The Los Angeles Lakers don't know whether or not they will even get to keep their top-three protected first round draft pick, but it hasn't stopped the team from interviewing prospects they could select with it. The Lakers have been busy at the NBA Draft combine in Chicago this week, and have already sat down for interviews with top draft prospects like Brandon Ingram, Jaylen Brown, and Jamal Murray.
The team continued the trend on Friday with an interview with Draft Express' ninth-ranked draft prospect, freshman power forward Henry Ellenson of Marquette, according to Mark Medina of the L.A. Daily News. Ellenson cited his ability to "knock down shots and put the ball on the floor" when explaining to reporters what he thought had allowed him to have so much success, but it still seems highly unlikely that Los Angeles' front office would be high enough on Ellenson to take him with a top-three pick. Our own college basketball expert Ben Rosales agrees:
Ellenson is a power forward with prototypical size, and has a fairly versatile offensive game. He has good shooting mechanics, can handle the ball, is able in the post, and thus able to make things happen on that end despite a lack of explosion. Think Nikola Mirotic here.
However, he is weak on defense. He is heavy legged, so he struggles in space and has poor defensive awareness. If he was a few inches taller, he'd have enormous intrigue as a center option for LA, but as it stands, he's a PF sans the intrigue of someone like Bender who could fill in the center spot down the line. As for why the Lakers are interviewing him, I'd imagine a good chunk of it is due diligence.
So while Mitch Kupchak and company are unlikely to actually select Ellenson, it's still encouraging that their process has involved checking up on the widest range of prospects possible while they have the chance.
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