The Los Angeles Lakers began their initial pre-draft scouting process Tuesday, bringing in a round of second-round prospects that are being evaluated in the wide net general manager Mitch Kupchak is casting over the incoming class. This group didn't feature any of the talent available with the second overall pick, but Kupchak spoke with media following the workout and did shed light on where the front office is with their lottery pick.
The Lakers have a chance to draft one of the top talents of the NBA Draft, and while trading the pick will be an option the team will "weigh," Kupchak was clear having the No. 2 pick is valuable to the franchise on it's own, via Lakers.com:
You have to weigh it against who you think you'll get with the second pick. We're a little bit impatient, so if you came across something that would make your team better quicker — it would probably be a veterans — and that's something you would consider.
But there's something to be said about having the No. 2 pick in terms of building going forward. You know you're going to get a really good player. You know you're going to get a player under a contract that you can control for at least five years for a reasonable amount before you have to consider an extension. So those are pluses in addition to getting a heck of a talent.
Los Angeles is in position to draft a franchise center in either Jahlil Okafor or Karl-Anthony Towns, which is a huge step for a team that's trying to get back on track after back-to-back franchise-worst seasons. Kupchak wants to cover all of his bases, however.
When asked about how many players the Lakers hope to host workouts for consideration with the No. 2 pick, Kupchak told media he expects the team to meet with a minimum of four candidates, but he's "hopeful" they'll get a chance to bring in up to eight candidates, via the Lakers' transcript of his interview session.
Kupchak has given hard numbers -- eight prospects at the top he'd like to see, up to 80 throughout all workouts -- on the process at hand. It's not surprising that he'd prefer to see every available top draftee, which aligns with his recent tidbit on being prepared for every scenario on draft night. Okafor and Towns are widely considered the best available prospects, but D'Angelo Russell, Emmanuel Mudiay, Justise Winslow and a handful of other lottery-talent players are definitely worth an up-close look.
The Lakers' next workout is Thursday, and the front office expects workouts with those top players will begin within the next two weeks.