Once it became evident the Los Angeles Lakers would have a high pick in the upcoming 2014 NBA draft, the consensus has been that Australia’s Dante Exum would be the player most likely headed to the storied franchise on June 26.
Exum was seen at multiple Laker games at the Staples Center while sitting next to an agent he shares with Kobe Bryant in Rob Pelinka. Along with making multiple appearances at games to watch the Lakers, Exum labeled Los Angeles his “best option” on draft day.
All signs appeared to be pointing to Exum heading to Los Angeles until the result of the NBA draft lottery came in. The Lakers will have to wait until the seventh pick to get the best available player and it is highly doubtful Exum will still be waiting to hear his name called.
As Evan Dunlap of SB Nation’s Orlando Pinstripe Post suggests, the Orlando Magic likely won’t pass up on drafting Exum:
A quick survey of several mock Drafts posted in the wake of Tuesday’s Lottery reveals a consensus, of sorts, regarding whom Orlando will select with the fourth overall pick. All five mocks featured here peg Australian combo guard Dante Exum as the Magic’s man. Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress, Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com, Ricky O’Donnell of SB Nation, Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated, and Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports all agree that Exum will slip to the Magic at no. 4, and that Orlando won’t let him drop any further.
Although Exum may be off the board by the time the Lakers are on the clock next month, Marcus Smart of Oklahoma State could be there for the taking. Smart isn’t receiving the same kind of hype as Exum, who may ultimately be the most talented player in the draft this year, but the point guard might be the right fit in Los Angeles.
As of right now, there’s no clear indication of whom the Lakers could be targeting heading into the draft. Exum is certainly an option they’d seriously consider if available, but with it potentially being unrealistic, the door is open for other candidates like Smart, Noah Vonleh and Aaron Gordon.
Lakers Kobe Bryant’s Advice To NBA Draft Prospect Dante Exum