We’re just one week away from the 2018 NBA Draft and as usual for this time of year, rumors are starting to get crazy. After reportedly fueling leaguewide belief they had made a first-round promise to University of Maryland star Kevin Huerter, the Los Angeles Lakers are rumored to be interested in taking wild-card prospect Anfernee Simons out of IMG Academy.
According to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer, the Lakers and the Portland Trailblazers are two teams that have expressed taking Simons in late in the first round of the draft. Simons has worked out for both the Lakers and the Blazers. He also had an impressive workout with the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday, according to O’Connor.
Of the two teams to have a rumored interest in Simons, Portland seems like the team best positioned to take the 19-year-old combo guard. While the Cavs can technically take Simons with the No. 8 pick, Simons is more likely to be taken in the late-20s, where the Blazers (24) and the Lakers (25) will be picking.
After deciding to skip college, there are a ton of question marks surrounding Simons leading up to the draft. The former five-star prospect has a nice length for a guard — 6-foot-3 with a 6-foot-9 wingspan — and scoring upside, but he hasn’t played competitive basketball at a high level in over a year.
However, that apparently didn’t stop Simons from impressing team president Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka at his workout with the Lakers.
“They said ‘you played really well’ and they were impressed by me coming in, being so young and playing like I’m older than everybody else,” Simons said.
There’s a small chance this will be the last rumor we here before draft night on June 21, but if it holds true, it wouldn’t be a complete shock. While Simons likely won’t make an impact with the parent squad right away, the Lakers could look to develop him in the G League with the South Bay Lakers.