Lakers Picking for Los Angeles Lakers is Anthony Franco.  The Lakers have the 23rd pick in the 1999 draft.  The Lakers select

Fredric Weis, C, 7'2", France


Despite being a lifetime Laker fan, I did the unthinkable this past season... I started to watch Clipper games instead. Yes the Lakers still have Chick n' Stu manning the mic's while the Clippers have the commentator everyone loves to hate in Bill Walton, but at least the Clipps gave a sincere effort every night which is something the Lake-Show cannot claim. Yes, for the true fan there is nothing more frustrating or infuriating than to see a team that has all the neccessary ingredients for success, play so half-assed at times. This years Lakers were the NBA's version of a DMV worker... the beginning of a career is filled with excitement, but as one day fades into another the enthusiasm is lost, that spark or onetime promise gets lost between a million cups of joe and the "this line closed" sign that goes up as soon as you get to the front of the line. Of course pro-ball is a bussiness where money can overwhelm passion...but the Lakers treated basketball as a bureaucracy.

Draft History:

Jerry West often gets credit for being a genius, and while most of it deserved, he has never been a draft magician. He has always made the most of his picks, but finding diamonds while drafting in the high twenties is difficult. The following is a list of Laker picks from 1976(the year I was born) on, however, keep in mind though that Mr. Clutch can't take credit for Buck or Coop, as he wasn't officially the GM until the 84-85 season.


  • 43. Tom Abernethy...Indiana...??? (Never heard of him)


  • 6. Kenny Carr...NC State...F (Considering the talent drafted after him he has to be a bust)
  • 15. Brad Davis...Maryland...B (Had a nice long career, with the Mavs)
  • 22. Norm Nixon...Duquesne...B+ (Would have been a Laker great if it weren't for the kid from East Lansing)
  • 46. James Edwards...Washington... B (Another nice long career that included some rings)


  • 60. Michael Cooper...New Mexico...A (At #60 he was one of the greatest draft "steals" ever.)


  • 1. Earvin Johnson...Michigan State...A+(You know about him as a player, but this is the pick that changed the way Pro-sports franchises looked at the draft.)
  • 14. Brad Holland...UCLA...F (stuck around for a couple of years, but basically was just another UCLA bust.)


  • No picks of record.


  • 19. Mike McGee...Michigan...C+ (3pt. shooting and defense, poor mans Coop.)


  • 1. James Worthy...North Carolina...A (Top 50,may not have played as long as Nique or Cummings, but didn't want to be remembered as a "veteran role- player.")


  • No picks of record.


  • 23. Earl Jones...District Of Columbia... D ( Low pick, low expectations)
  • 92. John Revelli...Stanford...D (even lower than above)


  • 23. A.C. Green...Oregon State... A- (A true blue collar gem at the end of the first round)


  • 19. Billy Thompson...Louisville... C-(played one season in LA and one or two in Miami, but had ACL tear before players could really make a full recovery from this type of injury.)
  • 69. Andre Turner...Memphis State... D (remember the name, not the game)


  • No picks of record.


  • 25. David Rivers...Notre Dame...C (see Billy Thompson, but with a Bobby Hurley type car accident)


  • 26. Vlade Divac...(Yugoslavia)... A(Outside of Glen Rice, and Shawn Kemp, Vlade has become the third best player in the draft... at 26th!)


  • 27. Elden Campbell...Clemson...B+ (just got better and better until Shaq arrived, blamed unfairly for recent trouble, probably glad to go east)
  • 51. Tony Smith...Marquette...B (recieved an awful lot of pressure for the 51st pick, also blamed for a lot of early 90's Laker-woes, but was a good NBA player)


  • 52. Anthony Jones...Oral Roberts... D (low pick that never made the team)


  • 15. Anthony Peeler...Missouri... C+ (West didn't want to trade him, but he wouldn't contribute much to this team today)
  • 36. Duane Cooper...USC... C (made the team for one season and played well)


  • 12. George Lynch...North Carolina... D+ (probably the biggest bust of the West era)
  • 37. Nick Van Exel...Cincinnati... A- (a great pick this low, but was often made a scapegoat for the recent problems)


  • 10. Eddie Jones...Temple...A (not many had him this high, but who can argue with the results)


  • 37. Frankie King...C (There some draft day hype surrounding Jerry West's move to aquire the Lakers sole draft pick at 37...My guess is he thought someone might fall low, say Michael Finley... but when he ended up at #21 West took a stab at King who only made the roster one season and is now a star in Europe.)


