Zion Williamson is a virtual lock to be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft and all signs point to Ja Morant landing in the No. 2 spot with a ticket to Memphis. Beyond that, the consensus in the industry indicates that R.J. Barrett will be the No. 3 overall pick (even if the Knicks were to deal that choice elsewhere), which puts the Los Angeles Lakers, at the No. 4 spot, in an exceptionally interesting position.
For starters, the Lakers are in a bizarre place outside of the draft, with LeBron James turning 35 in December and a real sense of urgency to win now. Los Angeles absolutely needs another established star to pair with James and, while some of those discussions could operate independent of draft considerations, it is tough to ignore the reality that the No. 4 pick could be used as a trade chip rather than a piece to add to the Lakers’ young core.
Simply put, James hasn’t always shown a proclivity toward young players and most rookies aren’t going to help teams with championship aspirations immediately. To that end, it will surprise no one if the Lakers deal the No. 4 pick in a swap targeting an established talent, which could throw the draft into chaos. Even if Los Angeles actually stays put and makes a choice at No. 4, there isn’t an overly obvious fit, with Jarrett Culver perhaps acting as the best player available and Darius Garland operating as an intriguing on-ball option.
Regardless, there is a great deal of uncertainty outside of the top three and, when considering that the Lakers are capable of just about anything, things get very weird after that point. How do we see everything going in this DIME mock draft? Let’s find out.