NBA Rumors: Do the Draft and Free Agency Really Matter for the L.A. Lakers?

The Los Angeles Lakers' media and fans have joined into the free agency and draft frenzy after polishing up NBA championship number 16 and carefully stowing it away in the trophy case.

We are not yet a week removed from the Lakers' dramatic come from behind victory over the Boston Celtics in Game Seven of the NBA Finals, but already our thoughts turn to improving the roster for next season.

The Lakers hold the 43rd and 58th picks in Thursday's upcoming draft, and there are a few reasons why I'm not excited by those two picks.

The glut of underclassmen rushing for the NBA has made it nearly impossible to discern which player is truly NBA ready and this is hard enough to do with the top first round picks, let alone late second rounders.

The talent has been so watered down that any choice is a crap-shoot, and a 43rd or 58th selected player is more likely to end up in the developmental league than on the Lakers' bench.

Any player the Lakers select will be a project, and will not likely provide significant help in Los Angeles' ultimate goal of a three-peat.

Since a three-peat is the goal the core needs to remain intact. The Lakers have a realistic shot at playing in at least four more Finals' series and winning a few more championships.

A player taken that late in the draft will not help the Lakers reach that goal, which brings me to the team's possible involvement in free agency with the purpose of upgrading their roster.

One of the most impressive aspects about the Lakers' franchise has been their remarkable consistency. There are only two seasons in which they have failed to qualify for the postseason, and they have played in more than half of all Finals series.

Free agency and the trade system has been historically kind to the Lakers, as the Pau Gasol and Ron Artest deals will attest, but how much better can the team really be?

I will admit Los...

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