The Los Angeles Lakers did pretty well to come away with Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart, Kyle Kuzma and Thomas Bryant in last year’s draft, and they’ll be looking to find another few steals in the 2018 NBA Draft on Thursday night.
As such, the team has been bringing in tons of players for workouts, but one moment that stood out came after the Lakers worked out Omari Spellman of Villanova as part of a group workout with several other prospects.
While Spellman was on his way over to speak with reporters Hart could be heard yelling at his fellow Wildcat to “tell those guys over there (the media) that we’re built different at Villanova.”
While Hart’s evaluation of players from his alma mater is unlikely to play a huge role in the final stages of the Lakers’ pre-draft preparation process, if he did have a say, he told Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN that he thinks the team could do pretty well to add another player who is built different to their roster:
Josh Hart would love to see the Lakers draft one of his Villanova guys on Thursday night. Hart, who was drafted 30th overall out of Villanova last year, will spend draft night with former Wildcats teammate Jalen Brunson in New Jersey but will be in constant contact with Mikal Bridges, Donte DiVincenzo and Omari Spellman throughout the night as well.
“Obviously, I want one of them on my team, one of the four,” said Hart, who along with LA Chargers defensive end Isaac Rochell hosted a free screening of “Uncle Drew” for 200 local youth from local nonprofits like Brotherhood Crusade, Boys and Girls Club Venice and The Right Way Foundation in Los Angeles. “I am very excited to see where those guys land.”
Bridges (the No. 14 prospect in the draft according to ESPN’s draft expert Jonathan Givony) is unlikely to land on the Lakers given that the team is picking with the 25th pick (due to their trade with the Cleveland Cavaliers) and 47th selection (which is the Denver Nuggets’ second-rounder).
Brunson (No. 35), DiVincenzo (No. 26), and Spellman (No. 43) would all seem like more realistic options, especially the latter two given that they are going to be landing right around the Lakers’ selections if the draft goes according to most projections.
Brunson has also not worked out for the Lakers (at least not publicly), and as my colleague Pete Zayas pointed out on Twitter, the Lakers publicly worked out all of their draft picks last year. That anecdote doesn’t rule Brunson out, but it also would seem to make his selection even less likely on its face.
Who the Lakers will pick is a long way from being decided, especially given that their picks fall so late and thus make who will be there less predictable. The Lakers did pretty well with the last Wildcat they picked, however, and if they think Villanova really has some secret sauce for draft steals, then they might just follow their Hart’s advice and take one of the four on Thursday.