  • 24. Derek Fisher...Ark-LR... B (Decent play from low pick, the jury is still out)
  • ** 13. Charlotte...Kobe Bryant...Lower Merion... A- (they had to trade Vlade for this pick, but in the end it'll probably be worth it)
  • **29. Chicago...Travis Knight...Connecticut...B (from a first rounder to a free agent rookie, he has played very well at times, and others he has been a foul machine)


  • 52. DeJuan Wheat...Louisville...C (made the roster for only a few games)
  • 54. Paul Rogers...Gonzaga...D (best Gonzaga player drafted since Stockton)


  • 26. Sam Jacobson...Minnesota... C(don't know where the local hype is coming from as he couldn't even make the team this season)
  • 31. Ruben Patterson...Cincinati... C(good athlete, with no shot or confidence)
  • **23. Tyronn Lue...Nebraska... C+ (non-exsistant at the beginning of the year but was virtually the only spark they had toward the end)

Team Analysis:

For the most part I'll try not to get to bogged down in the common rhetoric, that usually gets written when discussing the Lakers... I won't assign all the blame to just one player, but will try to dish it out as evenly as possible. And, since volumes have already been written about Dennis Rodman (which is what he wants), I will not rehash that one.

Point Guard:

Derek Fisher- The scapegoat aura is starting to gravitate towards him, but this is unfair. A point guard on a team with this kind of talent, is supposed to provide consistent play, and be the glue that holds the team together. But how can he be consistent when his playing situation is constantly changing? How can he hold the team together when the peices are constantly changing (including the coach!)? Basically Fish is a tough defensive player, who works hard, plays hard, and when his shot is dropping makes the Lakers unstoppable. Fisher however is a free agent, who may not be back depending on the draft and whether Harper returns.

Derek Harper- The man is old... too old, so old that he pretty much broke down halfway through the season (yeah the games were packed tight, but so what). Harper was brought in to be the backup and provide leadership. He ended up starting many games, and I think his leadership skills are overrated. Shaq and Kobe might listen if this guy had any rings, but all he really has is a conference championship, which isn't exactly eye-popping. He tried to provide the same role for Dallas a few years ago and flopped, which is pretty much how I would describe this season. He is a FA who might work for the minimum again, but might retire. If it comes down to a roster spot for him or Fisher, I go with Fish... perhaps he may agree to be the IR jockey next season who will practice, teach, and be available should the one of the other guys get injured.

Tyronn Lue- I love this guy, he was the only Laker who can claim to have played at full speed in every minute he played. Sure he's tiny and makes mistakes, but his energy and effort are infectious, if not to the other players... then to the crowd. His defense is underated as he is as pesky as they come, his shot could use some work but he shoots with confidence, and he gets up the court as fast as anyone on the planet. He is signed through 2003 and should be a good player by then. May be given the opportunity to try out for the starting spot in the fall.

Overall- This is probably the second weakest spot on the team as there is no clear favorite to start next season. They could try to upgrade this position, but at their draft postion no PG left will have the talent to compete with Fish & Lue, let alone Harper. They may try to trade up to get Miller or Davis as both are local guys, but I doubt Jerry can swing a deal for either. On the whole there will probably be little change at PG here in the offseason, as the players are all of stable nature, unless someone like Payton becomes available.

