7.04.2012

What in the Name of Jerry West is going on?


The franchise that gave us A.C. Green with the 23rd pick in the 1985 draft and discovered Derek Fisher with the 24th overall selection in 1996 can't come up with one solid, long-range contributor over the past eight drafts?

The team that uncovered Michael Cooper in the third round in 1978 and Vlade Divac with the 26th pick in 1989 now is drafting the likes of Chinemelu Elonu, Sun Yue and Joe Crawford?

And losing two consecutive years in the second round of the playoffs because they don't have a deep enough roster to contend with the best teams in the NBA?

If you want to know what is wrong with the Lakers right now, their inability to find suitable help in the draft lately is as good a place to start as any.


Andrew Bynum is a lot of different things to a lot of people.

To some he's the cornerstone for the Lakers to build their future around.

To others he's a trade chip the Lakers can use to acquire All-Star center Dwight Howard or All-Star guard Deron Williams.

He's also an immature, injury-prone enigma or a misunderstood 24-year-old still finding his way.

The reality is he's probably all of those things and more.

But you know what he is to me as the Lakers go into Thursday's NBA draft? The only first-round pick over the past 10 drafts still left on the Lakers' roster and the only player over their past 18 selections to stick around beyond their first contract.

The Lakers have selected 17 players since making Bynum the 10th pick in the 2005 draft, but aside from Jordan Farmar in 2006 and Javaris Crittenton and Marc Gasol in 2007 not one has made a significant contribution.

Gasol never played for the Lakers, but his rights were used to acquire his brother, Pau. Crittenton gets a pass only because he also was part of the trade to acquire Pau Gasol.

Aside from that, his career was an absolute mess and he's currently awaiting trial on murder charges.

We will give a pass to Andrew Goudelock, Devin Ebanks and Darius Morris, the three second-round picks who arrived over the past two drafts.

But only because they haven't had enough time to develop.

To be sure, though, the Lakers' recent track record doesn't elicit much hope.

What in the world of Jerry West is going on here?

The franchise that gave us A.C. Green with the 23rd pick in the 1985 draft and discovered Derek Fisher with the 24th overall selection in 1996 can't come up with one solid, long-range contributor over the past eight drafts?

The team that uncovered Michael Cooper in the third round in 1978 and Vlade Divac with the 26th pick in 1989 now is drafting the likes of Chinemelu Elonu, Sun Yue and Joe Crawford?

And losing two consecutive years in the second round of the playoffs because they don't have a deep enough roster to contend with the best teams in the NBA?

If you want to know what is wrong with the Lakers right now, their inability to find suitable help in the draft lately is as good a place to start as any.

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