The 2017 NBA Draft is just a few days away, and the NBA rumor mill is churning at full speed. It’s delightful.
Somewhat lost in the Paul George / Jimmy Butler / Cleveland Cavaliers nonsense, ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne reported that Lakers are looking for another first round pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. Chad Ford would later add to this report, claiming the Lakers are targeting Luke Kennard, or Zach Collins, and are looking for a top-12 pick.
Sounds like Lakers are dangling D’Angelo Russell in effort to get another Top 12 pick. Luke Kennard & Zach Collins appear to be targets https://t.co/2NPeEKX4SM
— Chad Ford (@chadfordinsider) June 20, 2017
The Sacramento Kings hold the #5 and #10 picks in the 2017 NBA Draft, and most pundits would agree that, at this point, the Kings are targeting Kentucky point guard De’Aaron Fox with the #5 pick, and there is no real consensus for the #10 pick. Prior to Russell’s availability, the doomsday scenario for Sacramento was that they could walk away from the draft without a young point guard if Fox sneaks into the top-4, and the rest of the elite PG prospects are gone by #10, or Vlade Divac isn’t a fan of whichever PG is left available.
I’m not the biggest D’Angelo Russell believer, but he’s only 20-years-old, and averaged 15.6 points, 4.8 assists, and 3.5 rebounds on .405 shooting from the field, and .352 shooting from three in 28.7 minutes last season. Despite some mildly annoying off-court shenanigans, Russell is still an excellent prospect. Of course, his availability can be viewed as a red flag to some degree, but if the Lakers are drafting Lonzo Ball, trading Russell makes some sense.
You could safely argue that Russell for #10 is a move the Kings should make regardless of what they do at #5. The likelihood of whoever the Kings land at #10 matching Russell’s production is no given, but if Sacramento finds themselves in a situation where they land Jayson Tatum or Josh Jackson with the #5 pick, acquiring a young guard like Russell for the #10 pick is an excellent option to have. If nothing else, it’s a great option to have on draft night.
Shelburne reported that the Lakers are already talking about something with two lottery teams, so make of that what you will. The Kings desperately need a point guard, and they have a pick that would virtually guarantee the Lakers Collins or Kennard, so the dots are easy to connect here. If the Kings haven’t called the Lakers on Russell, they should.