Kevin Chan (@Kevin_Cruiser): First off a couple caveats about my choice. The traditional shooting guards in the 2014 NBA draft aren’t likely to be taken within the top nine picks. When I refer to traditional shooting guards I’m talking about guys like Nik Stauskas, James Young and Garry Harris.
Since the Lakers will be drafting ninth at worst, I’m going to reclassify Andrew Wiggins as a shooting guard for the purpose of this answer. This isn’t too much of a stretch since Wiggins is actually projected as a SG/SF in the NBA.
Wiggins has other-worldly athleticism and stands at 6’8’’ with a seven foot wingspan. He’s only 200 pounds and could benefit from putting on a bit of weight, but he can absolutely jump through the roof. Of all the prospects in the draft he probably has the most upside of anyone. Wiggins has the potential to be a future NBA superstar if he continues to develop.
Offensively he is a beast in transition and tough to stop in the pick-and-roll due to his long strides. He has natural ability to slash to the rim and score in the paint. He can also get his own shot over defenders due to his length.
Due to his elite athleticism he could be a very good defender and averaged 1 block and 1.2 steals at Kansas. If he bulks up a bit it’s not a stretch to imagine that he could eventually defend guys like LeBron James and Kevin Durant.
Wiggins is by all accounts a soft spoken and humble kid and would have no trouble learning under a dominant personality like Kobe Bryant. If the Lakers have a chance to draft Wiggins they absolutely should – the kid has a chance to be special and the potential for him to learn mental toughness from an established superstar like Kobe would be ideal.
Russell Valenzuela (@russval4): Gary Harris. While there are other prospects that can shift over and play shooting guard, Harris is the most skilled and NBA-ready natural two guard.
In his two years at Michigan State, Harris showed he is deadly scorer. On a team full of veteran leaders, Harris lead the Spartans with 16.7 points a game. He is one of the better long-range shooters in the draft, and is highly proficient in coming off screens when playing without the ball.
In addition, Harris is an excellent defender. Although he lacks elite size and athleticism, he has the quickness to keep up with point guards while having the length to bother shooting guards. When defending off ball, Harris showed his quick hands and understanding of passing lanes which lead to a number of steals. During the 2013-14 season, his 1.8 average was fifth in the Big Ten.
As it stands, Harris is projected to be a late lottery pick and he has the tools to become a consistent contributor in the NBA. One thing that could push him up into the Lakers’ range is his youth.
Even though he played two years in college, he has yet to turn 20 and has plenty of time to work on his weaknesses. With Kobe Bryant set to play out the last two years of his career, Harris would have plenty of time to properly develop and learn from one of the all-time greats.