Lakers pre-draft workouts provide insight into NBA Draft ambitions

The Los Angeles Lakers hosted pre-draft workouts for three players who may provide insight into what Rob Pelinka is looking for at the 2024 NBA Draft.
Alabama v North Carolina
Alabama v North Carolina / Ronald Martinez/GettyImages

The Los Angeles Lakers are in possession of two selections at the 2024 NBA Draft. In turn, the opportunity to improve has presented itself before concerns about finances and trade pieces can exclusively dominate offseason conversations.

In a round of recent pre-draft workouts, Los Angeles may have tipped their hand on what it is that the front office is looking for in a potential incoming rookie.

With the 17th and 55th overall selections, the Lakers could potentially add two rotational pieces as soon as this month. The timelines along which they project to develop may not lean towards the short-term, but acquiring developable talent appears to be a priority.

According to NBA insider Adam Zagoria, the Lakers hosted pre-draft workouts with four players who may shed light on what the organization prefers in a prospect.

All four players are currently projected to be second-round draft picks or to potentially go undrafted, but with the 55th pick in play, they're worth keeping an eye on.

Armando Bacot is the most high-profile name on the list as a key contributor to the North Carolina Tar Heels. Bacot is listed at 6'11" and 240 pounds with a 7'1" wingspan, which he put to great use during his collegiate career.

Bacot averaged a double-double in each of the past three seasons, including his marks of 14.5 points, 10.3 rebounds, 3.2 offensive boards, and 1.5 blocks per game in 2023-24.

Memphis Tigers forward David Jones is perhaps the most productive player the Lakers worked out. Jones, listed at 6'6" and 210 pounds, averaged 21.8 points. 7.6 rebounds, 2.2 steals, and 2.5 three-point field goals made during a senior season in which he was named First Team All-AAC.

With 3-and-D potential and a knack for crashing the boards, that makes two different players with whom the Lakers are emphasizing defensive upside and rebounding.

Tyler Thomas of the Hofstra Pride actually continues that trend despite the fact that he's a guard. He averaged 22.5 points, 5.2 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1.3 steals, and 3.8 three-point field goals made, and has shot at least 37.1 percent from beyond the arc in each of the past two seasons.

Committed to crashing the glass and beyond effective as a three-point shooter, Thomas could help the Lakers in two areas of weakness.

Last on the list is RayJ Dennis, who played a starring role for the 24-11 Baylor Bears in 2023-24. He averaged 13.6 points, 6.7 assists, 3.9 rebounds, 1.4 steals, and 1.1 three-point field goals made this past season, making him the star facilitator of the group.

With a clear emphasis placed on rebounding once again, however, it's become clear that the Lakers are not satisfied after ranking 18th in the NBA in rebounding and 30th in offensive rebounds in 2023-24.

The pre-draft strategy could certainly evolve, but early on, the focus is on addressing a clear flaw and perhaps returning to the approach and strategy that won a title in 2020.