We didn’t get to this last week because of, well, /gestures broadly at the madness that was the Lakers’ coaching search/ but the team is doing actual basketball things again!
Last Wednesday, Lakers co-owner and assistant general manager Jesse Buss posted that the Lakers were doing their first draft workout of 2019 on his Instagram story, and Bill Oram of The Athletic quickly confirmed what made sense — that the Lakers aren’t working out first-rounders yet, given that they don’t know where they’re picking, but they are getting ready for summer league and the second round of the draft (which is already locked in):
Lakers are starting to bring in guys in the 2nd round/summer league/G League range. Won’t start workouts for their first round pick until after combine/lottery when they know their pick. https://t.co/OyKQOVPf4q— Bill Oram (@billoram) May 7, 2019
We don’t know who they worked out, but that’s fairly standard for this tier of player. Once the Lakers know where they’re picking, they’ll start publicly bringing in more household names to evaluate. Miles Simon — the only holdover from Luke Walton’s coaching staff — is likely running these draft workouts.
The Lakers aren’t the only team conducting some early workouts, as the Atlanta Hawks — among others, presumably — have also started working out draft prospects (including Cal State Fullerton’s own Kyle Allman, Jr.) Still, the Lakers getting back to something they’re actually good at — finding late-round or summer league steals in the pre-draft process — is probably a welcome distraction from, well /gestures broadly at almost everything else they’ve done this week/.
After the lottery tonight, the Lakers will know where they’re picking in the first round too, allowing them to schedule workouts with the tiers of prospects in whatever range they end up in. As our own Sabreena Merchant rounded up this morning in her draft lottery FAQ, the Lakers have a 9.4% chance to end up in the top-four picks, and a 2% chance to end up with the No. 1 overall pick. If they get any of the top four, though, this process will be significantly more interesting. If they don’t, Lakers fans will just have to hope Buss and the rest of the scouting team can unearth some late-round gems once again to make up for missing on some of the more exciting first-rounders.
These early workouts are important in that process, and could help the Lakers find their next prospect of note. We’ll likely get a look at some of the players from these sessions when the Lakers head to the second-annual California Classic Summer League in Sacramento on July 1 — yes, they have a tournament on the first day of free agency, pray for bloggers — or in Las Vegas, where the Lakers will play later the same month.