Feb 3, 2014; Stillwater, OK, USA; Oklahoma State Cowboys guard Marcus Smart (33) during the game against the Iowa State Cyclones at Gallagher-Iba Arena. Iowa State defeated Oklahoma State 98-97 in triple overtime. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Lakers: Noah Vonleh or Marcus Smart at No. 7?


The NBA draft is rapidly approaching and earlier this week, the Los Angeles Lakers conducted individual workouts at their practice facility in El Segundo.

On Wednesday, the Lakers hosted 12 prospects, highlighted by versatile Indiana forward Noah Vonleh along with Oklahoma State guard Marcus Smart. These individual workouts are designed to measure each prospects ability to compete and handle fatigue in one on one drills and in position drills.

The Lakers have the seventh pick in the draft and with the latest reports by Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times confirming the team will hire a coach with previous experience, it is unknown how the team will approach the draft.

Should they take a player who has more upside in the long run? Or should they draft the best player available, someone who is NBA ready right now?

Here’s a look at two potential prospects the Lakers may pull the trigger on come June 26.

 

Noah Vonleh, 6’10″, 247 lbs, PF

Jan 14, 2014; Bloomington, IN, USA; Indiana Hoosiers forward Noah Vonleh (1) warms up before the game against the Wisconsin Badgers at Assembly Hall. Mandatory Credit: Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

Vonleh is a versatile forward who may end up being a fast riser and not make it to the Lakers at 7. If Mike D’Antoni was still the coach, he would ultimately be the team’s top priority, due to his offensive upside to stretch the floor in a D’Antoni system and hit jump shots out to 3-point range, along with a face up game and inside presence on both ends of the court. Vonleh nearly averaged a double-double as a freshman, posting 11.3 points and 9.0 rebounds per game while shooting 48 percent from 3. ESPN lists his wingspan at 7’5″, which allows him to make up for the fact that he is not an exceptional leaper.

If the Lakers are able to bring back Pau Gasol, or even Chris Kaman for that matter, Vonleh would be a good complement to their games. His defense and rebounding will be a valuable asset from day one and offensively, he can be groomed into a potential All-Star, ala Chris Bosh.

 

Marcus Smart, 6’3″, 227 lbs, PG

Mar 21, 2014; San Diego, CA, USA; Oklahoma State Cowboys guard Marcus Smart (33) shoots between Gonzaga Bulldogs center Przemek Karnowski (24) and guard David Stockton (11) in the first half of a men

After his freshman season, scouts were concerned that Smart was a tweener. Those concerns were eliminated after his sophomore season though, as Chad Ford believes his NBA position will be at the point and teams have grown to love him there.

Smart is a tough, competitive, defensive minded player who can do a little bit of everything on each side of the court. In his college career, he averaged 2.9 steals per game, as he can really extend ball pressure the length of the court, play passing lanes and deny the wing.

Offensively, the biggest weakness is his jump shot, where he shot 29 percent from 3 for his career and this past year, his free throw percentage dropped to just 72 percent. Simply put, point guards have the ball in their hands the majority of the time and the good ones are able to hit free throws down the stretch. He’s strong enough though where he’ll seek to post up smaller defenders quite often, do his work before he catches and finish around the rim.

Though he’d play point guard for the Lakers, Smart is a poor man’s version of Dwyane Wade — a two-way player who can contribute immediately but will struggle to score consistently with average athleticism and until his subpar jump shot is improved.

Which of these two would Lakers fans rather have?

Tags: Los Angeles Lakers Marcus Smart Nba Draft Noah Vonleh

  • Derek

    Thats a good question i personally would probably go Vonleh because we need defense and rebounding. Vonleh is still 18 yrs old with some upside to really become a talent. I like Smarts high motor and competitiveness but we will probably sign lots of guys like him in free agency. Randle or Vonleh

  • Pimptastic

    I’d actually take a flyer on Gordon, reports say his shooting is improving and he can impact defensively from day one. He’s the high upside player that fans can get behind and he’s intelligent and a great character guy. Works hard and is willing to do whatever it takes to get better. This is the kind of gamble that can either set a franchise back years, or can pay off hugely. I’d say find a way to get him and Lavine (later in round 1) and build from there with some key free agents the next couple seasons.

