2015 NBA Mock Draft: Los Angeles Lakers Select Jahlil Okafor
Los Angeles Lakers Draft Jahlil Okafor
May 20, 2015
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Last season’s disaster was all worth it for the Los Angeles Lakers, who ended up with the second overall pick in the 2015 NBA draft. With Karl-Anthony Towns heading to the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Lakers are going to spend their pick on Jahlil Okafor out of Duke.
Okafor is a big body at 6’11”, 275 pounds and would help the Lakers right away and be one of the key pieces to get this franchise back on track in the future. It’s rare in today’s NBA to find quality big men, and Okafor is just that.
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Okafor is a smart player, has fantastic footwork, is tough to defend in the post and has improved his midrange game in one season of college ball. Okafor still needs to improve his free throw shooting and his post defense, but considering he won’t be 20 years old until December, this kid has a ton of upside and time to become one of the league’s top players.
The Lakers need help at pretty much every position, especially with Kobe Bryant on his last leg and an aging roster that’s going to lose many guys soon to free agency and failing to pickup contracts. The good news is that the Lakers have enough cap space to make a run at somebody like Rajon Rondo or LaMarcus Aldridge during the offseason and they get prized draft pick Julius Randle back from injury.
If the Lakers play things out the right way, they have what it takes to be a sneaky playoff team in the Western Conference next season.
Bryant returns after yet another injury, and he should be healthy and ready to go after constant rehab. Jordan Clarkson has shown promise at the point guard position. Jordan Hill has proven he can be a respectable player, especially if he were to come off the bench. Randle is a good offensive player and somebody who crashes the glass. A free agent pickup and the addition of Okafor all of a sudden turns the Lakers from must-miss TV into a team that could push 40-45 wins or so.
Okafor is the total package with his soft hands, basketball IQ, ability to pass and feel for the game. Not saying the Lakers found their next Shaquille O'Neal, but for the first time since Kobe and Shaq, they’ll have a cornerstone player to build around with the selection of Okafor.