The Lakers have not even completed a month of the 2015-16 season, but both an uncomfortable and familiar question has already emerged. With the Lakers fielding the NBA’s second-worst record, how much effort will the franchise put in retaining its top-3 protected draft pick? “I don’t think about that whatsoever,” Lakers coach Byron Scott said. “I probably won’t until April. That’s something I can’t control.”
The Lakers are in a precarious position. They appear likely bad enough to lose a lot of games. But will they lose enough to land in the top three? Otherwise, the Lakers owe Philadelphia their first-round pick as part of the Steve Nash trade. “It’s impossible to think about the team, try to get our young guys better, the team better and also thinking about a pick,” Scott said. “That’s six months away and you might not even get it.”
And none are stronger than how they feel about the No. 1 player on our Big Board, LSU freshman Ben Simmons. “Anyone that doesn’t have Simmons No. 1 [on their draft board] should be fired,” one longtime GM with a great draft track record told ESPN.com on Monday.
Ben Simmons is going to make some NBA team – maybe the Celtics but definitely not the Knicks or Nets – very happy sooner rather than later. Think Lamar Odom pre-Kardashian with the size and skill set to play and defend all five positions like the Warriors’ Draymond Green. He’s the prototype point forward who is unselfish to a fault and good enough to be making a contribution in the NBA right now. “He’s a very unique player,” says Marquette head coach Steve Wojciechowski. “Because of his size, athleticism and his ability to handle the ball he is unique.”