4. Los Angeles Lakers — Jarrett Culver
6-6 wing, sophomore, Texas Tech

What an incredible stroke of luck for the Lakers, who now get yet another additional asset to go out and either help LeBron James with, or to potentially acquire a star with. My bet is that they would rather use this pick as part of a trade to acquire that star. Think Anthony Davis, Bradley Beal, guys like that. Beal particularly stands out if the Pelicans end up getting a better offer for Davis than the No. 4 pick, Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, and Kyle Kuzma (that sticks out as a very legitimate offer). But if they end up keeping the pick, they’ll have to make a call on whether or not they think any of these players can help their team sooner rather than later.

In my opinion, Culver is that guy. The team has really struggled at the 2-guard spot over the last two years. One of the breakout stars of the college basketball season, the Texas Tech wing has developed into a high-level shot creator who also plays well within a team construct. He’s a terrific ball-handler and playmaker, with the ability to get to his pull-up jumper with ease. He’s also improved dramatically as a jump shooter, going from a left-eye dominant sling shooter to a shooter who brings the ball up from the middle of his body and can knock down shots. He still needs to iron out a few things at the top of the jumper, including a small hitch. Overall though, it’s easy to imagine him as the 2-guard, secondary ball-handler, given his size at 6-foot-6 and creativity. Defensively, he still has some room to grow, but he has good feel on that end from playing in Texas Tech’s defense-first scheme. Particularly, his hands are disruptive and he gets a lot of steals when offensive players bring the ball low or when he gets out into passing lanes. The fit here is too strong to pass up, but I will note that there continues to be some ambivalence to Culver among NBA executives, who question his athleticism and ability to become a true difference maker.

This pick could also be an interesting, tell-tale sign into how much power James has within the walls of the Staples Center. Point guard Darius Garland would be an intriguing fit next to Ball. His shot-making as a pull-up shooter would really complement all of the winning plays Ball makes on both ends of the floor. Additionally, Ball could help cover over some of Garland’s mistakes. It also doesn’t hurt that Garland is represented by Klutch Sports, James’ own agency. How this aspect of the proceedings play out if the Lakers keep the pick will be fascinating.