The Lakers went into the 2011 NBA Draft without a first-round choice; their first round pick traded to the New Jersey Nets (Sasha Vujacic trade) long before the draft. The purple and gold’s mission was to select players that could help, add depth in the backcourt and productivity to the bench. So called experts thought that the Lakers would package their four picks to move up in the draft. The Lakers stood pat and still accomplished the mission.
As usual, there were several draft day trade rumors, turns out that they were just rumors. A minor trade or two prior to the season would not be a total surprise. Armed with four second-round picks the Lakers were in search of a point guard, a scorer and a much-needed shooter. The plan was to receive immediate help with 41st and 46th picks and stash the 56th and 58th picks in Europe for further development. The plan worked to perfection and the Lakers had a solid draft.
#41 PG Darius Morris – Michigan 6’5” 190 lbs.
As a pure point guard, Morris fills a big need for the Lakers. Morris’ three best traits are his ball handling, court vision and his ability to defend. Morris is a strong leader on the floor and at 6’5”, he has excellent size for the position, he can create and exploit mismatches. Morris is a good athlete, solid defender with long arms and a 6-8’ wingspan.
The L.A. native was an All-Big 10 third team selection as a sophomore after a season averaging 15.0 points, 6.7 assists & 4.0 rebounds. Morris’ production increased in his second year. Darius led the Big 10 and ranked fifth in the entire country in assists, setting a Wolverines school record for assists in a season (235).
Morris is a playmaker that does a good job of recognizing what the defense gives him and most importantly makes his teammates better. Morris is a good shooter, but he does not have three-point range yet. All of the Lakers bigs have soft hands with Morris’ court vision and playmaking skills make him a great fit and potentially the steal of the draft.
#46 PG/SG Andrew Goudelock – College of Charleston 6’3” 198 lbs.
Goudelock is an excellent shooter with tremendous range. A better description of him would be to call him a scorer. Andrew Goudelock might remind some of Nick Van Excel; a combo-guard that can score in catch and shoot scenarios as well as off the dribble. He was a productive college player that some scouts considered too small for the shooting guard position.
You can make the argument that size in overrated. The optimum size for a shooting guard is 6’5”, although several undersized two guards have had success in the league such as Allen Iverson, Monta Ellis, Jason Terry and Eric Gordon. The fact that several scouts underrated Andrew will help to fuel his fire and the Lakers will be the beneficiaries. Goudelock is a confident four-year starter who has had success facing several defenses. Goudelock is a well-rounded player that can score in a variety of ways he has also faced several double-teams and led his team in assists for four years.
Goudelock finished his college career as one of the most productive scorers in Division I history, ranking 39th all-time with 2, 571 points. Scoring over 2,500 points is no easy feat only 62 players have ever done it. He broke the all-time Cougars scoring record, held by Ken Gustafson, which stood for 35 years. Goudelock earned Southern Conference Player of the Year award as a senior after averaging 23.7 points, 4.2 assists, shooting 82.1-percent from the free throw line and 41-percent from behind the arc.
#56 PF Chukwudiebere Maduabum 6’9” 210 lbs. Bakersfield Jam (D-League)
L.A. traded his draft rights to the Denver Nuggets for a future second-round pick.
#58 C Ater Majok 6’ 10” 225 lbs. Austrailia
He will continue to develop overseas
Perimeter shooting was a weakness for the Lakers all season. It was a major reason for the Lakers brief run in the playoffs, but it also put the need to have a guy that can consistently knock down a jumper from behind the arc on full display. Coincidentally, the Mavericks rode the deep ball to a championship. In the last three games of the series, the Mavericks won by 22 points, and outscored the Heat by 33 from behind the arc.
Having a point guard that can run the offense, create a shot for himself or his teammates is an entity that the Lakers have not had in a while. An excellent shooter with tremendous range to space the floor is another commodity in demand in purple and gold. The Lakers selected two ball-handling guards. Fans of a team with championship aspirations might not be that excited about two second-round picks. Even if said fans were to temper their expectations, one would have to surmise that these two young developing players are good fits for the Lakers. Both players fill a need, their next task is to make the team.