We’re nearly there, Laker fans.
With only 8 games left in the 2014-15 season, the purple and gold are inching closer and closer to the NBA Draft in June.
Of course, first they’ll have to make it past May’s draft lottery, but it looks like they’ll hang onto their own first-round draft pick if things stay the same.
Right now, the Lakers have the fourth-worst record in the league. If they end the season in fourth, they’ll have an 82.8 percent chance of holding onto their pick on lottery night.
And the guy they’d draft if they stay at #4? Ohio State’s D’Angelo Russell, according to Chad Ford’s latest mock draft.
Russell has been at four for a while now, and he could be a real option for the Lakers on draft night if they stay at their projected position.
Of course, Jordan Clarkson’s emergence this season might make the Lakers think twice about taking another guard so high in the lottery, but you probably have to take the best available player on the draft board.
While Clarkson has excelled at the point guard position this season, he’s also played well alongside Jeremy Lin, so it’s not hard to imagine a scenario where the Lakers’ backcourt features both Clarkson and Russell at some point down the line.
And, if worse comes to worse, the Lakers would have a trade asset in Russell.
STATS: 19.3 points, 5.7 rebounds, 5.0 assists, 1.6 steals, 33.9 minutes, 41% from three
The Lakers also own a late first-round pick this season thanks to the Jeremy Lin trade with the Houston Rockets.
Right now, Wisconsin’s Nigel Hayes is at 27 on Ford’s latest mock draft. Yes, the same Nigel Hayes who played at Staples Center last weekend and went nuts after getting Kobe Bryant’s locker.
Hayes’ rise up the draft boards has been kind of surprising, though the entertaining sophomore has performed well for the Badgers during their Final Four run.
STATS: 12.4 points, 6.3 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 0.9 steals, 32.7 minutes, 38% from three
If things stay as they are now, the Lakers will keep their own second-round pick this season. The pick is owed to the Orlando Magic, but is protected from 31 through 40.
Ford’s latest mock draft has the Lakers selecting Demetrius Jackson at 34, a 6’1″ point guard from Notre Dame.
STATS: 12.4 points, 3.6 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 1.6 steals, 34.7 minutes, 42% from three
If you’re interested, you can check out Draft Express’ latest mock draft here, which has the Lakers taking two different players to Ford’s mock.