There is a very realistic world where Trey Murphy III hears his name called on July 29, walks to the stage in Chicago, and puts on a 2021 NBA Draft cap emblazoned with the logo of the Los Angeles Lakers.
We know the team at least has some level of interest in the Virginia junior and potential 3-and-D wing. They already interviewed Murphy at the 2021 NBA Draft Combine, he is widely projected as a prospect in the range of their 22nd overall pick, and on Saturday, they brought him in for a six-player group workout at their practice facility. Afterwards, while speaking with the media on Zoom, Murphy said the session went “pretty well” for him.
“Guys were competing at a really high level, and it was a lot of fun out there. Definitely one of my harder workouts,” Murphy said. “There was a lot of running involved, just testing our shape, testing our mental toughness.”
Part of that test? The famed “Lakers Mentality” drill the team has put prospects through every year since Rob Pelinka was hired as general manager, in which potential draftees attempt to make as many layups, jumpers and threes in a 90-second period as they can, taking shots on each basket as they sprint from one end of the court to the other. Layups are worth one point, jumpers are worth two, and threes are worth three.
When asked what stood out about the workout or made it unique from previous ones he’s done, Murphy said it was the Lakers Mentality drill.
“It’s a tough one, it’s a really tough one,” Murphy said. “I wasn’t too proud of my score, I definitely want to do better on that one, but it still is a good learning lesson.”
If it sounds like Murphy is being hard on himself, it’s because he has high expectations for what he can do over the course of his career. He knows what kind of player he wants to be, no matter where he ends up in the draft later this month.
“In my first year obviously you can’t control a lot. It’s up to your effort and energy, and I’m going to have to learn and make my adjustments,” Murphy said. “But over time, I want to become an All-Star. I want to be really good in the game of basketball, and I want to play for a long time. I really love this game a lot, and hopefully I can do it at a high level.”
It remains to be seen if he’ll get the chance to do so with the Lakers, but whether this was simply his first time in their practice facility or his last, Murphy enjoyed the experience of working out for the 17-time champions.
“It was really good time. The staff, the front office, there are a lot of good people in there,” Murphy said.
We’ll see if he gets to know them any better when the draft rolls around on July 29.