Lakers Rumors: Emmanuel Mudiay Is Perfect Draft Choice to Jump-Start Rebuild

The sales pitch to encourage the Los Angeles Lakers to tank is pretty straightforward. 

Emmanuel Mudiay awaits.

This isn't the offseason, but it is some bizzaro world in which the Lakers figure to have a high first-round pick for the second time in a row. These things happen when the globe prepares for the All-Star Game while the Lakers tout just 13 victories.

The draft is in focus considering general manager Mitch Kupchak and Co. have no true assets to offer via trade at the deadline. Jordan Hill is hurt and Jeremy Lin's contract is a no-go, especially since teams know he will hit free agency this offseason anyway.

All of the above understood, it makes sense that rumblings about the Lakers' draft board are going public. ESPN Insider's Chad Ford provides the first look, which states that Jahlil Okafor out of Duke and Mudiay are the top two names:

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.

To everyone's credit, especially the smart Lakers' fanbase that is enduring a new kind of rebuild, most seem to understand that Okafor is a pipe dream.

As great as an Okafor-Julius Randle tandem would be for years and years, the Blue Devils' star is undoubtedly the top overall pick in the upcoming draft, which at this pace will not belong to the Lakers.

Which is fine, really—the top two names on the board indicate that the front office clearly wants a complement to Randle and a point to dish the rock. They will obtain one through the draft and the other thr...

About the Author