The Los Angeles Lakers continued their pre-draft workouts on Saturday with a group that was headlined by Tennessee guard Jared Springer.
It’s not often an 18-year-old player is projected to available late in the first-round — especially one that had success at the collegiate level — but because of the sheer talent of the prospects in this year’s NBA Draft, Springer is the exception. If those projections remain unchanged by the time the draft rolls around on July 29, the Lakers could luck into another late-draft steal.
Springer, who interviewed with the Lakers at the NBA Draft Combine in June, flashed a flurry of NBA skills during his lone season at Tennessee, but most his NBA-ready skill is his defense, both on and off the ball. While it certainly helps that Springer is 6’4 with a wingspan that stretches nearly 6’8, it’s Springer’s combination of defensive fundamentals and instincts that makes him such an impactful defender. For those reasons, it’s easy to imagine him being a favorite of Frank Vogel.
Offensively, he does a few good things, but he does the little things better than the big things teams typically want out of a lead guard like handle the ball and generate offense. Those things would shine through on a star-studded team like the Lakers, as we’ve seen with Alex Caruso in recent years, but it’s unclear if the Lakers value that over 3-point shooting — an area Springer has some work to do in — at the guard position.
It’s also worth wondering whether the Lakers want to draft someone that can contribute right away. That could be Springer, but he may not be as well-equipped to help immediately as other players in the draft because of his age.
Still, Springer has a solid foundation to work with and should be one of the players they consider with their first-round pick if he’s still available.
Here is the full list of players the Lakers worked out on Saturday:
This morning’s pre-draft workouts per Lakers MR:— Alex Regla (@AlexmRegla) July 17, 2021
Miles McBride - West Virginia
Ayo Dosunmu - Illinois
Sandro Mamukelashvili - Seton Hall
Mac McClung - Texas Tech
Jaden Springer - Tennessee
Balsa Koprivica - Florida State