Lakers meeting with projected lottery picks proof trade isn't the only option

The Los Angeles Lakers reportedly have workouts setup for three potential lottery picks. It's proof that trading picks for talent isn't the only option.
NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament   - National Championship
NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament - National Championship / Mitchell Layton/GettyImages

The Los Angeles Lakers are in the midst of an offseason in which decisions must be made about the proper path to success. It's an impossibly subjective decision when weighing the simple fact that the two franchise players, LeBron James and Anthony Davis, may be nearing the end of their respective primes.

While trading picks for established talent is a path that the Lakers may yet explore, it appears the door has not yet been closed on adding promising young talent to the roster via the Draft.

Los Angeles currently has the No. 17 and No. 55 overall selections in the 2024 NBA Draft. Sitting just outside of the lottery range, the front office is taking the initiative in working out several players who could unexpectedly slide to the 17th pick.

According to Jonathan Givony of ESPN, three of the players who the Lakers have either scheduled or completed workouts for include three projected lottery picks: Devin Carter, Zach Edey, and Ron Holland.

The biggest name on that list is Edey, the two-time defending National College Player of the Year. Standing at 7'3.75" and 299 pounds with a ridiculous near 7'11" wingspan, Edey is one of the most physically imposing prospects in recent memory.

Coming off of a season in which he averaged 25.2 points, 12.2 rebounds, 2.0 assists, and 2.2 blocks per game, Edey is a proven commodity on the court. In pre-draft workouts, however, he'll look to prove that his lack of elite athleticism will not be an impediment at the next level.

If the Lakers are looking to emulate the success experienced by the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2023-24, then pairing Davis with Edey could be a massive move.

Carter, meanwhile, has been eliminating skeptics at every turn over the past year. He won the Big East Player of the Year award in 2023-24, improving his three-point and free-throw percentages while continuing to be one of the best defensive prospects in his class.

Some still question if the 6'2" Carter can be a point guard in the NBA, but with a near 6'9" wingspan, there could be positional versatility.

As for Holland, he finished the 2023-24 G League regular season with averages of 20.6 points, 6.6 rebounds, 3.2 assists, and 2.5 steals per game. His jump shot is still an area of concern, but at just under 6'7" with a near 6'11" wingspan, there are compelling physical tools that have scouts intrigued.

With a 38.0" vertical and impressive quickness for his size, Holland is one of the top upside plays in this draft class.

In all three cases, these are players with extraordinary upside, but concerns that may lead them to fall just outside of the lottery range. In the event that such a result transpires, the Lakers would have an opportunity to add a high-ceiling player on a low-cost deal.

A trade for a proven commodity is certainly appealing to think about, but if Los Angeles is to navigate the pitfalls of limited cap space, the NBA Draft shouldn't be ruled out as an option to improve through.

The right draft pick could help the Lakers in the short term while also contributing beyond the reach of the current superstar tandem. It's something Rob Pelinka needs to think about since James will turn 40 during the 2024-25 season and Davis will be 32.

Thankfully, the Lakers are leaving their options open and allowing the 2024 NBA Draft process to play out without simply assuming that a trade would be the better choice.