As this long, disastrous season reaches its final stages, eyes are turning toward the upcoming off-season specifically the 2014 draft. The Lakers are expected to have a high lottery pick, currently sitting at sixth should the season end today. One player the Lakers have high on their desired draft board is Australian phenom guard Dante Exum.
Exum, who is signed with Kobe Bryant’s agent, Robe Pelinka, has been sighted at multiple Laker games and is currently working out in Los Angeles. Despite recent reports that Exum could be trying to force himself to the Lakers, other teams are still interested in his services.
According to Chris Manix of Sports Illustrated, teams are completely aware of Exum’s desire to play in Los Angeles. However, this will not stop them from drafting the young guard:
There have been reports that Exum, who is represented by Kobe Bryant’s agent, Rob Pelinka, may be angling for the Lakers to draft him. But two executives from lottery teams said that wouldn’t stop them from drafting Exum if he’s available.
Although Exum decided to pass on attending college, scouts and GMs alike rave about the young guard’s potential. Many believe that if Exum was currently playing college basketball, he would be in discussion for the top overall pick.
With the Lakers currently in flux over which direction to go and Kobe wanting a quick turnaround, it is yet to be seen what the team will decide. Recent reports have the Lakers open to trading their upcoming pick in hopes of luring Kevin Love from Minnesota, which would leave them out of the Exum sweepstakes altogether. Others believe the team should simply wait a season and surround Love with both Bryant and the lottery pick from this off-season.
The 2014 draft class is full of players who could one day have a drastic effect on the league. While Exum may want to be a Laker, teams may find it hard to pass upon a talent of his degree. The Lakers will have a lot of decisions to make in the upcoming months as these choices will have an impact on the future of the storied franchise.
NBA Draft Profile: DANTE EXUM