The Los Angeles Lakers had a busy 2015 NBA Draft. With the second pick in the draft, the Lakers selected talented freshman guard D’Angelo Russell. The pick was surprising, not because Russell isn’t worthy of the selection, it was primarily because the Lakers needed a center and Jahlil Okafor was on the board.
The Lakers took Larry Nance Jr. with the 27th pick in the first round. This pick was definitely surprising as many mock drafts had Nance Jr. going late in the second round or undrafted. Nance is a terrific athlete and he is capable of defending both forward spots.
What made the Nance selection strange is that the Lakers could’ve gotten him with their 34th pick, which they used to land Anthony Brown. At Stanford the last two seasons, he shot above 44% from three-point range. He is also a versatile defender that can defend both wing spots.
There’s one player that they will regret not selecting, Norman Powell. Powell was selected with the 46th pick by the Milwaukee Bucks. He was traded to the Toronto Raptors in the Greivis Vasquez deal that day. I know people are probably thinking, “Why would the Lakers take him that early?” It’s simple, Powell was seen as a late first round/early second round prospect. Inexplicably, the 6-foot-4 guard out of UCLA fell down, similarly to teammate Kevon Looney.
Powell has the speed and strength to be a lock-down defender. He is also terrific at finishing around the basket as he is an elite athlete. In the Summer League, Powell was one of the best players. He was second among rookies in scoring, putting up 18.3 points.
If Powell improves his shooting consistency, he can be a great second round player. One thing is for sure: the Lakers won’t be the only team that will regret passing up on Powell.