Thursday, June 28, 2012
Lakers trade with Dallas for Johnson-Odom; draft Sacre
By Dave McMenamin
The Los Angeles Lakers didn’t make any major moves to find their way into the first round of Thursday’s NBA draft, but they were able to come away with more than just the last pick.
The Lakers acquired the No. 55 pick from the Dallas Mavericks, Darius Johnson-Odom, for cash considerations believed to be approximately $500,000.
"I think we got lucky being able to buy a pick like we did because we’re limited as to how we can improve our team," Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak told reporters.
Johnson-Odom averaged 15.7 points, 3.1 rebounds and 2.5 assists in his three seasons with Marquette while shooting 44.4 percent from the field and 40.3 percent on 3-pointers. He played his freshman season at Hutchinson Community College.
Johnson-Odom is a 6-foot-2, 215-pound combo guard and was named to the first team All-Big East in his senior season. He is capable of making plays on both ends of the floor as he was named his team’s defensive player of the year as a sophomore.
He likens his game to that of Oklahoma City Thunder guard James Harden, a fellow lefty.
"We kind of are the same people," Johnson-Odom said on a conference call. "He's a little taller than me, but, we are the same."
Johnson-Odom worked out with 11 teams prior to the draft but that list didn't include the Lakers.
ESPN college basketball analyst Jay Bilas described him Johnson-Odom, “a really hard worker who goes after it.”
"You’ll like this kid," Kupchak said. "You’ll like him a lot. He plays really, really hard. Ridiculously athletic. Powerful. Physical. Very, very aggressive. Competitive. He’s fun to watch and I think he’ll be a really, really good player leading into training camp."
Kupchak said the team had Johnson-Odom significantly higher on their draft board -- in the mid to late 30s -- than where he was picked at No. 55.
The Lakers used the pick they went into the night with, No. 60, on Robert Sacre out of Gonzaga.
"The first thing I thought of was, 'Best for last,' " Sacre told reporters on a conference call. "I was selected to go to one of the greatest teams in NBA history."
Sacre, a 7-foot, 260-pound center averaged 11.6 points and 6.3 rebounds on 51.1 percent shooting in his senior season. He finished second all-time in Gonzaga history in blocked shots with 186 over the course of his five-year career and was the West Coast Conference defensive player of the year as a senior.
"Offense wins games and defense wins championships," Sacre said. "I take a lot of pride in my defense and I think I'd be a perfect fit for this team and what I can bring there and bring a lot of energy off the bench and just bring a defensive vibe."
He is also a member of the Canadian national team, averaging 2.4 points and 2.0 rebounds at the 2010 FIBA World Championships in Turkey.
As second-round picks, neither have a guaranteed contract with the team.
"We’re not going to know if these guys are really good enough until they get to training camp in the fall," Kupchak said. "We’re hoping that we get a real good look at them at summer league."
Like Johnson-Odom, Sacre also did not work out with the Lakers before the draft, turning down their invitation because he already had 15 workouts scheduled.
That's not the only thing the pair has in common. They both have connections to Lakers of the past. Johnson-Odom's middle name is Earvin. That's right, as if his Lamar Odom surname replication wasn't enough, his middle name was chosen because of Earvin "Magic" Johnson.
"That’s exactly who my mom named me after," Johnson-Odom said. "I don’t know why. She said that was her favorite player. I wouldn’t tell my dad this, but I think she kind of liked him."
Sacre's Lakers roots are through fellow Gonzaga alumnus Ronny Turiaf, whom he tries to model his game after.
"I'm going to come in, play my butt off, know my role, shut my mouth and try to help Kobe [Bryant] get another ring," Sacre said. "I took [Turiaf's] role when I was at Gonzaga and guess what? I'm going to take his role in L.A."