The Los Angeles Lakers were likely hoping they would be in the mix to land one of the draft’s top four prospects, former Kansas Jayhawks’ center Joel Embiid, his former Kansas teammate, forward Andrew Wiggins, former Duke Blue Devils’ forward Jabari Parker or Australian point guard Dante Exum.
Instead the Lakers finished with the sixth-worst record and hold the seventh-overall selection. They will likely choose between prospects like former Oklahoma State Cowboys’ point guard Marcus Smart, former Indiana Hoosiers’ big man Noah Vonleh, former Arizona Wildcats’ forward Aaron Gordon and former Kentucky Wildcat’s power forward Julius Randle, among others.
Yannis Koutroupis of Basketball Insiders believes the Lakers will have a hard time passing on Smart if he is available.
I really think that they’re going to have a hard time passing on Smart if he is still on the board, just based off of the fact that they seem to be interested in competing next year and he can help them the most in that regard. You also have to worry about the mental toughness of a draft pick who is about to play with a psychotic competitor like Kobe Bryant, who is feeling the pressure to make the most of the last couple years of his career. Smart has the mental fortitude to play with Kobe and as a big, strong point guard gives the Lakers a boost where they really need it.
Smart is ranked as the sixth-best prospect in the draft by Jonathan Givony of Draft Express. He averaged 18.0 points, 5.9 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game last season and shot 42.2% from the field, 29.9% from beyond the arc and 72.8% from the charity stripe. Smart measured in at 6’3.25 and 227 lbs. with a wingspan of 6’9.25.