In just 11 days, NBA commissioner Adam Silver will walk across the stage at Barclays Center and announce who the Los Angeles Lakers selected with the No. 4 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. While there are a handful of players that are worthy of being taken fourth overall. the Lakers have only worked out one of them to date: Texas Tech guard Jarrett Culver.
The 20-year-old Texas native worked out at the UCLA Health Training Center in El Segundo earlier this month and according to Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report, he made a good impression on the Lakers during the approximately two hours he spent with them:
Lakers really liked Culver in his workout, don't see a promise, especially when the pick is available if the Pelicans want it. Not saying Culver over Garland but that was a serious look at JC— Eric Pincus (@EricPincus) June 7, 2019
The appeal with Culver is easy to see just by looking at his physical makeup.
At the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago last month, Culver measured in at 6’6.75” in shoes, the perfect size for a shooting guard in the NBA, but he also showed off an impressive a 6’9.5” wingspan, which theoretically makes it easier for him to defend forwards. Granted, there is often far too much stock put in measurements (see: Stanley Johnson, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, etc.), but Culver showed he knows how to use his length during his two years with Texas Tech.
Last season with the Red Raiders, Culver led the NCAA in defensive win shares and ranked second in the Big 12 in defensive rating. From a pure numbers standpoint, he’s one of the best defenders in the draft, if not the best.
Offensively, he has some room to grow after shooting 46.1 percent from the field, including 30.4 percent from behind the arc, during his sophomore season at Texas Tech, but he’s shown real promise as a scorer, particularly in the mid range where he likes to operate. He’s also shown the ability to make plays at a high level.
Culver’s game might not be as flashy as other players in the draft, but his all-around game leads one to believe he’ll be able to make an impact upon arrival. If the Lakers are successful in their pursuit of a superstar, they’re going to need cheap help wherever they can find it.
Tune in to see if Culver is the Lakers’ guy on June 20.