NBA Draft Expert’s Notebook: Breaking Down Los Angeles Lakers Best Draft Plans

The Los Angeles Lakers have just one pick, the No. 7 overall selection, in the 2014 NBA draft. And without a definite first-round pick in 2015 (traded to Phoenix, top-five protected) or a tradable player with value on the roster, they have no assets to package together for an attempt to move up.

Unfortunately, all the top prizes in this draft will likely be off the board when the Lakers are on the clock.

But the tier their draft slot falls in should still offer potential franchise cornerstones. These guys won't necessarily be game-changers; rather, they are the necessary building blocks with which teams need to surround their centerpiece and other featured players.

And there's no doubting what strategy or approach the Lakers should take when making their selection. General manager Mitch Kupchak will be operating in best-player-available mode, regardless of position.

Forget about who's NBA-ready or not. No prospect at No. 7 overall is going to single-handedly improve this Lakers' team in 2014-15. 

Assuming Jabari Parker, Joel Embiid, Andrew Wiggins and Dante Exum are off the board, the Lakers will likely be deciding between three or four prospects who offer strong value smack in the middle of the lottery. 


Plan A: Noah Vonleh, Indiana, 6'9.5", PF, Freshman, 18 years old

Nobody offers a better balance of safety and upside than Vonleh. The only question regarding his outlook centers around his developmental timetable.

At 6'9.5" with a 247-pound frame and massive 7'4.25" wingspan, Vonleh has a body built for the NBA's interior, with a go-to skill set in the post to match it. He didn't get to show it off often enough as a freshman, but when given the opportunity, he posed as an option you can dump it into, given his touch with both hands, high release point and polished moves with his back to the rim. 

He act...

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