    • Phil Watson

      Funny, that first sentence sounds just like what was being said about Tyrus Thomas before the ’06 draft.

      • Pimptastic

        No doubt, that has been said many times and it has gone both ways. Gordon is an intelligent, hungry and good character individual, and can affect the game in other ways right now. I may be wrong, but if it were my call, I’d draft him in that spot unless one of the top 4 slipped. Would be ok with any of the next 3 players (Vonleh, Randle or Smart) but I’d go for either Gordon or Smart and look to free agency to fill other needs.

        • wangkon936

          I have no idea why Gordon has so many boosters. He’s an undersized tweener who can’t shoot. If he rises up to dunk, the bigger players in the NBA will just foul him since he can’t make his free throws. 42% free throws means his shot is broken. Broken shot mechanics are exceedingly difficult to fix in the NBA. Witness Shaquille O’Neal, Chris Dudley, Emeka Okafor, Dwight Howard, etc.

          Anyone ever see him play at Arizona? Opponents sagged off him in the half court like as if he was a center. 70% of his offense was in transition. Do you think with a 37 year old Kobe that the Lakers are going to be a transition team for the foreseeable future? Uh, the answer is that a definite NO.

          • Pimptastic

            I think Kobe has 1 or 2 seasons tops, although he won’t admit it. He’s fading off and we will have to begin to think of life without that dominant scorer. Karl Malone fixed his free throws, some of those guys shot issues were more mental, as opposed to mechanical.

          • wangkon936

            “Karl Malone fixed his free throws…”

            Karl Malone is the exception, not the norm. Broken shot mechanics rarely get fixed.

          • Pimptastic

            I realize that, but the fact that his shot is already showing signs of improving since the end of the season, and is actually looking better is what leads me to believe that he’ll be more Malone than Shaq. He is making a concerted effort to get some uniformity between his 3 pointer, his mid-range shot and his free throw. So the fact that he understands this needed to be done and he’s putting forth the work in order to do it is what can allow him to make the needed improvements, Don’t get me wrong, I’ll be happy with any of those guys, but Gordon’s immediate impact on Defense, as well as his potential, given he maintains his attitude and effort to improving once those checks begin coming in, that has me thinking that he may end up being the better prospect of those expecting to be on the board, assuming Vonleh and Smart may be gone by 7.

          • wangkon936

            “… his shot is already showing signs of improving since the end of the season”

            Fool’s gold because no one has been guarding him and/or it wasn’t in game situations. Even Shaq could make 9 out of 10 free throws in practice.

  • J Taylor

    Smart…..is the call. Unless Gordon is still available, and that’s a tough one….. (Smart is still the call!)
    Vonleh and/or Randle are good consolation prizes too.

    The modern NBA is a PG league. And Smart is a good defender.
    It’s much like football… you can’t sign “game changing quarterbacks” on the free agency market, you have to get lucky and draft one.

  • Marty Susman

    The Lakers NEED to get K. Irving on the team. Before the draft they NEED to be 100% sure they are not or they are getting Irving. He is the point guard of the future for LA & he would “LOVE” to be in purple & gold, he has the Kobe attitude & would be a great point for the future…. Think of it this way…. Monroe in the center, Love up front, Irving at point & Kobe at the 2 guard & Swaggy Pea at the wing. Now this ia a ring winning team…..

    • mattyb

      The lakers have nothing to offer the cavs for kyrie irving and even when he becomes a free agent what is so enticing to him that he’d want to be a laker…. a 37 year old used to be great?

      • Marty Susman

        They have ONE THING that Irving would REALLY like, he would be the NUMBER ONE GUY on the Laker’s next generation team….No other team can offer him the number one spot in such great market team….

        • mattyb

          That only goes so far for a team with nothing going for them. They have traded away their draft picks besides the one they have this draft. He would’t go to the lakers solely so he could be THE GUY on a downward spiraling team. Plus he will become a restricted free agent in 2015 therefore the cavs will not let him go. The lakers also can’t trade for him because they have nothing to offer.

  • Darryl Revok

    Smart isn’t he passer KMarshall is, and shoots less well (depsite KD’s slump to end the season he’s a good 3-pt guy overall)

    Vonleh or Gordon, depending who’s there

  • VillainKing

    Marcus Smart is the good choice for the Lakers..