Los Angeles Lakers Must Target Elite Big Man at Top of the 2015 NBA Draft

If the Los Angeles Lakers do indeed wind up near the top of the draft order on June 25, they would do well to target an elite big man to build around.

Yes, traditional logic dictates choosing the best player available on the board. But a skilled prospect with legitimate size would help solidify an already intriguing frontcourt foundation. It would also make it a lot easier to forgo Jordan Hill’s $9 million option, thus adding considerable buying power during free agency.

After all, this is a team with a plethora of gaps. And with the possibility of four draft picks in all—two in each round—Los Angeles should be able to bolster the roster at multiple positions. 

The Lakers have traditionally built from the inside out—Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Shaquille O’Neal are obvious examples. It is also hard to imagine the most recent championships without the skill of Pau Gasol. Even the acquisition of Dwight Howard was a bold attempt to make another run at greatness.

As for drafting big, Vlade Divac was taken at No. 26 and served the organization admirably before being traded to the Charlotte Hornets for the draft rights to Kobe Bryant. And the injury-plagued Andrew Bynum—the Lakers’ first lottery pick in a decade—was transformed from a raw 17-year-old into an All-Star before he was ultimately sold high to the Philadelphia 76ers as part of the four-team blockbuster that netted Howard.

In other words, even when L.A. doesn't hold onto its talent, it tends to do well along the big-man path. 

Last year, Julius Randle was picked seventh overall but was lost for the season with a broken leg on his opening-night debut. And while Randle doesn’t have elite size at 6'9", his combination of power and offensive instincts will complement the right center next season.

It’s just a matter of findin...

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