2024 NBA Mock Draft: Spurs prioritize two-way talents, Magic land surprise steal

Predicting how the first round of the 2024 NBA Draft will unfold with less than a week to go.
Paris Basket v Bourg en Bresse Basket - Betclic Elite
Paris Basket v Bourg en Bresse Basket - Betclic Elite / Aurelien Meunier/GettyImages
17 of 30
Zach Edey
Purdue v Connecticut / Jamie Squire/GettyImages

Pick No. 17: Los Angeles Lakers select Zach Edey

If there's one team picking in the top twenty that needs to emphasize the importance of contending right away more than the 76ers, it's the team picking right after them, the Los Angeles Lakers. LeBron James is 39 years old and could only have a few seasons left in the tank. They must maximize their window with James. What better way to do that in the draft than by selecting the best player in college basketball the past two seasons?

A towering 7-foot-4 big man with a 7-foot-11 wingspan, Purdue's Zach Edey is an elite threat in the post and would be a massive target for LeBron, one of the best passers of all time. Anthony Davis prefers to play the power forward position rather than center, and Edey could allow Davis to play more minutes at the four position.

Additionally, Edey would help the Lakers matchup with other Western Conference teams, particularly the Denver Nuggets with Nikola Jokic and the Minnesota Timberwolves with their trio of big men, Rudy Gobert, Karl-Anthony Towns, and Naz Reid.

The concerns surrounding Edey are valid, especially his ability to adapt to the modern NBA. Offensively, he is a traditional back-to-the-basket big man. Defensively, he will get exploited in mismatches out on the perimeter against quicker guards. However, at No. 17, Edey is the best player available for the Lakers in terms of someone who can make a significant impact next season.