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Los Angeles Lakers Draft D’Angelo Russell Instead Of Jahlil Okafor At No. 2

USA Today

USA Today

The Los Angeles Lakers headed into the 2015 NBA Draft in one of the most favorable positions of any team in the draft. Los Angeles had the second overall pick in the draft and were given the opportunity to select either Duke’s Jahlil Okafor or D’Angelo Russell out of Ohio State.

Although all signs appeared to be pointing to the Lakers going with Okafor with the second pick, Los Angeles shocked everyone by taking Russell over the former Blue Devil, via Lakers Nation:

Coming into the draft, many draft experts expected the Lakers to take one of the bigs with a chance of the team selecting one of the guards. With their selection, the Lakers decided to take a guard with their pick and drafted Russell to give themselves one the best playmakers and shooters in the draft.

With the NBA becoming a more guard-driven league, selecting Russell rather than Okafor appears to be a move that has signaled a changing of the times. Los Angeles has thrived in the past with dominant big man like Shaquille O’Neal, Wilt Chamberlain, Pau Gasol and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Those days in Los Angeles appear to be over with Russell showing that fact on Thursday.

As for Okafor, the Duke star was taken one pick later with the Philadelphia 76ers taking him with the third pick in the draft. Okafor joins Joel Embiid and Nerlens Noel in Philadelphia making for an awkward situation in the frontcourt.

All three of these players were high lottery picks and considered very talented, but it’d be safe to assume Noel and Okafor will be battling it out to be the starting center if not playing alongside each in the frontcourt.

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