Below is the second part of a occasional series with NBA analysts providing their take on the Lakers’ needs heading into the 2015 NBA Draft on June 25. Below is a recent interview with NBA TV analyst Stu Jackson, who helped with the network’s Draft Combine coverage from Chicago earlier this week, including talking to prospects on site.
Knowing the Lakers’ needs, who would you take if they land the No. 1 pick?
Jackson: “I think the four premier players in the draft are Karl Anthony-Towns, Jahlil Okafor, Emmanuel Mudiay and D’Angelo Russell. I think with both of those you have two premier big guys and two premier guards that I would consider All-Star potential.”
So why Anthony-Towns over Okafor?
Jackson: “Karl Anthony-Towns is a little bit taller and longer. He developed his game from the outside in. This guy at a young age started out shooting the ball from the perimeter. It’s only as of late last year in high school and this year at Kentucky where his low post game started to develop. That’s a positive in that his upside is very large. He has the potential both to be an outside and inside player. Also, with Towns, more so than Okafor, he’s got slightly quicker feet and much more speed. When you’re talking about a big that can go out on the perimeter and defend NBA pick-and-rolls, I think that Towns is going to be a little bit more adept at doing that than Okafor.
Now on the flipside, Okafor, the guy has huge hands and soft hands. He catches things like a vacuum. I think he is a far superior low post player at this point. From a low-post standpoint, he’s NBA ready, I think when you put him on the floor. He’s going to score. In terms of their passing ability, I would give the slight edge to Towns. But Okafor is not by any means a bad passer. He can pass out of a double team himself. He’s got some passing skills. I just think Towns is a little bit better. But it’s splitting hairs.”
How would either player complement Julius Randle?
Jackson: “Either guy will complement him in different areas. There’s not a team, regardless of personnel, that doesn’t need a low-post scorer. But as I mentioned, Towns, I think will be able to stretch the floor more. Randle is a little bit like Towns. He’s a better shooter than people give him credit for or that he’s able to showcase in college. But I look at him as somebody who will be able to eventually play in the post, but also stretch the floor for a low-post power forward. That will give the Lakers a huge advantage.