The Los Angeles Lakers hosted six more 2018 NBA draft hopefuls at the UCLA Health Training Center in El Segundo on Monday, with the most notable name being 2017-18 Big Ten Player of the Year Keita Bates-Diop.
After a successful redshirt junior season at Ohio State University, Bates-Diop decided to forego his final year of college eligibility and declare for the 2018 NBA Draft. Most mock drafts have the 22-year-old combo forward going in the first round, with Jonathan Givony of ESPN having him slotted as high as No. 18 overall, put Bates-Diop said he tries to block out all speculation, good and bad, by staying off of social media.
“I’m more (asking) my agent, I don’t really look at draft boards like that,” Bates-Diop said (via Lakers.com). “I don’t have an Instagram or Twitter so I don’t pay attention to anything like that ... It was my choice because I know a lot of people say a lot of different things on there that can cloud your mind and judgement so I just like to get away from it. I don’t really need it.”
However, Bates-Diop does own a television and he said he watched the Lakers play “a lot” this past season.
“I’m a fan of the Lakers. All the hype around the different players that were coming in, it was fun to watch them,” Bates-Diop said. “They all play different positions, they all play so well together and all of their size and versatility.”
Bates-Diop thinks his own versatility would make him a great fit in Los Angeles with the other young, lengthy players on the roster.
“I’m really fluid, I can do a lot of things. I’m really long so I can guard multiple positions. I just like to think of myself as a versatile player,” Bates-Diop said.
Bates-Diop said he plans to be at the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago starting on May 16. If he impresses scouts with his unique combination of size (6-foot-7 with a 7-foot-4 wingspan) and shooting (shot 35.9 from behind the arc last season), there’s only a small chance he falls to the Lakers with the No. 25 pick. But stranger things have happened, and the Lakers’ world class scouting department will be ready for just about anything.
All quotes were transcribed via Lakers.com and all stats were provided by sports-reference.com unless otherwise noted.