Lakers Trade & Free Agency Rumors: Could Los Angeles Draft Andrew Wiggins During NBA Draft 2014?
With the Los Angeles Lakers looking like nothing more than a lottery-bound ball club, experts are starting to believe that general manager Mitch Kupchack should now shift his focus on coming up with a solid plan on NBA Draft Night.
And with the 2014 NBA Draft expected to feature the deepest pools of talent since the legendary 2003 class, Sheridan Hoops stressed that there is no better choice for the Lakers than selecting Kansas Jayhawks stud Andrew Wiggins.
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According to Sheridan Hoops writer Jan Hubbard, the Lakers might have been struggling terribly this year, but the rewards of a losing season should be significant enough to speed up their rebuilding effort.
"It seems quite evident what is going to happen. The Lakers are not going to make the playoffs and will be in the draft lottery. Regardless of how few chances they have in the lottery, they're going to win it," Hubbard said in his article.
Though chances are pretty slim for the Lakers to land the top pick in this summer's draft, Hubbard believed the franchise will be rewarded for being a "pure victim of bad luck." Despite the impending presence of another historic franchise in the Boston Celtics, the Lakers are historically a "luckier" team in draft night negotiations and excellent in rebuilding.
"If you look at the history of the Lakers, however, good luck happens. In 1974, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, playing for Milwaukee at the time, told the Bucks the city did not fit his cultural needs and he wanted be traded to the Knicks or Lakers. He could have easily returned to his birthplace in New York. - The Lakers got him," Hubbard wrote.
"On July 11, 1996, the Lakers traded center Vlade Divac to Charlotte for Bryant, who had been drafted by the Hornets a few weeks earlier. Exactly seven days later, the Lakers signed free agent Shaquille O'Neal and did not have to give up any players," he added.
The Lakers could shift their focus on landing Wiggins over the likes of Jabbari Parker, Dante Exum and Julius Randle. Wiggins, who averaged 15.8 points and 6.3 rebounds this season for the Jayhawks, might have dropped a little bit in the latest draft rankings, but his physical tools and NBA-ready pedigree make solid reasons for him to go to the top of Lakers' wish list, whether at No.1 or within the Top 5.
As Hubbard noted, the Lakers are in a perfect situation to help Bryant finish his career on a high note and lay down the building blocks for the future. With Wiggins looking like more than just an ordinary teenager, the Lakers may be in position for a grand comeback season next year.
"Still, the Lakers have had their share of luck and the situation is perfect for them. As Kobe prepares to play his last few years, Wiggins arrives to carry on the legacy. It's a story made for Hollywood, and the Lakers play only a few miles from there," wrote Hubbard.