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Los Angeles Lakers 2014 Draft Preview

June 18, 2014 at 1:57 PM   |   Comments

Here's a good way to put the Los Angeles Lakers' disastrous 2013-14 campaign in perspective - it netted them their first pick inside the top 10 since James Worthy went first overall in 1982.

Sure, the Lakers have had two No. 10 picks - Andrew Bynum in 2005, the team's last lottery pick, and Eddie Jones in 1994 - but none inside the top 10 in 32 years.

The Lakers haven't even had a first-round pick since 2009.

This is an almost complete rebuild as Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Robert Sacre and Kendall Marshall are the only players under contract for next season. Bryant makes a fortune, but the Lakers have cap space to be big players in the free-agent market.

Oh, and the Lakers don't have a coach yet either.

But, armed with such a high draft pick, the Lakers should get an impact player. With such few players under contract, and with two of them old, LA can go in any direction with this pick and the player will fit.

At No. 7, the Lakers won't be in play for Andrew Wiggins, Joel Embiid, Jabari Parker or Dante Exum. Everyone in that next wave should be up for grabs.

That list includes: Julius Randle of Kentucky, Noah Vonleh of Indiana, Arizona's Aaron Gordon, or Marcus Smart of Oklahoma State.

The Lakers can be patient with a project like Vonleh, or Gordon. They can take their time and properly harness the incredible athleticism of either of those forwards.

Or, if the idea is to exploit Bryant's final years, then a more polished player like Randle or Smart, both of whom can come in a contribute right away, makes more sense.

Either way, the Lakers should get an impactful player.

Players Under Contract: G Kobe Bryant; G Steve Nash; C Robert Sacre; G Kendall Marshall

Free Agents: C/F Pau Gasol; F Jordan Hill; C Chris Kaman; G Jodie Meeks; G MarShon Brooks; F Wesley Johnson; G Jordan Farmar; G/F Xavier Henry; G Kent Bazemore; F Ryan Kelly; G Nick Young (player option)

Recent Draft History: 2013:

2012: Robert Sacre (60)

2011: Darius Morris (41), Andrew Goudelock (46), Ater Mojak (58)

2010: Devin Ebanks (43), Derrick Caracter (58)

2009: Toney Douglas (29), Patrick Beverley (42), Chinemelu Elonu (59)

[SportsNetwork.com]

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