Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka have seemed to hit their stride when it comes to the NBA Draft. Last year they got two steals late in draft snagging All-Rookie team member Kyle Kuzma and Josh Hart. This year, they’ve seemed to hit the nail on the head again, tackling some of the Lakers roster needs.
The biggest need for the Los Angeles Lakers was outside shooting. They were one of the worst three-point shooting teams last season ranked second to last in three-point percentage. With the 25th pick in the first round, they got a guy who can stretch the floor at the forward position. Moritz Wagner was a do it all guy for Michigan and led them to the 2017 NCAA National Title Game. He’s a guy who brings energy and tenacity to the court. Wagner’s toughness and versatility stood out but there were some others aspects to his game as well that spark interest by Pelinka and Lakers management (via ESPN.com):
“The game, as you know, requires bigs that can spread the floor. What we noticed in all the games we went to in person is, he is a tremendous passer and great screener in pick-and-roll situations, coached by John Beilein, who is a terrific coach. And Luke felt that when we had him in our building that he had off-the-charts basketball IQ. Magic had to get over a Spartan drafting a Wolverine but once we got over that, he was our guy.” – Rob Pelinka
Things got even more exciting with the 47th pick in the draft. Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk slid right into the Lakers arms and he’s exactly what the doctor ordered. He’s a shooter’s shooter and arguably the best shooter in the draft. In his senior season, Mykhailiuk broke the Kansas single-season record for made threes making 115 while also shooting 44%. As a true spacer, he’s a superb catch-and-shoot guy and does a great job at moving without the ball as well. Mykhailiuk also has the ability to put the ball on the floor when necessary. With a 6’8 frame, he brings a lot to the table with his mobility and ability to spread the floor.
Other additions to the team were Isaac Bonga, Joel Berry II, and Malik Newman. The Lakers added more depth at the guard position and a point-forward in Bonga that likes to get out in the open court and share the ball.
They might not have added the big name that many people look for but they did fulfill some needs, mainly behind the three-point line. With so much depth at the power forward position, I’m curious to see how Luke Walton will handle the lineups in the upcoming season. However, I believe the Lakers should be pleased with the choices they made in the draft. With so many slashers in Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, and Julius Randle it’s nice to have more pieces to stretch the floor outside of Kyle Kuzma.