Lakers’ 2015 NBA Draft Pick Will Define Franchise Direction for Next 10 Years

Basic logic would have the Los Angeles Lakers securing Jahlil Okafor with their No. 2 selection on draft night and living happily ever after—or at least for the next decade. Okafor is a dominant offensive force, the kind of classic paint monster that a front office can build around with ease.

But how does one divine a team’s future when the moving parts are gathering power like an encroaching storm?

A Monday trade rumor from ESPN’s Marc Stein concerned three teams with picks in the top six and featured Sacramento Kings star DeMarcus Cousins: “Sources say that the Lakers, Kings and Orlando Magic have had exploratory dialogue on a three-way Cousins trade that would land the 24-year-old in Los Angeles.”

Declarations to the contrary soon ensued, with the Orlando Sentinel’s Brian K. Schmitz tweeting that, according to league sources, the “Magic are not part of [the] proposed 3-way trade.”

Casting further doubt on the blockbuster rumor was the response from Kings owner Vivek Ranadive, per Sam Amick of USA Today: “We have zero interest in moving Cousins, so I don't know where that's coming from.”

Ranadive's assertion was further reinforced by team executive Vlade Divac, per Ailene Voisin of the Sacramento Bee.

The various protests haven’t managed to tamp down the spin cycle, but a future franchise direction can’t be defined by trade theories that seem to change like clockwork.

Instead, we now return you to your regularly scheduled programming and a Lakers reality grounded in a simple and easy-to-grasp concept—the welcoming of an NCAA champion from Duke.

Okafor equals the easily definable, a classic back-to-the-basket center with a high basketball IQ and a low-post game that’s ridiculously polished for a 19-year-old. 

And, the tradition of dominant pu...

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