While the Los Angeles Lakers nervously await Tuesday’s NBA Draft Lottery and the fate of their top-three protected first round pick, they are busy preparing for all scenarios that could unfold.
Earlier this week, the team started scheduling workouts with a few players that are expected to go very late in the 2016 NBA Draft on June 23. At the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago, however, they appear to be targeting the players that are expected to go at the top of the draft.
After interviewing Kentucky guard Jamal Murray, the Lakers turned their attention to the small forward position. The University of California’s Jaylen Brown told reporters that a number of teams interviewed him on Thursday at the combine, including the Lakers (h/t Silver Screen and Roll).
Los Angeles’ two biggest needs this offseason are at small forward and at center, so targeting Brown makes a lot of sense for general manager Mitch Kupchak. While Ben Simmons and Brandon Ingram are expected to be the top two picks next month, the No. 3 overall pick seems to be where the draft will really start.
A handful of players are projected to be selected with that pick, though that could change depending on the results of the lottery. Odds are that Brown will remain in serious consideration for whoever ends up in that 3rd spot. In his lone season at California, Brown tallied 14.6 points and 5.4 rebounds in 27.6 minutes.
He has ideal size, strength and athleticism to play out on the wing at the next level. One thing that will certainly need improvement, however, is his perimeter shooting. Brown shot just 29.4 percent from the three-point line this season and a measly 65.4 percent from the free throw line.
Brown is not a finished product, and his jumper needs a lot of work, but that work is something he is willing to put in. He told the Los Angeles Daily News’ Mark Medina, among other reports, that he hopes to emulate the work ethic and routine of Kobe Bryant.
“I try to approach the game the same way,” said Brown. “I admire his work ethic. Kobe Bryant, he wakes up at 5:30 every morning, so I’m trying to do the same thing and just catch up to him. If that’s what it takes to be where he is, then I’m going to try to do that too.”
As it currently stands, Brown should definitely get consideration for any team that ends up with the third overall pick in this draft. With a noticeable improvement in his jumper, teams will especially be lining up for his services for the foreseeable future.
Obviously the Lakers would love to fill the void at small forward with Ingram, but if they end up with the No. 3 pick, Brown could be the next best option.
All stats courtesy of DraftExpress.com.
All quotes transcribed via Tout.