On draft night this summer the Lakers added three new players to their roster in hopes of adding to their already exciting young core. Of course, the team selected Mo Wagner, Isaac Bonga, and Svi Mykhailiuk.
In recent years the Lakers have hung their hat on being able to find hidden gems late in the draft and turn them into quality young players, as evident with Larry Nance, Jr., Jordan Clarkson, Josh Hart, and Kyle Kuzma. While we’ve only seen this year’s draft class in summer league action, it looks like they may have struck once again, and other rookies are aware of that.
The NBA did their annual rookie survey where they asked the players a multitude of questions about their draft class. A few young Lakers have gotten praise from their draft-mates in recent years with Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram voted as the players who would have the best careers from their class, while Ball was also voted as the best playmaker with the highest percentage of votes in the history of the survey.
This year, without a top pick, the Lakers showed up in a few different categories. Both Wagner and Mykhailiuk received votes for “Which rookie was the biggest steal at where he was selected in the Draft?” and Mykhailiuk was also voted as the best shooter in the draft by 13% of the survey, good for a tie for second place with Atlanta’s Kevin Huerter.
The team saw glimpses of the potential of Mykhailiuk and Wagner in summer league as they both played well, especially given their draft position.
The rookies weren’t the only players to make the survey, however, as LeBron James was voted as the class’ favorite player in a landslide receiving 29% of the vote, ahead of Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant who both tallied 9% of the vote.
With all eyes on the Lakers now that James is on board and the team being so young, they will need contributions from players like Wagner and Mykhailiuk in order to reach their ceiling.