Fresh off of landing the No. 4 overall pick at the NBA Draft Lottery on Tuesday, the Los Angeles Lakers got to see some of the prospects they’ve been evaluating up-close at the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago.
Among the promising young players at the combine was Vanderbilt’s Darius Garland, a skilled and flashy point guard with a knack for putting the ball in the basket, particularly from behind the 3-point line. However, Garland wasn’t at the combine for too long.
On Wednesday, Garland left the combine after reportedly receiving a draft promise from a team selecting in the lottery. According to K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune, there are people around the league that believe the Lakers are the team that gave him that promise:
Garland, who played in only five games before a meniscus injury ended his lone college season, left the draft combine this week with an alleged draft promise from a lottery team. Multiple league executives assume it’s from the Lakers or Suns.
It should be noted that reports of draft promises outside of the top-three are hit or miss around this time of year. Last year, it was heavily reported that the Lakers had made a draft promise to Mitchell Robinson and when draft night came around, they passed on him to take Moritz Wagner out of the University of Michigan.
That being said, it wouldn’t be totally surprising to find out the Lakers did give Garland a draft promise. Not only is he represented by Klutch Sports, the same agency that LeBron James is represented by, but he’s also arguably the best player available outside of Zion Williamson, Ja Morant and RJ Barrett. Plus, he’s only 19 years old, which is younger than some of the other players that are expected to be available at No. 4 like Jarrett Culver (20), DeAndre Hunter (22).
Garland still has a lot of question marks surrounding his game after missing almost all of his freshman season at Vanderbilt, but the foundation is solid enough for the Lakers to gamble on his upside as an elite scoring guard. He also doesn’t look too bad in the purple and gold.