Shooting Guard:

Kobe Bryant- Say what you will about his shot selection, and turnovers, but Iverson had a lower shooting percentage, and more TO's. I have to admit he likes to make things hard on himself with his mediocre turnaround jumper, but at times he is pure genius. Some will criticize lack of improvement, or maturity... but he is only 21. He may not have the college credentials of Jordan or Magic, but at the same age it would be hard to claim either was better than Kobe. Whether he joins that caliber of player remains to be seen, but he is not the source of the Laker problems...PERIOD!

He may need to work on defense but he did show flashes of brilliance this season. I actually thought he played better at SF earlier in the season, but the team as a whole was playing better, so its hard to judge, however I would suggest they experiment more with this possibility. Would have been a FA after this season, but was locked up for seven at the maximum.

Rick Fox- Yeah he's more of a SF but the difference is negligible, and he logged more minutes backing up Kobe than anyone else... so I'll review him here. The guy plays hard and tough but at times he looked like a thug this season, and I think the frustration might have set in. A good shooter, tough defender, finesse penetrator, and team player there is little to argue with when talking about his skills. Unfortunately for the Lakers he may have had it with their bickering ways. A FA who gave up money under a $1.75-mil exemption in order to win a title, he may leave. This would be a shame because he deserved better.

Ruben Patterson- As stated earlier he has athleticism, and D but no shot and no confidence. If you disagree with the last statement, check out how many layups he missed... I bet he led the league per minute played. Patterson is apparently a good practice player though, and as a FA my guess is that he is given the choice to come back and fight for a roster spot, or leave on good terms.

Overall- Kobe is locked up for the next seven, and backup SG's are a dime a dozen, so the Lakers are in pretty good shape here.

Small Forward:

Glen Rice- As the key to what I consider to be the worst trade the Lakers ever made, I already have something against this guy. He did a lot of complaining and I'm not sure that any of it helped. At times he seemed like a superstar, and others a black hole. On defense he reminded all just how good Eddie Jones was... as Rice constantly missed defensive switches or helping with the double-team. He has a one year team option at I beleive $14-mil, which is steep. One posibility is that the Lakers pass on the option, and then either sign him at a lower price, or sign and trade for a PG or PF. If they do keep him I would try moving him to SG and Kobe to SF as Kobe is a better rebounder.

Robert Horry- Talk about going downhill... Horry one of the key members of the championship Rockets, he is now a part-time role player. The reasons: 1) he lost his outside shot, 2) he forgot how he used to play GREAT defense, and 3) he rarely uses the athleticism he was blessed with anymore. There is still a chance for this guy, and Phil Jackson might help, but don't hold your breath. Horry is also tied into a ridiculous longterm deal that pays him something like five a year for the next five... making him untradeable!

Sam Jacobson- So many have hyped him recently but I can't figure out why. I know he has a good shot, but if he's so good how come he couldn't push Patterson off the roster onto the IR? Did not play a minute (that I can remember) so I won't judge him further. Jacobson is signed to a 3+1 rookie contract and may end up somewhere along the lines of a Jon Barry (who the Lakers chose not to resign).

Overall- This position has the talent/personnel, just not the right stability/chemistry. They may be tmpted to tinker, but I would give it one more season.

Power Forward:

J.R. Reid- I may never forgive him for shattering AC Green's face (even though AC has), but his game merits neither praise nor scorn. I mean the guy is a has-been/never-was that played about as mediocre as possible. If anything can be said it must be stated that no team that starts this guy will ever win a championship... he just doesn't care enough. JR is a FA and probably wo't be signed by the Lakers for anything above the veteran minimum.

Travis Knight- This guy is not a center, he proved that in Boston, and nothing has changed. He is however a young,decent power player who compliments Shaq. He is tall, runs well, and moves great without the ball (especially on the weak side). Most importantly he has no ego and requires no special plays to be effective. The only knock on him has been his defense, on which he is foul prone. In defense of his defense, I would mention that many of his fouls are a result of someone else's error. Either Shaq or somebody blew a coverage, or the coach let him guard somebody he was incapable of guarding (like Karl Malone). He is not an innocent victim on D but he is far from the joke he is portrayed as. Knight has a long term deal for five more years at three each.

