The Los Angeles Lakers are hoping to strike gold once again picking late in the first-round of the NBA draft. According to ESPN, Lakers took Michigan star Moritz Wagner with pick No. 25. Despite taking Wagner a bit high, it could prove to be a solid selection over time.
Fans of the Los Angeles Lakers were hoping for a blockbuster NBA trade bringing Kawhi Leonard to the team.
According to NBA.com, the Lakers tried to engage in trade talks with the San Antonio Spurs, but they were rebuffed on their trade overtures. Instead of getting Kawhi Leonard, those fans were treated to the Los Angeles Lakers going with a versatility in their frontcourt with Moritz Wagner.
Wagner will bring a combination of perimeter shooting, rebounding, and athleticism to the Los Angeles Lakers. Wagner also has a solid post game where he can draw double-teams and pass the basketball out to open shooters when he is in the paint.
While he is not the box office star that Lakers’ fans clamor for, Wagner should have a solid professional career as a rotational player. He does not project to be a starter at this point for the Lakers.
If Moritz Wagner does wind up in the Lakers’ starting lineup next season, it would signal that the rest of their offseason plans did not come to fruition. The Lakers’ offseason plans includes making a run at NBA free agent-to-be LeBron James.
A 3-point threat at 6'11", Moe Wagner projects as a stretch five for the Lakers, who drafted him 25th overall.https://t.co/rQJJANk6gv
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) June 22, 2018
According to USA Today, LeBron James may have narrowed his team choices to the Cleveland Cavaliers and Los Angeles Lakers. LeBron James and Paul George are rumored to be in the Lakers’ plans for the summer.
In the grand scheme of things, the Los Angeles Lakers approached this year’s NBA draft without a pick in the top 10. That definitely altered the Lakers’ strategy. However, the Lakers’ plan is not to win the draft, but free agency. Which is what they are poised to do.
There is a lot of momentum building with LeBron James considering a move from the Cavaliers to the Lakers. If he is joined by any other NBA superstar, the Lakers will return to being NBA title contenders.
What will aid the Los Angeles Lakers is the development of Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, and Brandon Ingram. If the Lakers were to sign both LeBron James and Paul George, they will likely shop Ingram for another proven veteran. Drafting Moritz Wagner allows the Lakers some options this summer.
Moritz Wagner will have a future with the Los Angeles Lakers as a stretch-forward, but he is not the story just yet. The Lakers will now shift their focus to NBA free agency, and in a couple of weeks, they hope to have LeBron James and Paul George in fold.