PFO Community Mock Draft: Pick #4

Blue Route is bringing you draft coverage leading up to the NBA draft on June 20, 2019. The Philadelphia 76ers are slated to select 24th pick in the draft. The NBA draft often sees movement, trades and drama, so to prepare you for various potential outcomes, the Blue Route will be giving you draft profiles for the all of the likely top picks, as well as our very own mock draft.

2019 NBA Mock Draft Results
  1. New Orleans Pelicans – Zion Williamson
  2. Memphis Grizzlies – Ja Morant
  3. New York Knicks – RJ Barrett

With the fourth pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, the Los Angeles Lakers select…

There are a lot of interesting prospects from picks 4-7 in this upcoming NBA Draft, and the Lakers are probably one of the best teams to select this early in the draft. While there are guys like De’Andre Hunter and Coby White, it is likely LA goes in a different direction. So with that being said, with the fourth selection in the 2019 NBA Draft, the Los Angeles Lakers select: Jarrett Culver from Texas Tech

Why Jarrett Culver makes sense for the Lakers:

Culver is one of the most well rounded NBA ready prospects in the draft. The 6’6″ guard is a great shooter, as well as being able to drive into the lane. The Lakers are trying to become a win-now team being led by a 34 year old LeBron James, so they want somebody who can contribute now compared to a project player. This offseason the Lakers will be going over a major roster overhaul, but it’s still likely that one of Brandon Ingram or Kyle Kuzma will remain. So it doesn’t make much sense to go with another forward like De’Andre Hunter.

Culver will likely be one of the first people off the bench, most likely not starting depending on how he and Josh Hart individually look. His size will also help with defending most guards, and he has the versatility to stay with almost anyone. Spacing is also key to the Lakers, so his size will help to contribute to that aspect of their offense.

Current State of the Los Angeles Lakers

The Lakers are probably one of the craziest teams in the NBA at this time. First, they were touted as one of the best teams in the West at the start of the season but failed to make the playoffs, creating a lot of shock and the first Lebron-less playoffs since 2005. Then the Lakeshow lost their president Magic Johnson on April 9th. This was followed up on May 20th, when a bombshell interview dropped that stated how he was backstabbed by General Manager Rob Pelinka who tried very hard to force him out of the position due to his frequent absences to work on his other endeavors.

Anthony Davis saga:

The major storyline for LA the past few months has been their aggressive and very public attempts to acquire disgruntled superstar Anthony Davis from the New Orleans Pelicans. With New Orleans now having won the Zion lottery and LA picking 4th, the chase for Davis has become a bit more entangled and interesting.

Los Angeles notoriously offered Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram, Lance Stephenson, Michael Beasley, Rajon Rondo, and 2 first round draft selections. With the Lakers now having pick number 4, the player they choose or the pick itself could very well be shipped off to New Orleans to get Anthony Davis. The major question is if they do trade all their young talent, what will this team look like in 2019/2020?

One max slot and who it could be:

The Lakers have room for one max contract slot if they moved a few minor pieces around and are in a prime position to land several key free agents this offseason. Kawhi Leonard’s contract is up at the end of the season, but most likely he will be remaining in Toronto. If he does choose to go to LA, it seems more likely that he’ll end up with the Clippers. It has been stated several times before that the claw does not want to play second-fiddle to LeBron and will likely go somewhere where he can remain the top priority.

Jimmy Butler is also another forward that is available come June 30th. While it would add another star, the scheme fit would not work out very well and would create a bit of a spacing issue. That being said, if Jimmy wanted to come, I am sure they would make it work.

Kyrie Irving is another interesting player available. Kyrie does not look to be returning to Boston after a disastrous season, ending in a Conference Semifinal loss to the Bucks. Having been outlandish most of the season, from his media quotes to his meek attempts at hero ball in the playoffs, it seems as though his exit from the Celtics is all but certain. Los Angeles would be a good fit for him, and LeBron has seemed to have done some recruiting himself already.

Jarrett Culver rookie predictions:

While at Texas Tech, Culver averaged 18.5 points last season, which was seven more than the previous year. Also in 2019, he averaged 3.7 assists and 6.5 rebounds while shooting 46% from the field, as well as 30% from three. Culver will likely be one of the first guards off of the bench with Josh Hart staying at the 2 until Culver is likely ready.

I expect he will be a solid player right off of the bat as his game translates well to the league. While not big, Culver is taller than the average shooting guard and can use his height and aggressiveness to attack the rim and get buckets very well. When open, he can shoot threes decently, and it’s a good part of his arsenal. However, a lot of his scoring originates from the high post. His height is also key to grabbing rebounds over the other guards around him.

Overall, I feel Jarrett Culver is one of the more NBA ready prospects in the league, and once his game develops more, I believe he will be a key piece for the Lakers for years to come.

2019 stat predictions:

9.4 points per game

4 rebounds per game

2.8 assists per game