Overall- This is the weakest position with no clear starter, and no one with starter level talent. This is where they will focus their draft, should they decide to draft on need. Otherwise look for some off-season action.


Shaquille O'Neal- There isn't much I can say that hasn't already been said here, except that while blessed with superstar talent, his ego and maturity for the most part are bush league. If you don't agree check out that replay of his scissor lock on Chris Dudley... I mean did he expect Chris to give him a clear path to the hoop just cause he's "the diesel?" As a Laker and Shaq fan I'm glad Dudley beaned him with the ball, maybe one day he'll stop being such a bully. And if anyone can help him get there Phil Jackson can. Shaq has the option to get out of his contract, but even if he is dissatified with LA, he would end up making less money... which is something Mr. Ego-tron would never do.

Sean Rooks- Another scapegoat for the teams troubles, but its not Sean's fault that he has little talent. Plays well on the offensive side, but needs work on defense. Considering some of the offensive talent on this team one would hope to get the opposite from Shaq's replacement, but he is signed for four more years at $2-mil per, which means he'll continue to be the backup.

Overall- Although Shaq may be a problem, he is not going anywhere since his trade value could never equal his real value. Thus the Lakers are stuck at this position with more that capable players who just have limitations.


Kurt Rambis- He would have been a good coach if he had been given the time to mature, or at the very least a stable situation. Unfortunately, Clark Kent won't get either as he was replaced by Phil Jackson. Its to bad the Lakers were unable to keep him around to groom under Jackson, but I guess when you sign a coach for seven years, you don't groom anybody.

Phil Jackson- I'm not the biggest fan of his, but every coaching situation is different (look at what Chris Ford did with the Clipps for instance) and I won't form an opinion until I get a test drive.

Overall- The Lakers, unlike with player personnel, haven't had a game plan regarding their coaches since Riley left years ago. Lets hope they get one.

Front Office:

Jerry West- I can't figure him out anymore, he seems to have let his passion and expertise drift into reckless obsession. He either learned from this season, or is only going to go downhill from here on.

Jerry Buss/Magic Johnson- Meddling owners beware... look at Los Angeles before you decide to tinker. The Lakers (and Dodgers for that matter) have become the poster children for owners who aren't content to just own. The moral of the story is that just because you have a lot of money doesn't mean you can run a sports franchise. If you need an example look at Buss'es involvment in the Campbell-Jones trade and the Rodman disaster.

Team Needs:

The biggest thing this team needs is stability. Asside from that there is a glaring hole at PF and an eventual upgrade needed over last years point play.

Players Considered:

At this point in the draft there is no point guard left who will guaruntee an upgrade, so they will probably look for a PF. Another option is that Jerry West takes the best available player regarless of position as he often has in the past (e.g. the Jones pick, while Peeler and Ceballos were the most reliable starters at the time).

AJ Bramlett/Calvin Booth, both remind me very much of Elden Campbell, in size, athletic ability, shot blocking and compact offensive game, either would be a good pick.

Todd MacCullough- falls into the best available player category, although he would have to battle Rooks for minutes and has the same problems: good offense, no defense.

Jamal Magloire- I can't stand this guy, he isn't half the player Mohammed was and yet he came out early... has a widebody and shotblocking.

Kenny Thomas/Lee Nailon- Both are PFs known more for offense than D and would probably struggle with the Lakers.

Chris Herren- Possible PG, could not win in college and he has shaky personality...not the kind of player you want to lock into a 4yr rookie deal.

Wayne Turner/Art Lee/Vonteego Cummings- Other PG prospects who could help a few years from now, but not right away.

Fredric Weis- West may beleive that he is the French Vlade, and he could help againt the Blazers and Spurs.

Lari Ketner- Maybe the most overrated, bad attitude in the draft.

