Los Angeles Lakers Can Add to Historic Big-Man Lineage with No. 2 Pick

Being the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft is at once a blessing and a curse. As Bleacher Report's Howard Beck put it, "To be No. 1 is to be labeled a can't-miss star, a superstar, a savior. Expectations are astronomical, and patience is rare."

The same could be said of those snapped up at No. 2. The recent history of that slot reads like a graveyard of prospects who underperformed. For every Kevin Durant or LaMarcus Aldridge, there's a slew of Stromile Swifts, Marvin Williamses, Hasheem Thabeets and Darko Milicics.

This year's No. 2 pick—presumably, whichever of the two between Duke's Jahlil Okafor and Kentucky's Karl-Anthony Towns the Minnesota Timberwolves don't take first overall—will have to contend with another daunting label from Day 1: that of the next great center to wear purple and gold.


One Pick, Two Options

Okafor and Towns both appear to be well-equipped for the cause.

Okafor followed up a decorated high school career at Whitney Young in Chicago with a spectacular freshman year in Durham. He averaged 17.3 points, 8.5 rebounds and 1.4 blocks as the centerpiece of a Blue Devils squad that claimed coach Mike Krzyzewski's fifth national championship.

Okafor's efforts earned him honors as the ACC Player of the Year and a consensus first-team All-American—not to mention his likely spot at or near the top of his draft class.

Beyond the accolades and productivity, what separates Okafor from the rest are the low-post skills—the fancy footwork, brilliant use of his bulky body, moves and counters, and soft touch—that he honed over countless hours of study and practice with his father.

"He's had that for years," a scout told Bleacher Report earlier this season. "You never see a big guy with the footwork and the hands and the moves, the post moves, that he has. There's a lack of guys with post moves in the NBA...

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