Walton only Cat drafted

Luke Walton failed to go in the first round of the NBA Draft, but was the 32nd overall selection of the Los Angeles Lakers. Walton will go to a team that has two of the best players in the NBA, but failed to win their fourth straight NBA title, falling to eventual champion San Antonio.

Luke Walton was the second pick of the Lakers, who selected fellow senior Brian Cook in the first round. Both players are combo forwards and will fill immediate needs for the Lakers. The Lakers need players who can fill in at both the small and power forwards. Both look to be perfect players in the triangle offense.

"Our offense calls for guys who can pass and both Cook and Walton are good passers," Lakers' coach Phil Jackson told ESPN. "They'll be good additions to our club."

Walton is from Southern California, but did not grow up a Lakers fan.

"I grew up watching my dad play with the Celtics," Walton said on ESPN's draft broadcast. "We were Celtic fans when we were younger. As I grew older I started watching the Lakers. They are a great franchise."

Walton is one of the best passers in the draft and that will make scorers like Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant happy. He's a good rebounder but injuries and his quickness are concerns. With the injury to Rick Fox and Robert Horry getting older, there could be immediate playing time for Walton.

"The Lakers have a great tradition and great organization," Walton said. "I think it's a great fit for me."

He is the first Wildcat drafted by the Lakers and had he gone in the first round, he would have been part of the eighth father/son combo to go in the first round. Ironically enough Cook was the seventh.

Walton is one of the smartest players in the draft and you can bet that Phil Jackson will like that.

"He knows how to play the game," Jackson said.

He was the lone Wildcat drafted. Neither Rick Anderson nor Jason Gardner heard there names called on draft night. Both will try to latch on with teams as free agents.

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