NBA Draft Rumors: Mavs-Cavs trade, Nets misplaying Bridges, Lakers targets, more

Mikal Bridges, Brooklyn Nets (Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports)
Mikal Bridges, Brooklyn Nets (Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports) /
3 of 4
Kobe Bufkin (Syndication: Detroit Free Press)
Kobe Bufkin (Syndication: Detroit Free Press) /

NBA Draft rumors: Lakers have list of preferred targets at No. 17

The Los Angeles Lakers are considering multiple options with the No. 17 pick in the NBA Draft, according to Jovan Buha of The Athletic (subscription required). Rob Pelinka and the front office could go in any direction: keep the pick, trade the pick, move up or down the board — it’s all possible.

While the Lakers would likely prefer to add more veteran talent for another postseason run, the team has a list of preferences if the No. 17 pick is ultimately kept in-house. Per Buha, the names most frequently linked to Los Angeles are: Michigan’s Kobe Bufkin, Duke’s Dereck Lively II, Michigan’s Jett Howard, Arkansas’ Nick Smith Jr., and Alabama’s Noah Clowney.

There’s a nice variety there, with the Lakers clearly weighing the advantages and disadvantages of multiple different skill sets. Bufkin and Smith are talented off-guard slashers with defensive upside. Lively is a hulking 7-foot rim protector, while Clowney is a slightly more mobile switch-friendly big. Howard is the elite, full-stop shooter with positional size on the wing.

Howard is the Lakers’ pick in the FanSided mock draft. His ability to space the floor and his advanced offensive instincts make him an easy fit for a team looking to build around Anthony Davis and LeBron James. Plus, Howard is the son of Juwan Howard, LeBron’s former teammate in Miami.