LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 12: Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers stands up as he is introduced before taking on the Denver Nuggets in Game Seven of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs on May 12, 2012 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Heading into last night's draft, we knew that if Robert Sacre was going to hear his name, it was going to be in the last 15 or so picks. There were rumors that he would go no later than 46 which turned out to be bogus (shocker) and once the run of international guys you will never hear from again, I was sure that Rob would not be drafted and would have the opportunity to select his summer league destination. Turns out that I flipped off the draft too soon as Rob is the newest member of the Los Angeles Lakers. He is the NBA equivalent of the NFL's Mr. Irrelevant but being drafted is a tremendous accomplishment and really does say alot about how hard Rob must have worked during his pre-draft workouts because after the NCAA season, no one was talking about him being a draft pick.
As with other second round draft picks, Rob will now start the process of earning his spot on a roster. As many teams display with their second round strategies, there really aren't a whole lot of roster spots available in the NBA which is why the 'draft and stash' methodology is used by so many teams. Rob will play in the summer league and hopefully latch on with the Lakers and have a long NBA career. LA has one of the premier bigs in the league in Andrew Bynum but, beyond that, the Lakers low post group seems to be in flux. Pau Gasol has been a part of trade rumors and guys like Jordan Hill and Josh McRoberts have talent but have yet to carve out a definite spot in this league.
Now that Rob is moving on to the next phase of his basketball career, lets look at who might be next for the Zags (Note: If you have a phobia to hype, the following is not for you!)...
1) Elias Harris. Each draft write-up you will ever read on Elias from now until eternity will say; "He was a lottery pick as a freshman but injuries and subpar play mean blah blah blah". I still maintain that Elias's back half of last season was his best stretch ever in a Gonzaga uniform and he is poised for a great senior year. Yes he is a tweener but if can can continue to score and rebound and improve his defense, he will be a great asset.
2) Kevin Pangos. The stigma that folks will worry about with Pangos is great college player, with not so great pro prospects. He is undersized and will never be able to lock up Russell Westbrook but if he can continue to knock down shots and maybe grow a bit, I think he'll get some solid looks from the NBA. I still think we are going to see another wrinkle to Kevin this year as a consistent distributor now that he has a year under his belt.
3) Gary Bell. GBJ's major issue last season was inconsistency and he started out the year rushing quite a bit offensively. Last night, we saw a lot of multi-tool guys being drafted. Perhaps not the best scorers but guys that can defend, rebound, distribute, and create offensively. He has some work to do and needs to grab the reins a bit more on offense but I truly believe the sky is the limit for Gary.
4) Przemek Karnowski. I know, I know. "Zach, you are crazy, we haven't even seen him play in the states yet". Well, deal with it. Karnowski is going to make money playing basketball in the future and if he continues to improve at the trajectory he has over the past year and a half, he is going to make a lot of it and the currency will the US Dollars. A 7 footer that does not need to grow either vertically or horizontally, Karnowski has an incredible feel for the game and is comfortable with the ball in his hands, something that big men really do struggle with. Sure, it is hype, but Karnowski has the tools to be a flat out stud.
In your mind, who is the next Zag we will see gracing NBA floors?