The Los Angeles Lakers are preparing for what will certainly be a nervous day on May 17, as their first round draft situation will be decided once again by a bunch of ping pong balls.
The NBA Draft Lottery is just six days away, and Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak has stated that he is already operating under the assumption that the team will lose their top-three protected first round pick this year to the Philadelphia 76ers.
Despite having a 44.2 percent chance of losing their first round pick, the Lakers still have another pick in the 2016 NBA Draft. Los Angeles has the No. 32 overall pick, which is the second selection of the second round. The team has its focus on that pick for now, hoping that some of it will be able to shift to a top-three pick in about a week.
Los Angeles has obviously been evaluating prospects all season long, but now the next major steps in the process have begun. The 2016 NBA Draft Combine began today in Chicago, but the Lakers are still thinking beyond it, as they have started inviting prospects in for workouts.
ESPN’s Jeff Goodman reports that the Lakers have scheduled workouts with two prospects in the near future.
This list will undoubtedly grow very quickly, but these two names were interesting. Both N’Diaye and Ferrell are projected to be late second round picks, if they are even drafted at all. Perhaps the Lakers could get each prospect as undrafted free agents, but it would be shocking to see either of them selected with the 32nd pick.
Ferrell had a decorated career with the Indiana Hoosiers, staying all four years. As a senior this season, he averaged 17.3 points and 5.6 assists while hitting 42 percent of his three-point shots. The major knock on Ferrell is his size at the point guard position, being tabbed at six-feet tall, which might be a generous listing. Although he will likely be waiting the majority of draft night to hear his NBA fate (DraftExpress has him ranked No. 66 on their big board), Ferrell will certainly find his way onto a summer league squad this summer, earning himself a chance to prove what he can do.
As for N’Diaye, his physical tools have drawn him plenty of intrigue by a number of fans. After all, a 7-foot-6, 300 pound prospect doesn’t come around all that often. His size and length helped him alter countless shots near the rim at UC Irvine. Offensively, there were plenty of moments that his size was just too much for defenders to handle if he caught the ball near the basket, dunking right on top of them. In 23 minutes this season, N’Diaye averaged 12 points and 7.3 rebounds per game.
However, there’s a reason that DraftExpress does not have him on their big board, despite his massive frame. Instead, they have him ranked as the 30th best NCAA junior. As you might expect with someone that big, N’Diaye struggles to move fluidly. His mobility would be an issue in a league with some of the greatest athletes in the world, especially with the amount of small-ball that is implemented to space the floor nowadays. He has shown flashes in his offensive game, but still possesses a very raw skill set.
Like Ferrell, N’Diaye will probably be waiting all night on June 23 to hear what will be next for him, if he elects to stay in the draft. He could always return to UC Irvine for his senior season since he has yet to hire an agent. The deadline for that decision is May 25, so he still has time to consider what will be the next step in his basketball journey.
We are still over a month away from the NBA Draft, but the Lakers are already digging deep in the prospect pool. In six days, they will know the extent of their draft situation. While they wait, it appears they are starting from the outside, hopefully working all the way in to potential top-three prospects in the 2016 NBA Draft.
All stats courtesy of DraftExpress.