Lakers Holes won't be filled by draft says Kupchack

Lakers Holes won't be filled by draft says Kupchack

Postby Lakers Dynasty 2000 on Thu Jun 26, 2003 10:52 am

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Postby FirstLady on Thu Jun 26, 2003 12:50 pm

LD, you have to register to access any articles at latimes.com, so I've added the article below (chopped up, of course).

*They have the 24th and 32nd picks in the draft, but Kupchak feels their biggest needs can only be dealt with through free agency.

By Tim Brown, Times Staff Writer

If all goes as planned, today's NBA draft will start with a high school player, a Euro child and a college freshman, so imagine how it looks at Nos. 24 and 32, where some of the real doubt lies.

The priority for the Lakers' summer, which will lead into a season that could be the last in Los Angeles for Kobe Bryant and Phil Jackson, among others, is a draft that perhaps won't help any of them in the short term.
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Postby FirstLady on Thu Jun 26, 2003 12:51 pm

As of Wednesday night, the Lakers had no plans to maneuver into the heart of a draft in which only a few of those chosen will have served as many as three years in college, or to trade out of it altogether.

That leaves skinny-armed projects and various other sloped-shouldered options, many of them young, most of them raw, and this for a franchise whose off-season will turn on adding some gray (Gary Payton, P.J. Brown, Juwan Howard, Karl Malone), not green.

"There's a lot of projecting going on," General Manager Mitch Kupchak said. "Nine times out of 10, when you're drafting 24 and 32, you're hoping to get a player who will project down the road as a good player. It's unlikely he'll contribute next year. It's not impossible, but you're trying to project down the road."
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Postby FirstLady on Thu Jun 26, 2003 12:52 pm

The speculation by those who sweat the draft has centered on the Lakers taking a power forward in the first round and a guard in the second, as that is where the organizational needs are. Kupchak said this week, however, that he intended to fill those gaps through free agency.

"I wouldn't categorize it for the [draft] picks," he said.

That being said, Shaquille O'Neal turned 31 a couple months back, Robert Horry had a poor season and hasn't had next year's option exercised, Mark Madsen and Samaki Walker are free agents, and the only power forward the Lakers are sure will be back is Slava Medvedenko.

So, there is some wisdom in long, hard looks at Malick Badiane (6 feet 11, Senegal), Jason Keep (6-11, San Diego), Zaur Pachulia (6-11, Republic of Georgia), Kendrick Perkins (6-11, Texas prep), Sofoklis Schortsanitis (6-10, Greece), and David West (6-9, Xavier) in the first round, then someone smaller — say, Troy Bell (6-1, Boston College), Steve Blake (6-3, Maryland), Carl English (6-5, Hawaii), Travis Hansen (6-6, Brigham Young), Josh Howard (6-6, Wake Forest), Luke Walton (6-9, Arizona) or Mo Williams (6-2, Alabama) — in the second.
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Postby FirstLady on Thu Jun 26, 2003 12:52 pm

They wouldn't mind if Oregon guard Luke Ridnour, with whom they met this week, fell as far as No. 24, though that seems unlikely. A strained abdominal muscle kept Ridnour from pre-draft workouts, but he still figures to go in the top half of the first round.

Kupchak enters the final year of his contract needing to rework a roster that grew thin and tired by spring. Owner Jerry Buss views the summer as so important that he would not allow the Portland Trail Blazers or the Washington Wizards to interview Kupchak about general manager openings.

"It's the usual this time of year," Kupchak said. "The feeling that you get from losing, I think that's fallen aside right now. You're into the work mode of doing what you have to do for the draft. I wouldn't think this year is any different than last year, even though we won. Taking a step back on it, though, I think it's a bigger challenge this year. The draft, they're all kind of the same. But, the big picture is more of a challenge. We have to make some changes that make the team a little bit better."
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Postby FirstLady on Thu Jun 26, 2003 1:01 pm

With the unlikelihood of getting a high draft pic that will give us immediate help to win the championship this coming season, I'm optimistic that a seasoned and HUNGRY veteren or two will do the job!

Come on Mitch, make the right moves that will help us now!
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