With the NBA Draft Lottery quickly approaching this Tuesday, the Los Angeles Lakers will soon know whether or not they will get to keep their top-three protected first round pick or be forced to send it to the Philadelphia 76ers. The team only has a 55.8 percent chance to keep the pick when the lottery balls are drawn, and thus must prepare for other ways to acquire young talent this offseason.
The Lakers do know they will have the 32nd overall selection in the draft, but they could also look to buy a later second round pick like they did when they bought the 46th overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, Jordan Clarkson, from the Washington Wizards. The team could also try to get in early with the top undrafted free agents to join their summer league team and compete for a roster spot in training camp.
Mitch Kupchak, Jim Buss, and the rest of the Lakers front office appear to be preparing for the latter scenario right now, as Adam Zagoria of SNY reports that the Lakers will bring in Ben Bentil, Derrick Jones, Isaiah Briscoe for predraft workouts in the coming weeks.
Draft Express has Bentil, a sophomore power forward out of Providence, rated the highest of those three prospects, ranking him as the 52nd best player in the draft and the eighth best sophomore. Jones, a freshman forward from UNLV, and Briscoe, a freshman combo guard from Kentucky, are significantly less heralded, with Draft Express ranking them as the 99th and 82nd best prospects in the class, respectively.
A team as talent deprived as the Lakers still needs to find ways to add assets on the fringes, and if the front office sees any of these players as more talented than most other evaluators have them ranked, they might not be afraid to surprise and pick them higher than they were projected, like they did when selecting Larry Nance, Jr. 27th overall a year ago. The team could also offer any of the three potential undrafted free agents significant camp bonuses to join them, as they did with Robert Upshaw, Michael Frazier, and Jonathan Holmes last summer.
The Lakers are working out a ton of prospects over the next few weeks, and appears to be cutting no corners as they scour the pre-draft process for diamonds in the rough.
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