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Lakers, Knicks, Cavs, Pelicans, Jazz, Timberwolves, Julius Randle, Larry Nance Jr, Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, D'Angelo Russell

Leftover Lakers: How LA’s 2014-17 NBA Draft picks are thriving elsewhere

From 2014-17, the Los Angeles Lakers drafted numerous players that have turned into solid players at the NBA level. LA decided to risk it all and trade their entire young core at the time of Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, and Josh Hart to the New Orleans Pelicans in 2019 in order to acquire Anthony Davis. That turned out to be a smart move, as AD helped LeBron James and the Lakers win an NBA title in 2020.

Nonetheless, a lot of these former LA draft picks have found a home quite nicely elsewhere. Here’s a brief look at each player.

Julius Randle- New York Knicks

Julius Randle is arguably one of the best former Lakers who was drafted during this time span. The former Kentucky star was the seventh overall pick by LA in the 2014 draft and went on to play four seasons for the Lakers, averaging 13 points during his time at the Staples Center.

Randle became a free agent in the summer of 2018, eventually inking a two-year deal with the Pelicans. After spending just one season in NOLA, he signed with the Knicks. This was the start of something really special.

Although Randle averaged 21 a game with the Pels, it really wasn’t until this season where the forward became a legitimate player in this league. Randle has been the focal point of Tom Thibodeau’s offense, averaging career-highs across the board of 23 points, 10.7 boards, and six assists. He’s also shooting 40% from downtown, a drastic improvement from last year’s 27% clip.

Thanks to his impressive campaign, Randle was named to his very first All-Star team. In the process, the former Lakers big man currently has the Knicks in the playoff race.

Larry Nance Jr.- Cleveland Cavaliers

Larry Nance Jr. was selected out of Wyoming with the 27th pick in the 2015 draft by the Lakers and went on to play 2.5 seasons in the Purple and Gold before he was traded during the 2018 season to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Nance Jr has been there since, averaging 9.6 points and 7.6 rebounds through four seasons with the Cavs. He’s dealt with injury problems in 2020/21, limiting him to just 29 games.

There was never a lot expected out of Nance Jr offensively but he’s shown the ability to get buckets at times. On the defensive end, he has been one of Cleveland’s best stoppers while also showing a serious presence on the boards.

Nance Jr has been able to carve out a respectable career for himself and seems happy with the Cavs.

D’Angelo Russell- Minnesota Timberwolves

D’Angelo Russell was a superstar coming out of Ohio State, which resulted in the Lakers nabbing him with the second overall pick in 2015. He averaged 14.3 points across two seasons in LA before Russell was shipped off to Brooklyn in the summer of 2017 for Brook Lopez and the draft rights to current Laker, Kyle Kuzma.

Russell thrived in two seasons with the Nets, even making his very first All-
Star team in the second year after posting career highs in points and assists. In the summer of 2019 though, he was sent to the Warriors in a sign and trade package for Kevin Durant. Russell only lasted half a season in the Bay Area, averaging a career-high 23.6 points per game. But, they decided to go in a different direction, trading him to Minnesota in exchange for Andrew Wiggins.

Despite Russell being moved around a lot already in just six years in the league, he’s a solid player who can get buckets and dish out dimes. His time with the Lakers might have been short, but the former Buckeye is still one of the better players in the league with the Wolves, when healthy.

Ivica Zubac- Los Angeles Clippers

Ivica Zubac was drafted in the second round, 32nd overall, by the Lakers in the 2016 draft out of his homeland of Bosnia. The big man played a limited role in LA across two and a half seasons before a trade sent him to the Clippers midway through the 2018/19 campaign.

Nowadays, Zubac is a key piece of Ty Lue’s rotation, averaging nine points and 7.3 rebounds in 2020/21 with the Clips. He started 70 games last season and has played a career-high 22.2 minutes this year.

Brandon Ingram- New Orleans Pelicans

One of the key pieces that went to the Pelicans for Anthony Davis, Ingram averaged just 13.9 points across three seasons with the Lakers. A change of scenery has been massive for him though, making an All-Star team during his first campaign in NOLA.

The former Duke standout has been a crucial part of New Orleans’ squad alongside Zion Williamson. Ingram has a smooth jumper and is nice with it from downtown, dropping just under 25 a night in two seasons with the Pels.

It looks like leaving the Lakers was the best thing for Ingram’s career, despite not making the playoffs quite yet.

Lonzo Ball- New Orleans Pelicans

There were also doubts as to how Ball would fare playing in LA where he grew up. Lonzo got his fair share of minutes though with the Lakers, averaging 10 points and 6.6 assists in 34.2 minutes per contest across two seasons.

After landing in NOLA in the AD trade as well, Ball has been the ultimate playmaker for this team and one of the more gifted passers in the association. Despite being linked to a trade deadline move, the former UCLA Bruin is putting up a career-high 14 points per game.

Josh Hart- New Orleans Pelicans

As you can see, there was a gigantic haul in order to get Davis from the Pelicans. Hart was acquired by the Lakers on a draft-night trade with the Utah Jazz in 2017 and ultimately shipped to New Orleans after two seasons in LA.

More of a bench guy than anything, Hart is a role player for the Pels, averaging just under 10 points per night. He’s currently out with a thumb injury though, but his ability to score and grab rebounds plays a vital part in the New Orleans second unit.

Jordan Clarkson- Utah Jazz

Can you say Sixth Man of the Year? Jordan Clarkson is the heavy favorite to win the award this season with an impressive Utah Jazz squad. He’s jumped around quite a bit since being acquired by the Lakers in a draft-night trade in 2014. Clarkson was a late second-round pick, but he’s developed into a solid player at the NBA level.

Clarkson spent four seasons in LA, spending time in the starting lineup and coming off the bench. But, he’s found the most success as a second unit player, averaging a career-high 17.4 points in 2020/21 and proving to be a very important part of the Jazz.

For Clarkson’s career, he is dropping 15.1 points while shooting 34.3% from three-point range. Not bad for a 46th overall pick.