The Los Angeles Lakers announced they will host six more players on Wednesday as the front office continues to search for another gem late in the first round of the 2018 NBA draft. The group will feature big names like Dayton’s Kostas Antetokounmpo, the younger brother of Giannis Antetokounmpo, Duke’s Gary Trent Jr. and Villanova’s Omari Spellman as well as West Virginia’s Jevon Carter, Brigham Young University’s Elijah Bryant and San Diego State’s Trey Kell.
Spellman and Carter are listed as top-50 prospects in Jonathan Givony of ESPN’s top 100 prospects, while Gary Trent Jr. just missed the cut at No. 53.
While none of the players present at Wednesday’s workout will likely be an option with the Lakers’ No. 25 pick, a few of them would be fine selections when the Lakers are on clock with the No. 47 pick, namely Spellman.
Here’s what Silver Screen and Roll’s in-house draft analyst Ben Rosales had to say about this group of prospects:
This is likely the best group of prospects the Lakers have had come into their gym thus far during draft workout season, featuring three solid options for their second round pick, most of whom likely will not be on the board as a result.
Trent is the most likely to be off the board, as a top-10 high school prospect who was lost in the mix at Duke as a fourth or even fifth option at times and mostly asked to provide floor spacing. And to be fair, he did that with aplomb, hitting 40.2% of his threes at over six attempts per game, but his creation bona fides are more questionable, and while he has the strength and length to check either wing spot, he was more serviceable than impactful defender at the college level. Still, his pedigree and shooting are valuable and that he’ll be only 19 on draft day is a big plus in his corner.
Carter is on the much older side of the equation as a four-year senior who cut his teeth as one of the best defenders in all of college basketball. Despite being relatively diminutive (6’1’’ in shoes with a 6’4’’ wingspan and only a 7’11’’ standing reach), Carter is powerfully built and frequently hounded opposing ballhandlers full court and at the point of attack with relentless energy (WVU plays a near-constant press and Carter kept that up for nearly 35 minutes a night) and incredible hands (career 4.4 STL%).
While almost certainly a mono-positional defender at the next level, Carter is perhaps the best expression of that archetype one could hope for, especially in a change-of-pace backup. On the other end, Carter’s more limited with only so-so point guard bona fides and handle and his outside shot is inconsistent. And given his size, it is unsurprising that Carter has issues creating separation and finishing at the rim, all of which renders him much more of a secondary creator at the next level.
Still, Carter’s D and the possibility of serviceable offense offer a good deal of value and he would be a slam dunk pick at 47.
I’ve spoken in the past on Spellman (in short: nice prospect but duplicative with Bryant), so I’ll opine briefly on Kostas. While the name certainly will get traction, Kostas projects as a very different player than his brother, as should he happen to stick, it’ll be almost certainly as a smallball five.
Kostas has the length to pull that off, and he displayed some promising shot blocking instincts at Dayton but he’s far behind from an overall basketball IQ standpoint and his lack of production at Dayton, even given the crappy situation, doesn’t augur well for a very raw prospect with almost no offensive game who will turn 21 early this next season.
Antetokounmpo’s combine testing also wasn’t great, as while he can jump decently high for a five (35’’ max vertical), his lane agility (12.4 seconds) was significantly less impressive and kneecaps a lot of the potential dynamism you’re trying to get from having someone like him as a five. Insofar as LA is concerned, Kostas is a possible undrafted or even two-way flier as someone who can be stashed with the SBL for a year, but he’s a long way from producing anytime soon.
As Ben notes, the Lakers might be hesitant to draft another big man with similar upside to that of Thomas Bryant. If that holds true, they could take a look at Trent Jr., who plays a position of need at shooting guard.
Trent Jr. had himself a nice outing at the NBA draft combine last week and might have improved his draft stock to where he might be out of the Lakers’ range at No. 47. However, if he’s still on the board when the Lakers are on the clock, he would be a nice value pick.
Antetokounmpo could also be worth a flier, as long as the team feels they have the self control not to say his name during his career as a Laker, lest they risk another tampering fine.
For an updated list on who the Lakers have worked out to date, check out our pre-draft workout tracker which can be found here.