Maccabi Tel Aviv's Croatian player Dragen Bender fights for the ball against Hapoel JGetty Images

The Lakershave been involved in nearly every trade rumor out there since they landed the No. 2 pick in the 2016 NBA Draft. Los Angeles wants to be a contender ASAP and the only way the storied franchise will get there is if it deals away the pick for a proven talent.

If Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak is prudent, however, he will keep the pick and simply draft Duke's Brandon Ingram ... errr, orrrrr ...Dragan Bender. Kupchak threw many for a loop this week, telling Turner Sports'David Aldridge:

"One is always better than two. If you're one, you can get anybody you want; if you're two, you can get anybody you want, minus one. I'm not sure there's as dramatic a cliff as people think between two and three. Any way you look at it, we feel we'll get an excellent player at two."

Speculation predictablyarose from that comment that Kupchakisn't in love with Ingram and that Bender might be a good choice for LA.


Sorry, not buying. This is probably Kupchaksimplytesting the waters to see if any team would overspend for the chance to draft Ingram.

This week's Mock is the same as last week's, with the Lakers still taking the Dukie.

1. Philadelphia 76ers: Ben Simmons, PF, LSU

2. Los Angeles Lakers: Brandon Ingram, SF, Duke

3. Boston Celtics: Jaylen Brown, SG/SF, California

4. Phoenix Suns: Dragan Bender, PF, Croatia

5. Minnesota Timberwolves: Buddy Hield, SG, Oklahoma

6. New Orleans Pelicans: Kris Dunn, PG, Providence

7. Denver Nuggets: Domantas Sabonis, PF/C, Gonzaga

8. Sacramento Kings: Jamal Murray, PG/SG, Kentucky

9. Toronto Raptors: Malik Beasley, SG, Florida State

10. Milwaukee Bucks: Marquese Chriss, PF, Washington

11. Orlando Magic: Jakob Poeltl, CB, Utah

12. Utah Jazz: Skal Labissierre, PF/C, Kentucky

13. Phoenix Suns: Deyonta Davis, PF/C, Michigan State

14. Chicago Bulls: Dejounte Murray, PG/SG, Washington

15. Denver Nuggets: Henry Ellenson, PF/C, Marquette

16. Boston Celtics: Furkan Korkmaz, SG, Turkey

17. Memphis Grizzlies: Brice Johnson, PF, North Carolina

18. Detroit Pistons: Guerschon Yabusele, PF, France

19. Denver Nuggets: Stephen Zimmerman, PF/C, UNLV

20. Indiana Pacers: Daniel Hamilton, SG/SF, UConn

21. Atlanta Hawks: Malachi Richardson, SG, Syracuse

22. Charlotte Hornets: Diamond Stone, C, Maryland

23. Boston Celtics: Caris LeVert, SG, Michigan

24. Philadelphia 76ers: Denzel Valentine, SG/SF, Michigan State

25. Los Angeles Clippers: Taurean Prince, SF, Baylor

26. Philadelphia 76ers: AJ Hammons, C, Purdue

27. Toronto Raptors: Timothe Luwawu, SG/SF, France

28. Phoenix Suns: Damian Jones, C, Vanderbilt

29. San Antonio Spurs: Cheick Diallo, PF/C, Kansas

30. Golden State Warriors: Tyler Ullis, PG, Kentucky

Second Round

31. Boston Celtics: Thon Maker, PF/C, Australia

32. Los Angeles Lakers: Anthony Barber, PG, NC State

33. Los Angeles Clippers: Michael Gbinije, SG/SF, Syracuse

34. Phoenix Suns: Demetrius Jackson, PG, Notre Dame

35. Boston Celtics: DeAndre Bembry, SF, St. Joseph's

36. Milwaukee Bucks: Wade Baldwin, PG/SG, Vanderbilt

37. Houston Rockets: Joel Bolomboy, PF, Weber State

38. Milwaukee Bucks: Juan Hernangomez, PF, Spain

39. New Orleans Pelicans: Melo Trimble, PG, Maryland

40. New Orleans Pelicans: James Webb, SF/PF, Boise State

41. Orlando Magic: Ante Zizic, C, Croatia

42. Utah Jazz: Patrick McCaw, SG, UNLV

43. Houston Rockets: Ron Baker, SG, Wichita State

44. Atlanta Hawks: Tyrone Wallace, PG/SG, California

45. Boston Celtics: Perry Ellis, PF, Kansas

46. Dallas Mavericks: Wayne Selden, SG, Kansas

47. Orlando Magic: Malcolm Brogdon, SG, Virginia

48. Chicago Bulls: Jaron Blossomgame, SF, Clemson

49. Detroit Pistons: Gary Payton II, Oregon State

50. Indiana Pacers: Isaiah Cousins, PG/SG, Oklahoma

51. Boston Celtics: Josh Hart, SG, Villanova

52. Utah Jazz:PetrCornelie, PF/C, France

53. Denver Nuggets: Zach Auguste, PF, Notre Dame

54. Atlanta Hawks: Isaia Cordinier, SG, France

55. Brooklyn Nets: Rade Zagorac, SG/SF, Serbia

56. Denver Nuggets: Damion Lee, SG, Louisville

57. Memphis Grizzlies: Zhou Qi, C, China

58. Boston Celtics: Pascal Siakam, PF, New Mexico State

59. Sacramento Kings: Danuel House, SG/SF, Texas A&M

60. Utah Jazz: Petr Cornelie, PF/C, France

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