In news that won't exactly come as a shock to anyone, the Los Angeles Lakers are no longer interested in taking Dragan Bender with the second overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, according to David Pick of Bleacher Report. Pick reports this likely means the team has settled on taking Brandon Ingram, which is where most expect the Duke forward to end up if the Philadelphia 76ers do as expected and take Ben Simmons first overall.
Bender is the third-ranked prospect on Draft Express after averaging 2.1 points and 1.4 rebounds per game in just 10.6 minutes a contest for Maccabi Tel Aviv in Euroleague play. Those numbers may not sound worthy of a high draft pick, but Bender's paltry box score averages belie his potential. The Croatian big man measures in at just under 7'1 with a prodigious 7'2 wingspan and the ability to handle the ball and shoot from the perimeter. His limited minutes had more to with being so young and the complicated situation for non-domestic players in the Euroleague than any lack of talent.
While Bender may be talented, the Lakers were almost certainly not going to select him as soon as it was announced they would retain their second overall pick in the draft and get a crack at Simmons or Ingram, both of whom project as much surer things. This is news, but it's not surprising.