Lakers draft target: Dereck Lively II
The NBA Draft is fast approaching, as it will be held on Thursday night. The Lakers have the 17th overall pick in the draft, and plenty of options are on the table.
Dereck Lively II is a player that LA should consider with their first-round pick. Lively II is a great rim protector and defender. The 19-year-old center stands at 7-foot-1 and 230 pounds. In his freshman year at Duke, Lively II averaged 5/5/1, shooting 65.8% from the field. He altered many shots, with 2.4 blocks per game.
Who could the Lakers pick in the 2023 NBA Draft?— The Athletic NBA (@TheAthleticNBA) June 21, 2023
They have been consistently linked to five names in recent weeks, per @jovanbuha:
Kobe Bufkin, Dereck Lively II, Jett Howard, Nick Smith Jr. and Noah Clowney.https://t.co/Fd7rqxflBG pic.twitter.com/OBIk6kRfUs
Drafting a center like Lively II would be beneficial for LA. The Lakers lack depth at the center position, forcing LA to run small-ball lineups at times when Anthony Davis was off the floor.
Lively II is an intriguing prospect, as he could play a backup center role and be an impactful defensive player. This would help the Lakers' defense stay afloat with a rim protector, even with Davis off the floor.
Davis and Lively II could also see some minutes in the same lineup. Davis has preferred to play power forward throughout his career but has played a lot of center minutes over the last couple of seasons.
Lively II’s role as a defensive big would give the Lakers a similar tandem to the 2020 season when Davis would be in a lineup with JaVale McGee or Dwight Howard.
Dereck Lively II said he worked out for the Lakers and that the team was “blown away” with his shooting. Attended a bunch of Laker games down the stretch with Klutch reps.— Dan Woike (@DanWoikeSports) June 21, 2023
Lively II has room to grow on offense but projects to be a traditional defensive and rebounding big. He has great athleticism and has shown flashes that he can improve as a three-point shooter.
If the Lakers keep the 17th overall pick and Lively II is available, Rob Pelinka and the front office should consider selecting him.