Lakers Rumors: Buzz on Jahlil Okafor and Emmanuel Mudiay

If Los Angeles Lakers fans were hoping the calendar turning from January to February would bring some sort of relief in this trying campaign, they were sorely mistaken. 

The Lakers went 3-12 in January, kicked off February with a dreadful 80-92 loss to the New York Knicks and have yet to win in the year's shortest month. These are indeed dark times in the Lakers' normally bright, 72-and-sunny Southern California existence.

So perhaps it's no wonder the latest buzz surrounding this woeful franchise concerns the far-off 2015 NBA draft, a source of hope for Lakers fans desperate for signs of a brighter future.

At this point, Los Angeles looks likely to keep its first-round pick (if the team finishes out of the bottom five, the pick goes to Phoenix as a result of the Steve Nash trade). 

The Lakers fall into the category of teams whose overall draft edict might very well be "don't think, just take the best player available." Then again, the Lakers have some issues that are bigger than others, so it might not be all that surprising whom the team apparently has at the top of its draft board.

ESPN Insider's Chad Ford noted that Duke freshman sensation Jahlil Okafor and 18-year-old point guard phenom Emmanuel Mudiay are reportedly one and two on the Lakers' draft board:

If they finish with the worst record in the league, Okafor is a slam dunk for them. Their best and only big man is Jordan Hill, and he's a far cry from Okafor. For a team that has a long legacy of elite big men -- from Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to Shaquille O'Neal to Andrew Bynum (OK, not so much Bynum) -- the Lakers would love to have a young front line of Okafor and Julius Randle. Okafor's closest competition I'm told is Mudiay, but it's not that close right now.

It's not hard to see why the 6'11", 270-pound Okafor appears to be the consensus top choice at this early stage of draft speculation. The 19-...

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