The 2019 NBA Draft process has turned into a battle for three players. The lottery revealed that the Pelicans, Grizzlies, and Knicks will be picking in the top three. The fourth team is the Los Angeles Lakers. With Zion Williamson, Ja Morant, and R.J. Barrett most likely off the board, the Lakers will have to choose carefully whom they want to pair with LeBron James. The Lakers had a disappointing season in James’ first year with the team. They finished outside of the playoffs. This had a lot to do with James missing significant time with a groin injury. Enter Coby White.
Heading into 2019, the Lakers will once again be viewed as a playoff team. The LeBron James effect is real. This is an important draft for the Lakers. They have selected two point guards in the top five over the last four drafts. D’Angelo Russell is now in Brooklyn while Lonzo Ball’s future with the team is up in the air. Could the Lakers be looking for another point guard this summer? Here are three reasons why Coby White might be the answer.
3. Replacement for Ball
With Morant going second in the draft, this leaves White and Darius Garland up for grabs at the point guard position. The Lakers have not hinted where they will be going with this pick, but there have been talks about a Lonzo Ball trade. Ball was in that ridiculous midseason package for Anthony Davis. It is no secret that James wants the Lakers to add Davis. It is hard to imagine a package that does not include Ball. If that is the case, the Lakers will need to find a replacement as soon as possible.
2. Big Time Player in Big City
In New York or Los Angeles, certain personalities cannot handle the bright lights and the big city. It is a different animal relative to playing in Memphis or Utah. White can be the kind of player who relishes the spotlight. He had some of his best games when it mattered the most. Down the stretch of the season, when North Carolina needed a basket, it turned to White.
Despite not performing well against Duke and the best defensive guard in the country, Tre Jones, White averaged 16.1 points per game for Carolina. He delivered a 34-point performance in a win over Syracuse and a 33-point performance in an overtime win against Miami. Against No. 10 Virginia Tech, Coby White led the Tar Heels to a 103-82 win with 27 points, seven rebounds and six assists. The Lakers could select White and get a scoring guard who is not afraid of the big moment.
1. Perfect Fit for LeBron
Throughout LeBron James’ career, the narrative of adding shooters to his teams began. James is Mr. Do-It-All and the best player on the planet. If he has wing players who can shoot, he can get them the ball in the best position. This is why Kyle Korver, James Jones, and Mike Miller always had a spot on a James-led team.
White shot 35.3% from the 3-point line this season at Carolina. He is a 6-5 point guard who can handle the ball and spot up from deep. This sounds like an ideal fit for James. LeBron is going to surround himself with players he feels comfortable challenging and encouraging on the court. Before the 2018 draft, James praised Collin Sexton for his ability. Heading into 2019, it might be Coby White who gets the praise and the chance to play with an all-time great.