The Los Angeles Lakers continued their evaluations for the 2018 NBA Draft on Wednesday with six new players, including All-Pac 12 center Chimezie Metu.
A native of Los Angeles, Metu grew up a Lakers fan and following his workout, he talked about the significance of fulfilling his lifelong dream of wearing the purple and gold, even if only just for a day.
“I’ve been a Laker fan my whole life,” Metu said. “Just being in here is crazy to me. I’m probably going to have a lot more workouts, but this is probably going to be my favorite one, or just one that I’m going to cherish a lot more because of the history.”
Among those present at his workout was president of basketball operations and living Lakers legend Magic Johnson. To someone that grew up outside of Los Angeles, it might not be such a huge deal, but for a self-proclaimed lifelong Lakers fan, it’s a surreal experience.
“That was crazy,” Metu said. “He’s been to a couple of our games, but he just sat there. I never got a chance to shake his hand and talk to him, so that was pretty fun.”
But Metu isn’t just a fan of the Lakers’ rich history, he’s also a fan of their current roster, namely Lonzo Ball and Kyle Kuzma who he said impressed him as a fan of the team.
“Those are two really good players,” Metu said. “Lonzo, he changes the game so much. My freshman year he wasn’t on the team (UCLA) and they were completely different my second year and then last year they were completely different again. He changes the game in such a dynamic way where he doesn’t have to score. He doesn’t have to have the ball in his hands to make a difference.
“And then Kuz, he’s gotten so much better since I played him. He was more of a slasher, and now he’s doing stuff off of the dribble. He’s really improved on his game. I’m a Laker fan, so it’s really fun to watch both of those guys go to work.”
At 21 years old, Metu fits the Lakers’ timeline well and also addresses an area of need with his elite shot blocking ability. He also told reporters on Wednesday that he is working on becoming a better perimeter defender and outside shooter.
“Right away, wherever I end up that’s something I can bring to the table as soon as I get to the team. Just being a presence on defense,” Metu said. “Being able to guard one through five, switching on pick and rolls. On the perimeter guard smaller guys. At (USC) I didn’t really shoot a lot of threes, I think I showed today that I can knock down jumpers.”
While he would be widely considered a reach with the Lakers No. 25 pick, he could be an option when Los Angeles is on the clock with the No. 47 pick. But wherever he ends up, it’s clear Metu will never forget this particular workout.
All quotes transcribed via Lakers.com.