Los Angeles Lakers: Three players they could draft in the summer of 2018

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(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
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Nick Richards — Center, Kentucky

Los Angeles doesn’t seem to know what to do just yet with Thomas Bryant and Ivica Zubac, and that’s not good news if Brook Lopez isn’t their long-term solution at center. Like Caldwell-Pope, Lopez is a free agent at the end of the season and the team could let him walk if they feel a younger player is a better option.

Enter Nick Richards, a five star recruit who plays center for Kentucky. Currently in the top 50 overall players, as ranked by CBS Sports, Richards falls right to where the Lakers want him at 47th on the list.

It’d be a perfect fit under the following conditions, though. This selection would mean that the Lakers would have to include Thomas Bryant or Ivica Zubac in a trade deal before draft night.

That’s not the end of the world for Los Angeles, but it would be a step that they should only make if they are absolutely certain that’s what they want to invest in over the summer draft.

If not, they’ll have to find an answer for their shooting guard dilemma some either way. Either through a trade or through an off-season signing. Richards averages just under nine points per game and pairs that with nearly seven rebounds per outing.

He wouldn’t be an immediate starter for the Lakers, but he might be a better fit for the young core than Bryant or Zubac if they aren’t able to find their niche with the purple and gold sooner than later.