The NBA Draft is just days away now and the draft day trade rumors are in full swing. Teams want to trade up, trade down, acquire superstars and dump salaries. Being such a deep draft, draft picks become that much more valuable. The Los Angeles Lakers are one team that has remained adamant about trading the pick if it meant acquiring additional picks and/or a veteran talent.
Possessing the No. 7 pick in this year’s draft is not great but it can certainly draw a very talented prospect. Los Angeles is in need of just about every position besides the shooting guard for now, so the window of draftees is wide open at this point. Numerous prospects have worked out for the Lakers, but only a select few were invited back for a second workout including Elfrid Payton out of the University of Louisiana-Lafayette.
Payton is sort of an unknown in this draft due to his attendance at such a small school compared to many of the other projected lottery picks. However, his tremendous upside on the defensive end has caught the eye of prospects league-wide, especially that of Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak. Defense has been a major deficiency for years now, most notably at the point guard position. Drafting Payton offers an immediate solution to this ongoing issue, so selecting him is a no brainer for a team in the point guard loaded Western Conference. Offensively, though, Payton has some work to do. Shooting is not exactly his forte, but hopefully in time he will be able to develop more of an outside shot.
Luckily, Payton is not projected to go too high in the draft, therefore Los Angeles may be able to explore their options if they in fact decide to go the Payton route. Earlier this week a trade rumor involving the Philadelphia 76ers surfaced which would send Thaddeus Young and the 10th pick to Los Angeles in exchange for the 7th pick. Following through with this trade would be highly beneficial to Los Angeles as they would acquire a solid perimeter-oriented four in Young and still have the ability to select an extremely talented point guard in Payton. This trade would certainly be the team’s best bet for further developing an all-around competitive team before striking it big in free agency next offseason.