4. Jayson Tatum, SF, Duke
Jayson Tatum, who played one year at Duke after being one of the top prospects in the country coming out of Chaminade High School in St. Louis, is widely regarded as one of the top five players in this draft and the Lakers should take a hard look at him.
At 6-foot-8 and 205 pounds, Tatum is the prototypical wing player and his game should translate very well to the NBA. The 7-foot wingspan doesn’t hurt either. He’s often been compared to Jabari Parker and that’s never a bad thing. Tatum isn’t the quickest guy in the world and would need to work on that at the next level. It’s one thing to blow by defenders in college, and he certainly did plenty of that in his lone season in Durham, but that won’t always work in the NBA.
Most 19-year-olds coming into the league aren’t going to be perfect players and while Tatum does also need to improve his ball handling a bit, he does have quite an impressive offensive game. He loves to attack the rim and could do a lot of damage on the pick-and-roll. He shot 62 percent on shots at the rim this past season and has a very good mid-range jumper, which he can get off with ease with his size. He also shot nearly 85 percent from the free-throw line, which is impressive for someone as big as he is. Tatum is also better than average from the 3-point line.
He can put up points — he averaged 20.2 points per 40 minutes — but he’s not the best at creating shots for his teammates and does have a tendency to go rogue every once in a while on the offensive end. Defensively, something the Lakers definitely need help with, Tatum improved as the year went on and can be a handful at times. His length is definitely beneficial here as he can block passing lanes and bother shots but staying consistent on that end can be a small problem. No 19-year-old prospect is going to be perfect and while Tatum can improve in areas, he’s still has way more upside than not and I’m sure the Lakers have noticed that.