The pre-draft process is ramping up and the Lakers have been busy thus far. Notably, the team has already met with Markelle Fultz and De’Aaron Fox, two players whom they have their eyes set on with their top-three pick should they keep it after the lottery.
The Lakers have also worked out and met with players who are projected to go later in the draft, as well. Yesterday, it was reported that they met with Indiana’s OG Anunoby. Today, CSN Philly’s Jessica Camerato reports that they have also met with Villanova’s Josh Hart.
According to the report, Hart has also met with the Heat, Pelicans, Mavericks, Pistons, Timberwolves, Blazers, and Suns.
A senior, Hart is projected to go 48th in the NBA Draft by DraftExpress. The 6-6 shooting guard was a great shooter in college, hitting 40 percent of his threes last year, a big need for the Lakers’ offense.
Beyond his shooting, Hart was wildly successful in his senior year of college, averaging 18.7 points per game en route to winning the Big East Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year Awards. He was also a First-Team All-American while leading the Wildcats to a 31-3 record.
As usual, this is a case of the Lakers doing their due diligence. If they lose the top-three protected pick, they will have the 32nd pick in the draft. Hart could go there, although DraftExpress projects he will be available long after that. He could also be a target if the Lakers look to buy another second-round pick, as they did to draft Jordan Clarkson a few years ago.