Lakers draft 4 players in 2nd round
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- The Los Angeles Lakers stuck to their plan during Thursday's 2011 NBA draft, using the first two picks of the second round on players to bolster their backcourt and their second two picks in the second round on international players they could send overseas to develop.
The Lakers selected L.A. native Darius Morris, a 6-foot-4 point guard out of Michigan, with the No. 41 pick; 6-3 combo guard Andrew Goudelock out of College of Charleston with the No. 46 pick; Chukwudiebere Maduabum, a 6-9, 210-pound forward from Nigeria who played part of last season with the Bakersfield Jam of the D-League with pick No. 56; and Ater Majok, a 6-10 center out of Sudan who last played professionally in Australia, with the third-to-last pick in the draft, No. 58.
Maduabum was later traded to the Denver Nuggets in exchange for a future second-round pick.
"We're pleased with all four players," said Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak. "We feel like we've addressed a need on this team moving forward."
Kupchak said he was surprised Morris and Goudelock were still on the board when the Lakers drafted in the 40s and hoped that one or both of the players could make the team's 15-man roster next season. The Lakers have nine players under contract next season, a number that could increase by one if Shannon Brown decides to pick up his contract extension for next season. Kupchak said on Thursday he "guessed" that Brown would opt out and explore free agency, however.
As for Majok, the team intends to stash him overseas.
Morris, 20, entered the draft after ranking fifth in the country in assists per game (6.7) as a sophomore.
"He'll look to pass first," Kupchak said. "He's a younger player so perhaps there's more developing to come."
Morris worked out for 10 NBA teams in the weeks leading up to the draft but his agent, Brian Dyke, advised him it would be unlikely he would still be around when his hometown Lakers got to make pick No. 41. The All-Big Ten third-team member matriculated at Winward High School in Mar Vista, Calif.
"I'm very excited to capitalize on the opportunity because it's truly a blessing for them to pick me," Morris said in a phone interview, after attending the draft in person in Newark, N.J. "Never in a million years did I think I'd get drafted by the Lakers. ... That's really great. A dream come true."
Morris, a bigger point guard at 6-4, 190 pounds, said he modeled his ball distribution after Lakers legend Magic Johnson.
What Morris brings in passing, Goudelock brings in scoring. He finished his college career first in school history with 2,571 points, ranking him 39th in all-time scoring in NCAA Division I history.
"Being a four-year player, he'll probably have more confidence than a player who is 19 or 20," said Kupchak. "He's a seasoned player."
While Morris said he would spend his offseason working on his 3-point shot after connecting on just 25 percent of his 3s as a sophomore, Goudelock's biggest strength is his marksmanship. Goudelock shot 41.2 percent from 3 for his college career, making an average of 99 3-pointers a season.
"He's got great range," Kupchak said. "He's a really good shooter."
Goudelock emphasized that he is more than a shooter, however, pointing out that he led his college team in assists the past two seasons while still maintaining a scoring average of more than 20 points per game with more than outside shots.
"I got a little junk in my game," Goudelock said during a phone interview. "A lot of people know I can shoot, so I try to fool them and create a lot things for myself. It usually works out pretty well for me.
"I'm not bashful about my game. I have a lot of confidence in my game and I try to exert that the best I can."
Goudelock said the biggest area of his game he hopes to improve upon during the summer is his defense, which should help him mesh with Mike Brown, the Lakers' new defensive-minded coach.
The 22-year old Goudelock was actually "drafted" by the Harlem Globetrotters earlier in the week as a lark, but said he'll have no problem choosing between the guys in red, white and blue and the Lakers' purple and gold.
"My agent called and said, 'Hey, you know you just got drafted by the Harlem Globetrotters, they think you can shoot the 4-point shot,'" Goudelock said with a laugh.
The Lakers will settle for him to make more conventional 3-pointers.
"I've always looked at the Lakers as a very classy organization," said Goudelock, who revealed he cried when he heard his name announced as the Lakers' pick by NBA deputy commissioner Adam Silver. "I'm very excited to try to make this team."
Dave McMenamin covers the Lakers for ESPNLosAngeles.com.