Assuming that they don’t wind up trading the pick to the New Orleans Pelicans for Anthony Davis, the Lakers have the opportunity to add yet another valuable piece to their exciting young core. Jumping up from 11th to the fourth pick during the 2019 NBA lottery, the Lakers have the first pick after what most analysts believe to be a clear cut top three in the draft.
With so many viable options to go off the board with the fourth pick, speculation on what the Lakers are going to do with their draft pick is all over the place. However, one interesting player to note is Darius Garland, a consensus top-five pick. Garland went home from the NBA combine early and hasn’t worked out for teams since, leading for many to believe he received a draft day promise from a top team.
Lakers Appear to Have Made NBA Draft Promise to Darius Garland
Basketball Insider’s Steve Kyler dropped an interesting tweet regarding Garland and seems to have lit a new fire under the draft promise rumors. Kyler seemingly confirms that Garland has been sitting out pre-draft workouts due to a promise and more specifically, names the two leading candidates as the Lakers and Suns.
Kyler takes things a step further when he goes on to say that the teams he has talked to recently all seem to feel that the Lakers offered the promise.
Lakers Roster Outlook With Darius Garland
With Garland added into the mix, the lineups become a bit of a logjam. The Lakers already have two ball-dominant players in point guard Lonzo Ball and point forward LeBron James. Adding Garland (who also needs the ball to be effective) to the equation forces the Lakers to take the ball out of the hands of their best player and most promising young asset.
While Garland’s shooting ability helps make him a good fit on a team desperate for shooting, his arrival also creates a bit of an issue as far as what to do in the backcourt. Lonzo Ball is a true point guard and despite having the size to stick with shooting guards in the NBA, has no real experience (or skill set) playing as an off-ball scorer. Meanwhile, Garland is also a true point guard and doesn’t have the ideal size to play off the ball as a pure shooter.
We already saw last season how curbing young players’ minutes can have a negative impact (Lonzo/Rondo). Creating a timeshare at point guard between the two would likely stunt the growth of both moving forward and put the Lakers in a position where their most valuable trade assets/building blocks never live up to their potential. Add a ball dominant LeBron James to the mix and there are just WAY too many mouths to feed.
If the Lakers decide to draft Garland, don’t be surprised to see them potentially deal off Lonzo Ball, who is still an incredibly valuable trade asset, in order to clear the space for Garland to take the reigns.