Zavier Simpson was the first undrafted free agent the Los Angeles Lakers signed after the 2020 NBA Draft.
The Los Angeles Lakers traded their draft pick in the 2020 NBA draft to the Oklahoma City Thunder along with Danny Green in return for Dennis Schröder. Despite not having a pick in the draft, the Lakers still brought two rookies onto the roster for training camp. One of them being Zavier Simpson.
Simpson had a very good four-year career in college with the Michigan Wolverines. His time with the Wolverines started off very slow as he was only averaging 8.7 minutes and 1.6 points per game in his freshman season. However, by the time his senior season rolled around, Zavier Simpson averaged 33.7 minutes, 12.9 points, 7.9 assists, and 4.5 rebounds a game.
Zavier Simpson was also apart of the All-Big Ten Second team twice, the Big Ten All-Defensive first team once, the All-Big Ten Tournament first team once, and the midseason Wooden Award.
Simpson signed with the Lakers on an Exhibit 10 contract. This means that Zavier SImpson is signed to the team on a one-year minimum contract that can be ended at the end of training camp, turned into a two-way deal, or be converted to a regular-season contract. If Simpson lasts 60 days on the South Bay Lakers’ roster, he is entitled to a $50,000 bonus.
Simpson will be a great fit with the Los Angeles Lakers after he continues to develop his game. The first area that he must improve on is his shooting. He shot well from the three-point line in his senior season with the Wolverines.
However, with the three-point line being moved back in the NBA it is unlikely he will be able to continue shooting 36% from three in his rookie season as he did in his senior season.
Along with this, Zavier Simpson must improve his shooting from the free-throw line. In his senior season, he shot an atrocious 57.4% from the line. Along with this, he did not get to the line much during his senior year, only averaging 3.1 attempts per game.
While his shooting does need some work, it is something that can and more likely will be improved by the time that we see him suit up in the purple and gold.
One area of the game that Simpson thrives in is playmaking and facilitating. In his final season with Michigan, he averaged 7.9 assists per game which is very high for college. Simpson at times can be unselfish to a fault. There were multiple times in his career that he passed up easy shots he had himself to try to get a teammate involved in the offense.
Another area that he excels at is rebounding. Especially for his size when you consider that Zavier Simpson is 6’0″ and 190lbs. It is very impressive that he was about to pull in 4.5 rebounds a game last season.
The final area that Simpson is already NBA ready in is defense. While being a bit undersized even for the point guard position, he is athletic and strong enough to hold his own on most NBA point guards already. After a year or two mainly in the G-League, it is likely that Simpson will be a very difficult guard to get around.
When tracking his college career, it is very impressive to see the jump and improvement that Zavier Simpson had made from his freshman to his senior year. It is clear that he is a workhorse and someone who is extremely dedicated to his craft. It is likely we will see this same level of motivation in his NBA career as well.
It is possible that Zavier Simpson could be making a real impact for the Lakers sooner than many may imagine.