The Los Angeles Lakers have now hosted all four of the top prospects in the 2017 NBA Draft, rounding things off by working out Markelle Fultz Thursday. They have a second workout and meeting lined up with Lonzo Ball on Friday, but they aren’t done scouting their options just yet.
The Lakers are pushing to land a workout with Duke lottery prospect Jayson Tatum, according to Chad Ford’s of ESPN’s latest draft update. LA’s front office is reportedly interested in getting a better idea about Tatum, who’s projected to go fourth-overall to the Phoenix Suns in the latest DraftExpress mock draft.
It’s not because the Lakers are interested in drafting Tatum with the second overall pick, though. They view him as a viable option if they decided to trade down somewhere in the top-four, according to Ford’s sources.
Los Angeles is considering trade options that would leave them with either De’Aaron Fox or Tatum, along with additional assets, if they move down from No. 2 to a spot or two back. He’s an interesting prospect, with a “traditional” wing skillset built around his ability to score out of isolation.
His drawbacks and positional ambiguity make his fit in a frontcourt working to develop Brandon Ingram, Julius Randle, Ivica Zubac and Larry Nance, Jr. questionable to say the least, however. That’s likely one of the reasons the Lakers haven’t made it a priority to meet with the Duke Blue Devil.
Here’s what Ford had to say about how Tatum fits into the equation, and the kind of trade scenarios the Lakers are looking at with one week until the draft (via ESPN Insider):
But another scenario has piqued the franchise's interest. The Lakers held internal discussions about trading back two spots to No. 4 if the Suns were to offer them a 2018 first-round pick. The Suns hold their own 2018 pick (which currently projects to be a high lottery pick) as well as the rights to the Miami Heat's 2018 pick. The latter pick is top-seven-protected in 2018 but unprotected in 2019.
The Lakers believe that Ball or Jackson might be available at the No. 4 spot. If not, the Lakers are still very high on Fox and Tatum, and believe that securing an additional prospect might be worth dropping two spots in the draft.
The Lakers are jab stepping every which way, but one thing that’s clear is how prepared the front office wants to be for various scenarios that could play out in the next week. That’s something the previous regime did a good job of as well during the pre-draft process, but it’s notable nonetheless.