… in the 2008 NBA draft, the Los Angeles Lakers select…..
Barring any trades that will be the only time you hear NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver speak the Lakers name (Silver normally announces the second round picks after David Stern wraps up the first round).
The Lakers first round pick this year was conveyed to the Memphis Grizzlies as part of the deal that landed Pau Gasol. Thus the Lakers hold only the third to last pick in the draft, a situation that has made it tough on the front office in trying to evaluate players.
“Because we don’t have a first round pick, agents will say, ‘Well why are we going to send him to work out for you when you don’t even have a pick.’ So it’s difficult for us,” explained General Manager Mitch Kupchak. “We really have to scramble to get players to come in, we have to look at a lot more tape and film, and then we have to travel to workouts to hopefully see these players.”
Good fortune has found the Lakers in the second round. Key bench contributors Luke Walton and Ronny Turiaf were both drafted after Stern had left the stage.
Although the history of the 58th pick is a short one (until the Bobcats entered the league 58 was the last pick in the draft, but for a couple years there were only 57 picks due to the T’Wolves forfeiting their first round pick) the purple and gold are apart of it. In 2006 the team traded a future second rounder for the George Washington Guard Danilo (J.R.) Pinnock.
Pinnock’s Lakers career lasted just one training camp and seven pre-season games before being cut just before the start of the 2006-07 season. In the same draft Los Angeles swapped Cheick Samb, the #51 pick, to the Detroit Pistons for Mo Evans. Evans gave the Lakers an athletic backup to Kobe Bryant and was eventually packed with Brian Cook to acquire Trevor Ariza.
Last year, with the roster bloating and two second round picks, the team decided to choose players from over-seas that wouldn’t immediately play in the NBA. Sun Yue remained with his club team and will be apart of the Chinese national team in this summer’s Beijing Olympics. Marc Gasol blossomed in Spain’s top league and became a valuable chip in the deal for his brother Pau.