Jokers to the Right

You might think that once your team is eliminated from the post-season and the Finals seem to be on a drab course of inevitability that you might not have much NBA basketball to be thinking about, but boy would you be wrong. Between speculation on blockbuster trades, potential free agent signings, and, my personal favorite, the draft, I can't get enough. Since I've already given my two cents on why the Lakers should try getting AK/Fisher or Bonzi/JO/Artest (which some rumors actually claim is 2/3 away from happening), I figured it's time weigh in a bit on the Lakers draft situation.

Acie Law IV seems to be the consensus dream pick among Lakers fans, although no one seriously believes he'll still be on the board. The potential of either Thaddeus or Nick Young would be exciting, but they similarly seem to be creeping towards lottery territory. So the challenge seems to be finding someone who's realistically going to available at 19 that has the right mix of proven qualities and tantalizing potential. One prospect I've heard Lakers fans floating around quite a bit that seemed to fit the bill was Rodney Stuckey. DraftExpress has him going 21st and NBADraft has him at 19th. His college numbers were obviously phenomenal, and scouts seem to be sold on them not being the result of merely weak competition. A 6'5" combo guard with range started to sound like a perfect fit for a lot of the Lakers needs. But what finally sold me on the idea was reading what Nate Jones had to relay about him in the Free Darko comments: according to Stuckey's agent, Aaron Goodwin (LeBron's agent pre-Worldwide Wes), "[Stuckey]'s the truth. He's a combo guard like Wade, Billups, and Foye. But he's just not as athletic as Wade, and more of a scorer than Billups."

At that point I was positively giddy about the possibility of getting this kid. What's not to love (other than his supposedly mediocre D and average athleticism)? Then DraftExpress had to go and ruin my fun with the rumor that the Pistons have promised Stuckey at 15. His agent denies it, but supposedly at least one NBA team is claiming that "Stuckey is privately claiming to have received the guarantee." Even if it isn't true that the Pistons have made such a promise, I feel like this at least confirms it's a lot less likely he'll be around at 19 than the draft sites have been speculaing. Just like the other 20 draftees I've been wasting my excitement on.

Anyway, all of this is likely moot because I feel there's a good 60% chance that pick is going to float off to Indiana who, you've been reminded no doubt, don't have a first round pick this year. Other potential happy homes for our pick might be the Suns or the Sonics (neither of whom have a pick in the 3-24 range), who are working out Stuckey indicating the possibility of a move. Even more noteworthy in my view, Portland is working out Javaris Crittinton, who it's safe to say is much more likely to go in the 19 range than either the 1 or 37 vicinity. Does this signal the possibility of Kwame+19th pick for Randolph to anyone else? How I love the draft. The speculation game really is endless, and I'm more than happy to play it, and will likely continue doing so on here for the next couple weeks.

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