Los Angeles Lakers Must Use 2015 NBA Draft to Find Dominant Big Man Again

The Los Angeles Lakers belong to a league that has become increasingly guard-centric in recent years.

But this storied franchise can’t use its No. 2 draft pick on a ball-handling prodigy. Not when one-and-done frontcourt freshmen Jahlil Okafor of Duke and Karl-Anthony Towns of Kentucky are available. 

The Lakers front office must use this golden opportunity to snag a dominant big man who can serve as a tent-pole fixture for the next generation. It is, after all, a franchise with a legacy of size.

In the beginning, there was George Mikan, a pioneer who powered the Minneapolis Lakers through championship runs more than 60 years ago. More recently, there was the highly evolved inside game of Pau Gasol.

And so many more in-between—their jerseys now retired and hanging from the rafters. Names like Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Shaquille O’Neal.

They were giants of the game, and teams were carried upon their shoulders.

The fascination with size isn’t limited to L.A., despite all the talk about open-court methodologies and the changing NBA. The top five picks appear to be trending toward centers and power forwards, as indicated by the most recent mock draft and big board from Bleacher Report’s Jonathan Wasserman.

Okafor met with the Lakers staff for dinner June 8 and worked out for the team the following day. Afterward, general manager Mitch Kupchak referenced the team’s longtime connection to dominant centers during a media session, per Joey Ramirez of Lakers.com: “We have a lot of photos in this building and a lot of those jerseys over there have the names of big men that we’ve retired and had success with.”

The executive also acknowledged the league’s transition toward a smaller philosophy: “You can argue that maybe the way to go is with a guard.”


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