We all want to see who the Lakers would pick in order. Scouts and NBA executives have watched prospects all year-long. In some cases, they have seen the prospects even before that.
But who is on the Lakers’ list?
Five names come to mind. These are the five players that were brought in for a second workout. The list includes Marcus Smart, Elfrid Payton, Aaron Gordon, and Zach LaVine. Other players that have been worked out are Julius Randle, Noah Vonleh, Doug McDermott, Nik Stauskas, and P.J. Hairston.
What does this mean? Can we create a team-based draft list based on what we know?
Julius Randle was brought in for a private workout. Perhaps it was assumed that he’d be drafted before the Lakers’ pick. Still, Randle showed strong interest in being a Laker.
Noah Vonleh was brought in with a group workout. His physical tools and workout play have him climbing up the draft charts. Teams just can’t overlook his leaping ability, 3-point shooting ability, rebounding ability, and excellent physical tools. He has one of the largest wingspans of this draft, and a pair of the largest hands in the NBA once he enters the league.
Aaron Gordon is the media darling of Los Angeles. He’s expected to be available at the Lakers pick. Other teams may draft Smart, Randle, or Vonleh, but Gordon is expected to be there definitively.
Elfrid Payton was brought in for his second workout, this time against Marcus Smart. Both players are familiar with each other being on the same Team USA FIBA U-19 teams. He has climbed up the draft charts with excellent workouts and two-way skill level. He may just be worth the #7 pick.
Zach LaVine may be considered a reach, but it depends on one’s perspective. If he’s looked at as a 19-year old player coming out of high school, he’d be in the lottery for sure. But, since he played as a freshman at UCLA as a second or third option, his draft stock dropped to the mid-1st round. The shooting is there. The athleticism is there. The size is there. The ball-handling is there. He just needs strength to finish at the basket with confidence and show better discipline on defense.