The Lakers are hoping to have a busy summer.
Los Angeles, which enters the offseason after a disappointing 2018-19, will have max cap space as it pursues a second star to pair with LeBron James. The Lakers have already been linked to Kemba Walker and Kyrie Irving and they will also reportedly once again attempt to trade for Pelicans star Anthony Davis.
The Lakers plan to upgrade their roster will begin with the 2019 NBA Draft, where they hold the No. 4 pick after surprisingly jumping up during the lottery.
The 2019 NBA Draft will take place June 20.
Four Lakers options with the 2019 NBA Draft’s No. 4 pick:
Darius Garland, guard, Vanderbilt
Garland has the highest upside of any player who will be available at No. 4 — assuming Zion Williamson, Ja Morant and RJ Barrett are off the board. The 6-2 guard, who tore his meniscus and was limited to just five games at Vanderbilt last season, projects to be a reliable scorer in the NBA. He should be able to create shots for himself as well as his teammates. But Garland is young, 19, and is a ball-dominant guard, and that has the potential to create problems with James’ style of play.
Darius Garland is one of the draft’s shiftiest shot creators thanks to his pull-up game, handle and ability to change speeds/directions on a dime. Full Scouting Video: https://t.co/TWG6yKdaZ2 pic.twitter.com/SzO8msj7v6
— Mike Schmitz (@Mike_Schmitz) June 1, 2019
Jarrett Culver, wing, Texas Tech
Culver, the go-to scorer for the Red Raiders during their run to the national championship game, is arguably the most versatile wing in the draft. At 6-6, he can play with or without the ball, rebounds well for his position and is a willing passer. Yet Culver is an inconsistent shooter — he hit 30.4% of his 3-point attempts at Texas Tech in 2018-19 — which could be an issue at the next level.
🎥 Jarrett Culver talks about his ability as a two-way player, and leading Texas Tech to the NCAA title game. pic.twitter.com/Tp40eSkkZZ
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) June 1, 2019
De’Andre Hunter, wing, Virginia
In theory, Hunter is a perfect player to slot in next to James. He’s a solid 3-point shooter who doesn’t need the ball in his hands and also excels defensively. The 6-7 wing could guard the opposition’s best scorer and, on the other end of the floor, spot up in the corners while James, or someone else, runs the offense. Hunter, however, has a lower ceiling than the other two players on this list and may end up being a reach at four.
A athletic and versatile national champion on both sides of the ball that is 6’7″ with a 7’2″ wingspan 👀. De’Andre Hunter is built for the league
— ACC Digital Network (@theACCDN) June 4, 2019
Trade the pick
The Lakers are “active in trade talks and would be open to” dealing the selection in for “an established veteran who would be more ready” to help them win immediately, according to ESPN, which cited unidentified league sources. This makes sense, as the team may be looking to acquire players who fit with James’ timeline, as opposed to a developmental prospect. The No. 4 pick could be an attractive asset in a package for Davis. Rockets guard Chris Paul and the Grizzlies’ Mike Conley reportedly will be available, as well.