Just because the Los Angeles Lakers are widely expected to select either LSU's Ben Simmons or Duke's Brandon Ingram with the second overall pick doesn't mean they are sitting out of the pre-draft scouting process entirely.
The Lakers still have to make sure there are no players they value over those two, as unlikely as that possibility is, as well as determining who will be a candidate for their 32nd overall pick. The front office also has to look at possible undrafted free agents to sign and take with them to Las Vegas Summer League or invite to training camp.
With this in mind, several Lakers executives attended a pre-draft workout featuring forward Jakob Poeltl and guards Kris Dunn and Tyler Ulis, according to Jonathan Givony of the Vertical. The workout was attended by representatives of all 30 NBA teams, and Givony reports that the Lakers contingent included Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak as well as fellow front office members Glenn Carraro, Jesse Buss and Ryan West.
The Lakers were prevented by league rules from witnessing the portion of the event featuring Dunn and Poeltl due to NBA rules because active NBA players Elfrid Payton, Karl-Anthony Towns, and Tyler Johnson were involved, but Givony writes that the two played well in the workout, with Towns offering Poeltl tips throughout.
Kupchak and company were, however, able to watch a second workout featuring Ulis as well as "Damian Jones, Guerschon Yabusele, Isaia Cordinier, Ron Baker, Santiago Yusta, Alex Poythress and Brandon Austin." According to Givony, Jones helped himself more than any other prospect during this session:
From an upside standpoint no player stood out more than Jones. At 6-11½ and 244 pounds with a 7-4 wingspan and elite leaping ability in space, Jones looked like a plug-and-play NBA big man. His head was at the rim on every dunk attempt, and he continued to rise after he had already dunked. Jones also shot well in drills and proved to be one of the most intriguing long-term prospects in attendance.
While Jones' production this season didn't always match his talent, he did a great job of reminding NBA executives how physically gifted he is. Considering he's only 20 and was a late bloomer in high school, it's not a stretch to say he has one of the highest ceilings of any big man in the draft.
Jones is currently the 22nd ranked prospect on Draft Express, meaning it's plausible but unlikely he could fall to the Lakers with the 32nd overall pick, and from the sound of it, he would be a great pick-and-roll partner for Jordan Clarkson and/or D'Angelo Russell next season if that were to happen.
Ulis, another prospect in that range, reportedly had a good workout as well but is unlikely to fall all the way to Los Angeles' second rounder.
Cordinier, the 39th ranked prospect on Draft Express' board could be a more realistic option for Los Angeles' later pick, and Givony writes that he "made athletic plays, shot well from the perimeter and showed court vision in live competition," which could help the French guard's case if Los Angeles decides they want to add depth at the two.
Yabusele reportedly helped his stock, but power forward is one of the few positions the Lakers are not starved for depth at, making him an unlikely choice. Poythress, Baker, and Yusta are all possible undrafted free agent options who might have done enough to make the Lakers interested in extending them a summer league invite.
None of these guys are particularly flashy options, but the Lakers doing their due diligence on the entire draft field is undoubtedly still a positive.
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