be the option if the Lakers want to go for pure offense here. A deadly pull up shooter from three, Garland was talented enough in his limited showing at Vanderbilt to cement himself as a top-five pick in most NBA mock drafts.

PG: Lonzo Ball
SG: Brandon Ingram
SF: LeBron James
PF: Kyle Kuzma
C: Moritz Wagner

Bench: Darius Garland, Josh Hart, Isaac Bonga
Cap Space: $37,069,396

Similar to Culver in the sense that he could run at either the point or shooting guard, Garland might take a bit to adjust to playing the shooting guard at the NBA level. Lacking ideal height at 6’3″, Garland probably won’t ever develop into an elite defender. However, he can make an impact shooting the ball immediately and looks to at least be competent enough to start out in a small, regular role off the bench. If Garland’s shooting translates over to the NBA level, especially on a team with playmakers like James and Ball, look out.

There won’t be any perfect prospects on the board for the Lakers at four and outside of Zion Williamson and no other players look ready to step into an immediate starting role except for MAYBE Ja Morant/RJ Barrett. At four, the Lakers simply need to pick the best long term fit for the franchise.


Scenario 3: Lakers Trade No. 4 pick for Anthony Davis

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For this scenario, we’re going to use a hypothetical trade for Anthony Davis. If the Lakers wanted to try and get the deal done prior to the NBA draft, it would likely involve Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, Josh Hart, and Moritz Wagner (as well as the fourth pick) in order to match the minimum 80% of Davis’ salary.

PG: Isaac Bonga
SG:
SF: LeBron James
PF: Anthony Davis
C:

Bench: N/A
Cap Space: $42,806,262

As you can see, the trade scenario leaves the Lakers roster about as stripped down as possible. With only Isaac Bonga under contract for 2019-2020, the Lakers would have a decent amount of money to play within the free agent market. Seeing as they don’t own a second round pick, any additions would have to be made in free agency.

The Lakers actually would have the money to go out and get another max contract player, however, would have almost no money to fill out a roster around their stars. Ideally, in this situation the Lakers would use their cap space to go out and sign a starting caliber point guard, shooting guard, and center on affordable deals. From there, the Lakers could bolster their bench with remaining cap space as well as potentially entice some older veterans to come ring-chase alongside James and Davis on minimum deals.

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