The Los Angeles Lakers are doing their due diligence in the drafting process. The team has already reportedly interviewed or scheduled workouts with several draft prospects such as Brandon Ingram and Jaylen Brown as well as several others.
According to Mark Medina of the L.A. Daily News, the team also interviewed Henry Ellenson on Friday at the Draft Combine. Ellenson is a 6’10” power forward (though he has enough length to possibly play center in spurts) out of Marquette who is currently projected as the number nine pick by DraftExpress.
Ellenson shows some great skills despite being relatively unknown. He is a fluid mover at his size and his best asset currently is his ability as a rim-to-rim runner in transition.
Ellenson is more skilled than that, however. He has a good shooting stroke and could eventually be a valuable stretch-four in the league. He is also adept at finishing around the rim and playing with his back to the basket.
What separates the 19-year-old from other bigs is his ability to put the ball on the floor and use his ball handling to his advantage, especially at his position.
What will hurt Ellenson the most in his draft stock is his lack of athleticism and his defense. The big-man is not very explosive and despite his very adept rebounding at the college level, it’s fair to wonder if it can be replicated in the NBA against some of the best athletes in the world. Similarly, Ellenson is not quick enough to guard most 4’s and not big or explosive enough to be a full-time rim protector.
Nevertheless, the Lakers will not necessarily have to do much work on Ellenson, seeing as they will either pick well before his projected range at 1-3 or only well after he would be off the board at 32.
However, in the event that the team trades back from the third overall pick (something that I think they should at least consider), Ellenson could be a target in that mid-first-round range. The fact that he will almost certainly be a power forward in the NBA is a detriment to his fit with the Lakers considering they have both Julius Randle and Larry Nance, Jr. on the roster, but he should definitely be considered in that range regardless of fit.
For now, it is nice to see the Lakers doing their due diligence and interviewing other picks and scouting them even if they will likely have no chance at drafting them.