A day after the Los Angeles Lakers lucked out and jumped up one spot to receive the second-overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, the majority of the rest of their young players hit the gym to remind the front office of what it already has.
According to Mike Bresnahan of Spectrum Sportsnet, Brandon Ingram, Ivica Zubac, Julius Randle, Jordan Clarkson, David Nwaba, Tyler Ennis, and Larry Nance, Jr. all participated in a “voluntary workout” on Wednesday.
The big headline here is obviously point guard related: It’s somewhat of a surprise to see Tyler Ennis is participating. Ennis is a free agent this summer, although his joining in could just be just a sign that he wants to try and impress the front office and convince them to bring him back more than any omen that his return is a certainty.
But in all seriousness, the point guard-related “thing” that people are going to freak out about here is D’Angelo Russell being the only member of the young core to not be involved, especially because of the trade speculation inevitably swirling around him due to it seeming like a foregone conclusion the Lakers will be drafting Lonzo Ball.
Additionally, there is segment of the fan base and media that enjoy any opportunity to freak out about Russell, but he has a valid excuse to not be in attendance. Tuesday night Russell became the first player to have his jersey retired by his high school, the preps-to-pros factory known as Montverde Academy, so logistically it may have been difficult for him to make it for an early workout in Los Angeles.
It’s probably not a coincidence that so many of the young Lakers hit the gym right after the team got the second-overall pick, however.
With another young player potentially joining the fold, every player in the organization is heavily incentivized to show a new front office that didn’t draft any of them that they’re just as valuable as whoever Lakers President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson and General Manager Rob Pelinka select next month.
That’s without even mentioning that most of the names of players in that workout are going to be featured in trade rumors about Paul George at some point.
All the young Lakers can do right now is follow the advice so many of them were given in exit interviews: get into the best shape of their lives, work on their games and let the chips fall where they may during what promises to be a crazy summer in Los Angeles.
Harrison Faigen is co-host of the Locked on Lakers podcast (subscribe here or listen him chat with Mike Prada of SB Nation about what keeping the second-overall pick means for the Lakers below), and you can follow him on Twitter at @hmfaigen.