With just over two weeks to go until the 2019 NBA draft, the Lakers are scheduling workouts for players to be the potential fourth overall pick, but they also have to look at potential names for undrafted free agency and summer league. The latter preparation process is likely why they’re bringing in the most recent two names to be reported: UCF center Tacko Fall and Duke center Marques Bolden.
Fall is ranked 75th on ESPN’s list of the top-100 prospects in the 2019 NBA Draft, while Bolden is unlisted on that ranking. In a 60-player draft, that would seem to indicate that neither will be drafted.
Texas Tech’s Jarrett Culver was the first player the Lakers (publicly) scheduled for draft workouts last Saturday with LeBron James spectating. Now, Fall and Bolden will reportedly be among the next prospects to workout for the Lakers:
Duke’s Marques Bolden has a workout scheduled with the Knicks on Friday, per SNY sources. Bolden, a 6-11 big, also has workouts scheduled with the Lakers, Spurs, Wizards, Hornets, Cavs and Celtics, per sources.— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) June 3, 2019
Tacko Fall, who worked out for the Magic today, said he's worked out with the Kings already. He said he has workouts scheduled with the Pacers, Knicks, Lakers, Cavaliers and Hornets, with the possibility more teams will be added, schedule permitting.— Josh Robbins (@JoshuaBRobbins) June 3, 2019
The Lakers are one of the many teams each player will be working out for. They also do not have a second round pick, so unless they buy one, it would seem that these are names for undrafted free agency and/or summer league.
So who are these guys, and what would the Lakers be getting if they selected them?
Marques Bolden (Duke University, Center)
As a teammate of Zion Williamson, Bolden flew under the radar for Duke.
In his three seasons for the Blue Devils, Bolden was a role player who nearly doubled his blocks per game from his sophomore to junior year. The 21-year-old averaged 1.6 blocks per game last season, while in 2017-18 he averaged 0.9 blocks per game. The 6-foot-11-inch center averaged 5.3 points per game during the 2018-19 regular season.
The injury-prone center has missed a substantial amount games every season for Duke, to the point where he missed the ACC tournament this year for the Blue Devils. When Bolden was reinstated for March Madness, he averaged 1.5 points and 0.75 blocks in the four games Duke played.
Out of high school, Bolden was regarded as the No. 8 overall recruit and No. 1 overall center in the 2016 class. Heading into his first year with Duke, Bolden was a selection for the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar preseason watch list. The leg injury he sustained during his freshman year didn’t push away his second selection for the same list the following year.
The standout high school center was a member of the 2015 USA men’s basketball junior national team. In USA’s 101-67 win over the World Select Team at the 2016 Nike Hoop Summit, Bolden had three points and two rebounds.
But even if Bolden’s NCAA career was filled with injuries and subpar numbers, his upside of size and speed has numerous teams scoping him out.
Tacko Fall (University of Central Florida, Center)
This is the second year Fall has worked out for NBA teams, and his second time working out for the Lakers. The Orlando Magic also hosted the Senegal-native in draft workouts after his sophomore season in 2017, and that’s when he decided that he’d stay with UCF.
Back then, Fall was coming off his best statistical year for the Knights, as he posted averages of 10.9 points, 9.5 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per game. That’s right around his senior year averages, when Fall managed 11.1 points, 7.6 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per game, but his added experience has evidently caught the attention of a handful of organizations.
During his sophomore year, Fall was also named a finalist as the best center in the nation for the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar award.
Last year, the 7’6” center finished his fourth season with the UCF Knights, one in which they ultimately reached the second round in the East Region of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship. Fall posted 15 points, six rebounds and three blocks as the Knights fell to Zion Williamson and Duke University in a tight game.
Even with UCF falling short in March Madness, Fall made history as he finished his college career. Fall is now the NCAA leader in career field goal percentage; shattering the previous mark to the point that he could have went 0-63 in his final game and still finished as the record holder.
Fall’s consistent shooting numbers have flown under the radar though, in part because his height is generally what he gets noticed for. Not only was he the tallest player on the floor during March Madness, Fall is also recognized as one of the tallest people on earth.
Will Fall be able to impress the front office enough to have them chanting “we want Tacko” on draft night, or in undrafted free agency? He and Bolden will both get their chance to catch L.A.’s attention in the weeks to come.