Next Tuesday, the Los Angeles Lakers will find out if they will keep their top-five protected pick or send it to Philadelphia via Phoenix as part of the Steve Nash trade. Despite holding the fourth slot, the Lakers have a better chance at picking fifth than any other number.
If the team does drop one spot, there will be a number of players considered for that spot. One of those players is Willie Cauley-Stein, who met with the Lakers at the NBA Draft Combine according to Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News:
Kentucky's Willie Cauley-Stein said he talked with the Lakers
— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) May 15, 2015
Though he is raw offensively, Cauley-Stein is viewed as arguably the best all-around defender in the entire draft. He is a true center who measured just over 7’0 at the Draft Combine. His 9’3 standing reach was the fifth best of anyone else in the class as well.
Despite his size, he has excellent mobility and showed the ability to switch out on guards and contain them on the perimeter. His speed at the center position has led to comparisons to players like DeAndre Jordan and Tyson Chandler.
The Lakers obviously have a huge hole at the center position and Cauley-Stein would give the team a long-term answer. Head coach Byron Scott, who constantly preaches defense, would surely love someone with the versatility of Cauley-Stein who averaged 8.9 points, 6.4 rebounds, 1.7 blocks, and 1.2 steals as a junior at Kentucky.
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