The Los Angeles Lakers are preparing for the 2016 NBA Draft by attending the combine in Chicago this week, and although the team could lose their top-three protected first round pick to the Philadelphia 76ers should it fall to the fourth or fifth selection, they are still interviewing players who could be in play for the third overall pick.
The front office was reportedly "impressed" by their interview with Kentucky's Jamal Murray, Draft Express' sixth-ranked prospect in the draft. The fifth-ranked player on their board is Jaylen Brown, who confirmed on Thursday that he has interviewed with the Lakers as well.
The freshman wing averaged 14.6 points and 5.4 rebounds per game while flashing a ton of defensive potential during his one and only season at the University of California, and he told Mark Medina of the L.A. Daily News that he draws inspiration from the player he would be replacing as the Lakers' starting small forward.
"I try to approach the game the same way," said Brown. "I admire his work ethic. Kobe Bryant, he wakes up at 5:30 every morning, so I'm trying to do the same thing and just catch up to him. If that's what it takes to be where he is, then I'm going to try to do that too."
Brown will need that work ethic if he wants to reach his full potential. The 19-year old already has all of the tools to get to the basket and finish around the rim while playing stellar defense, but if he truly wants to shine, he will need to use those early morning workouts to improve as a shooter after making just 29.4 percent of his three-pointers last season.
If Brown really dedicates himself like he says he will, that combined with the tools he's shown already would make him a more than worthy third overall pick if the Lakers keep their first rounder. They won't know if that's the case until after the lottery takes place on May 17th, but the team is certainly doing their legwork on the available prospects.
All quotes transcribed via Tout. You can follow this author on Twitter at @hmfaigen.