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Lakers Can Grab Kobe’s Replacement at No. 2

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The big excitement out of the gates in the NBA Draft hinges on if the Los Angeles Lakers pick guard D’Angelo Russell out of Ohio State to play as a temporary backcourt mate and ultimate heir to Kobe Bryant.

You always want to draft a freshman because they improve so much. Looking at the top 5 Value Adds of any freshman, Russell gets the edge over Okafor, assuming Lakers choose him.

Great 2015 Season at: Player Class Value Add
Kentucky Towns, Karl-Anthony 12 1 Fr 11.39
Ohio St. Russell, D’Angelo 0 1 Fr 8.41
Duke Jones, Tyus 5 1 Fr 8.11
Duke Okafor, Jahlil 15 1 Fr 7.78
Duke Winslow, Justise 12 1 Fr 7.18

Make a note: Karl-Anthony Towns of Kentucky is the only absolutely clear choice at No. 1. He is much, much, much, better than anyone else. His 11.39 rating at www.valueaddbasketball.com means he improved Kentucky by over 11 points a game, slightly less than senior Delon Wright of Utah (11.88). But a senior plays close to his peak. Towns projects to be worth almost 20 additional points per game if he stayed three more years. So, his value is almost double that of Wright long term.

The real significance of Russell going to the Lakers is that they are finally going to build through a draft, creating the path to contend after Kobe Bryant leaves and even if he is not able to return to form this year for a last run.

If the Lakers are able to pull off the deal to get Kings big man DeMarcus Cousins to dominate inside, then there is no need for the defensively challenged Okafor.

While there will be foreign players tonight, and guys with future potential who did not develop it in college, we want to give a special shout-out to the 40 players who were both great college players (in the top 5% of all players in college basketball this year) and can legitimately be good pros as well. They are listed by school.

Great 2015 Season at: Player Class Value Add Conf 2015 Rank
Arizona Hollis-Jefferson, Rondae 23 2 So 6.21 P12 81
Arizona Johnson, Stanley 5 1 Fr 5.93 P12 103
Arkansas Portis, Bobby 10 2 So 7.91 SEC 19
Boston College Hanlan, Olivier 21 3 Jr 5.61 ACC 118
Bowling Green Holmes, Richaun 22 4 Sr 4.9 MAC 179
Duke Jones, Tyus 5 1 Fr 8.11 ACC 15
Duke Okafor, Jahlil 15 1 Fr 7.78 ACC 21
Duke Winslow, Justise 12 1 Fr 7.18 ACC 39
Georgia St. Hunter, R.J. 22 3 Jr 7.58 SB 25
Iowa White, Aaron 30 4 Sr 9.41 B10 6
Kansas Oubre, Kelly 12 1 Fr 5.35 B12 130
Kentucky Booker, Devin 1 1 Fr 6.93 SEC 49
Kentucky Cauley-Stein, Willie 15 3 Jr 8.48 SEC 10
Kentucky Harrison, Andrew 5 2 So 6.86 SEC 53
Kentucky Johnson, Dakari 44 2 So 5.14 SEC 146
Kentucky Lyles, Trey 41 1 Fr 6.71 SEC 59
Kentucky Towns, Karl-Anthony 12 1 Fr 11.39 SEC 2
Louisiana St. Martin, Jarell 1 2 So 6 SEC 95
Louisville Harrell, Montrezl 24 3 Jr 7.52 ACC 27
Louisville Rozier, Terry 0 2 So 7.39 ACC 31
Michigan St. Trice, Travis 20 4 Sr 5.91 B10 105
Murray St. Payne, Cameron 1 2 So 7.92 OVC 18
Nevada Las Vegas Wood, Christian 5 2 So 4.77 MWC 196
Notre Dame Connaughton, Pat 24 4 Sr 6.27 ACC 75
Notre Dame Grant, Jerian 22 4 Sr 9.41 ACC 5
Ohio St. Russell, D’Angelo 0 1 Fr 8.41 B10 11
Oregon Young, Joseph 3 4 Sr 6.72 P12 58
Stanford Brown, Anthony 21 4 Sr 5.93 P12 102
Stanford Randle, Chasson 5 4 Sr 6.88 P12 51
Syracuse Christmas, Rakeem 25 4 Sr 7.25 ACC 37
Tennessee Richardson, Josh 1 4 Sr 7.46 SEC 30
Texas Turner, Myles 52 1 Fr 5.22 B12 140
UCLA Looney, Kevon 5 1 Fr 6.16 P12 84
UCLA Powell, Norman 4 4 Sr 5.5 P12 123
Utah Wright, Delon 55 4 Sr 11.88 P12 1
Virginia Anderson, Justin 1 3 Jr 5.15 ACC 145
Virginia Commonwealth Graham, Treveon 21 4 Sr 5.3 A10 134
Wisconsin Dekker, Sam 15 3 Jr 7.1 B10 43
Wisconsin Kaminsky, Frank 44 4 Sr 11.09 B10 3
Wyoming Nance, Larry 22 4 Sr 4.78 MWC 195


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