The Los Angeles Lakers will work out Henry Ellenson on Saturday as part of their ongoing predraft preparations, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of the Vertical. The power forward out of Marquette is a projected lottery pick and the 13th best available prospect in the 2016 NBA Draft, according to Draft Express.
It has been assumed since the Lakers retained the second overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft Lottery that the team would take either LSU's Ben Simmons or Duke's Brandon Ingram, but general manager Mitch Kupchak has said he isn't sure there is as large of a drop-off between the second overall pick and the third one as many suggest.
Ellenson averaged 17 points and 9.9 rebounds per game on 44.6 percent shooting during his lone season at Marquette, but the 19-year old forward would still seem an unlikely choice given how much lower his stock is when compared to Ingrams' or Simmons'.
The Lakers previously interviewed Ellenson at the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago, and our own college basketball expert Ben Rosales wrote this when asked to evaluate his game at the time:
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.
If the Lakers had the third overall pick there was a tiny chance they might take Ellenson, but those odds dropped astronomically when they received the second overall pick in the lottery.
The front office is likely using this workout as much as an opportunity to develop a relationship and build familiarity with Ellenson and his agent moving forward as they are a chance to evaluate Ellenson for a pick they have this year, because there is always a chance the two sides could find themselves as partners in free agency or a trade of some kind in a few years. Or, in the unlikely event the Lakers trade down in the draft, they may want to make themselves aware of prospects outside of their current range.
The Lakers could defy convention and pick Ellenson, but that's certainly not the most likely scenario here.
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