Los Angeles Lakers
2021 Draft Picks:
Despite injuries to LeBron James and Anthony Davis that marred their season, the Lakers remain a win-now team and will be that way until LeBron retires. When healthy, those two are still among the 10 best talents in the game. But of course, it’s all about the supporting cast, which will likely be drastically changed for a third straight season. The Lakers must make decide on bringing back Dennis Schroder, and Montrezl Harrell has a player option. Additionally, valued reserves Alex Caruso (unrestricted free agent) and Talen Horton-Tucker (restricted free agent) are on the market. Expect the Lakers to be busy on the trade and free-agent fronts this offseason to re-establish themselves as a title contender. In doing so, they could also create a new identity — depending on the incoming players and the skills they’ll bring. The Draft itself probably won’t land instant help unless the Lakers decide to trade their first-round pick in a package deal for a proven player or two.
52.3% — In the playoffs, Davis had an effective field goal percentage of 52.3% on shots from outside the paint, up from 42.0% (ninth worst among 190 players with at least 200 attempts) in the regular season.
In a few years the Lakers’ Draft future will belong to the Pelicans as compensation for Davis, so they’ll need to take advantage of their No. 22 overall pick in 2021. A good name is Ziaire Williams, a 6-foot-8 swingman from Stanford. James is familiar with him; Williams played high school ball with son Bronny James at Sierra Canyon School. Williams, despite being among the top prep players of his class, was hardly an instant smash in his one college season. But there’s room for improvement as he’s 19 and still growing into his body. Plus, his character is through the roof and his basketball instincts are sharp for his age. Williams would immediately go into the Lakers’ player development program for later use.
G: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
G: Kyle Kuzma
F: Anthony Davis
F: LeBron James
G: Alex Caruso (unrestricted)
G: Wesley Matthews (unrestricted)
G: Ben McLemore (unrestricted)
G: Dennis Schroder (unrestricted)
G: Taylor Horton-Tucker (restricted)
F: Kostas Antetokounmpo (restricted)
F: Devontae Cook (restricted)
F: Jared Dudley (unrestricted)
F: Markieff Morris (unrestricted)
F/C: Montrezl Harrell (player option)
C: Andre Drummond (unrestricted)
2020: Jaden McDaniels (28)
— Shaun Powell