Quincy Lewis- pretty good player with size and ahooting ability, who at this point who would fall into best avaiable category.

Trajan Langdon- Their is always talk on a Shaq team about the need for a pure shooter, Phil Jackson could turn him into a Steve Kerr type specialist.

Quentin Hall- okay this Gonzaga Bulldog has no chance of being drafted since he played at a small school, and is maybe 5-8... but I was so impressed with his play in the tournament that I would definitely invite this guy to training camp. He was by far the quickest player in the NCAA this year, had a deadly outside shot, and is a steady ball-handler/passer. He probably won't make it in this league, but many said the same about Darrel Armstrong, Muggsy Bogues, Michael Adams, Spud Webb, and Avery Johnson; and those guys have done just fine.

My Selection:

7-2 Fredric Weis France

As stated above the Lakers have a major need at power forward, and could upgrade the point guard spot. Unfortunately at this point in the draft they are unable to do either. Had Bramlett or Booth been around they would have been my selection but as the talent begins to thin out other GM's had the same idea. At point guard there is a big drop off after Terry and Avery. The only point guard left who has a chance to be anything other than a backup, is Chris Herren. Unfortunately he was unable to make Fresno St. a winning program, despite playing in the WAC. Also as touched upon above, I would hesitate to draft Herren in the first round because a four year rookie contract is far to risky for a guy with his past. Trajan Langdon was a possibility but given his knee problems and relative lack of athleticism he to is a risk for a guaranteed deal. So who is left but the 7-2 frenchman who I have never seen play.

Weis may not be the best prospect available, or even be what the Lakers are in need of... but he gives the Lakers something no other players in the draft can... options! Apparently Weis has stated that if his contract is not worth at least $3-mil per, he will remain in Europe. Since he is being picked at #23 that money won't be available, he is likely to stay overseas. Some may consider this a bad thing but for a team with not much cap room, and not many free agents, the last thing they want to do is lock up a future hack (like Kenny Thomas for instance)to a roster spot for the next four seasons. Eventually in a few years more will be known about Weis (like the status of his back) and his abilities, and the choice on whether to sign him can then be made. So at the very worst he ends up a wasted pick in a weak draft. On the flipside he could get some more experience across the pond and become a Vlade/Zydrugas caliber of player. In that scenario the team ends up having to choose between him and Shaq and where they want their franchise to go. I know that sounds optimistic but with this pick it seems like they can't lose.

On a final note, the Lakers also posess the 31st pick. Should Langdon, or Herren be around at that point, both are worth selecting.

Who They Will Probably Select:

I expect Jerry west to try and use Glen rice as trade bait to acquire either Baron Davis, Andre Miller, or Elton Brand. unfortunately I don't think anyone will bite and West will proably take the best player available. Possibilities include: Bramlett, Booth, Lewis, Langdon, Thomas, and Weis.

Other Offseason Moves:

The most obvious question is whether they trade Rice for a legitimate power forward? I suspect they won't, just because Rice's trade value is way down right now and they would just end up creating more instability. Here are other moves they should/could make:
  1. Resign Rick Fox if he is willing... especially if Rice goes.
  2. Resign Derek Fisher to a reasonable contract.
  3. Sign Derek Harper as sort of a IR player/coach... not as a veteran who expects minutes.
  4. Let JR Ried go, he doesn't do anything except take minutes away from Knight.
  5. Sign a veteran power forward who will bring real leadership and toughness like a Charles Oakley, or Showtime favorite AC Green.
  6. Get Jerry West some rest or at least figure out what he is thinking.
  7. Figure out a way to apologize to Kurt Rambis who was given a horrendous first coaching gig.
  8. Tell Magic to butt out and keep his mouth shut to the press, it only undermines the team.

That is pretty much it, I hope I did not ramble or disappoint anybody. Please feel free to email all your comments to

Craig Simpson - Usenet Draft Commissioner

Visit My Home Page