Many NBA teams are preparing workouts with a number of prospects in the hopes of determining their next franchise cornerstone. The Los Angeles Lakers are simply looking for another diamond in the rough. They have a good history of being very successful in finding guys like Austin Reaves, who has turned into a fan favorite. The Lakers draft targets this year, however, may stand out more than in previous years.
The Lakers have worked out a number of under-the-radar prospects. Here are a few that stand out, and would fit the team best. Many people are wondering how the Lakers will get these players since they don’t have any draft picks. Because of this, the Lakers have two options. The team can either purchase a draft pick from another team or find them in the undrafted free agency pool. Either way, the front office will find the right fit. If they choose to purchase a draft pick, here are some of the Lakers best draft targets.
5) Zyon Pullin-Point Guard, UC Riverside
Zyon Pullin, a 6-foot-4, 195-pound guard from UC Riverside, is a homegrown talent. He averaged 14 points, six rebounds, and four assists per game last season. He was also chosen to the Big West 2nd All-Conference Team. Being at a small school means you don’t get much national notice, but he didn’t let that stop him from leading the team in scoring.
If picked by the Lakers, he might find himself playing as the backup point guard if the team does not go a different route this offseason. Pullin is a young prospect with a lot of potential who can be nurtured by the Lakers’ coaching staff.
4) Jeriah Horne -Forward, Tulsa
Jeriah Horne is a 6’7, 220-pound forward from Tulsa. He could be an intriguing Lakers project. He averaged 16 points, seven rebounds, and nearly one block and one steal per game last season. Horne is best known in recent collegiate basketball history for his half-court buzzer-beating game-winning shot against UCF. But, he did much more than that over the course of the season.
He’s a big-bodied talent who can score when needed, whether it’s a 15-20-footer or spacing for a three or a layup in the paint. While he transferred schools during his collegiate career, he excelled at Tulsa. With the Lakers, he might find himself playing forward or perhaps small-ball center.
3) Omari Moore-Guard, San Jose State
Omari Moore, a 6’6 190-pound former San Jose State Spartan, is our second local prospect. Another Mountain West Conference small-school standout. He averaged 13 points, six rebounds, and five assists last season. Despite his team’s lack of success, Moore stood out and was a bright spot on the team.
He led the team in every single stat, including scoring, rebounds, assists, blocks, and steals. That alone demonstrates his desire and grit to give his all regardless of the outcome of the game. That style of play would fit very well with the Lakers, given that head coach Darvin Ham is likely to want 3 and D type players. Given this, Omari would be a great addition whether it be second round or undrafted.
2) Scotty Pippen Jr – Guard Vanderbilt
Pippen Jr, the son of Chicago Bulls icon Scotty Pippen, was one of the most recent Lakers’ prospects to work out. In his final season of collegiate basketball, the former Vanderbilt Commodore measured in at 6’3 and weighs 170 pounds. He averaged 20 points, four rebounds, and five assists. Pippen Jr. took his career to new heights while being coached by former NBA star Jerry Stackhouse. He went on to lead his team in scoring and was named to the All-SEC Team twice.
In a potential pro role, he will play his natural point guard position with some off-ball play depending on who is on the court with him. He certainly excels at getting to the rim, getting his own shot, and creating for others, and that skill alone could improve his future role with the Lakers in the long run.
1) Jordan Usher G- Georgia Tech/ Trevion Williams Forward, Purdue
When it comes to deciding which workout prospect stands out as the Lakers’ best draft target, it’s a tie because they both supply the squad with what they need the most. On one side, there’s Jordan Usher, a 6’7 213-pound guard from Georgia Tech who averaged 15 points, seven rebounds, three assists, and nearly two steals per game. Usher earned All-ACC Tournament accolades. The former Yellowjacket must have been employing Jose Alvarado’s nefarious defensive approach, who also happens to be his former colleague.
Usher was second on his team in scoring and led the team in rebounding. He could bring both strong defensive play and scoring to the Lakers, which are two key things that the team has been missing. He could easily fill that void for his positional role on the team. You could catch him at either guard or a possible small-ball power forward depending on the matchups. In terms of defense, with his height of 6’7, he should be able to defend positions one through three.
Finally, we have 6’10 265-pound forward Trevion Williams from Purdue, who averaged 12 points, seven rebounds, three assists, and just under one steal and one block a game last season. Williams entered last season as Jaden Ivey’s right-hand man, and the two played some of the best basketball together. He and Ivey breezed through the NCAA tournament, defeating Texas before falling to cinderella team St. Peter’s.
Given that he played a combination of power forward and center at Purdue, it’s highly possible that if the Lakers were able to sign him, he could serve as a potential backup center, as the position is in desperate need of depth.
The Lakers’ draft targets and their superb scouting staff have a wonderful specialty for uncovering hidden potential, and this process is likely to repeat itself.