Forced to re-evaluate their NBA draft options after an exciting lottery that saw them jump a league-best seven spots, the Lakers are looking at an entirely different crop of prospects. With names like DeAndre Hunter, Darius Garland, and Jarrett Culver now all (likely) readily available on the board at four, the Lakers are in a much better position to help rebuild the franchise around LeBron James.
Lakers NBA Draft: DeAndre Hunter Among Top Options With No. 4 Pick
Profiling as an elite NBA defender with a quality three-point shot, DeAndre Hunter checks most of the boxes the Lakers are looking for in a potential prospect. He traditionally plays at a position that is a bit of a logjam with the Lakers but Hunter looks to be able to slide down and play shooting guard given his athleticism. While it isn’t a perfect fit, the Lakers need three-point shooters and defense, both of which Hunter has in spades.
If Hunter’s three-point shooting and defensive upside translate over to the NBA, he will be well worth the fourth overall pick. A good enough shooter to confidently park behind the arc while being able to provide elite defense should go along way on a LeBron-led squad. While the starting lineup is already saturated with young talent, Hunter just might be a perfect fit alongside the playmaker duo of James and Lonzo Ball. If drafted, he could find himself playing into a starting role rather early on in the year given his skill set.
Lakers NBA Draft: Jarrett Culver and Darius Garland Among Other Options
Should the Lakers decide to look elsewhere at four, a few other options should be on the board. Jarrett Culver out of Texas Tech and Darius Garland from Vanderbilt both help to fill the major shooting void the Lakers must address while projecting to be a long term solution at the guard position.
Culver is a big and athletic two-way guard with the ability to drain shots from deep. While his three-point percentage wasn’t overly impressive at Texas Tech, a lot of that has to do with the system that Tech runs. Without many scorers, Culver was often relied on to create his looks from scratch. Although his shot creation is one of the best aspects of his game, it also hid just how solid of a shooter from deep he was. Often taking contested three-pointers as the shot clock ticked down, Culver could see a huge step forward in that department playing as an off-ball scorer.
Meanwhile, Darius Garland had a brief, but exciting, showcase at Vanderbilt. Undergoing surgery to repair the meniscus in his knee after only five games, Garland showed enough in high school and during his brief stint to still be considered a unanimous top ten (and in most cases top five) prospect in the draft. While he lacks the defensive upside that Culver brings to the table, his shooting looks to be a much surer bet. Garland is the type of player comfortable pulling up from anywhere on the court, something which should come in handy playing alongside LeBron James and Lonzo Ball. While not a Steph Curry in terms of how he can stretch the floor, Garland is the type of player you need to account for at all times and cannot afford to leave sitting wide open.