As the 2018 NBA Draft nears closer, some around the league like the Los Angeles Lakers have started hosting top prospects.
While the Lakers do not have the rights to their own picks, they will have the 25th pick (first round from the Cleveland Cavaliers) and 47th pick (second round from the Denver Nuggets) when draft day arrives next month.
It’s still early in the pre-draft process, but based on reports, here are the top players they have already brought in for a workout.
Keita Bates-Diop, Forward (Ohio State)
Keita Bates-Diop spoke about his fit with Los Angeles after his workout, which was his first with an NBA team (via Lakers):
“I’m a fan of the Lakers. All the hype around the different players that were coming in, it was fun to watch them. They all play different positions, they all play so well together and all of their size and versatility … I’m really fluid, I can do a lot of things. I’m really long so I can guard multiple positions. I just like to think of myself as a versatile player.”
Not only can he score from the post, he also averaged 1.9 three-pointers per game for Ohio State last season. He led the Big Ten in total field goals as well as defensive rebounds and points per game. Bates-Diop finished top five in blocks per game as well.
He can be a spot-up shooter at the next level and has shown his ability to cut to the basket with ease. His wingspan, which is over seven-feet, will certainly impress scouts at the 2018 NBA draft combine later this month.
Bates-Diop is a projected mid-to-late first-round pick in mock drafts by The Athletic and SB Nation. The Lakers own a selection in that range: the 25th pick from the Cavaliers thanks to a midseason trade.
Shake Milton, Guard (SMU)
Mike Gribinov wrote about what Milton would provide for an NBA team (via The Stepien):
The 6-foot-6 guard averaged 2.5 three-pointers per game as a junior last season, which helped him score a team-best 18.0 points per game.
He, too, has a long wingspan (just short of seven-feet) and could be one of the better players to compete in five-on-five scrimmages at the Combine if he decides to participate.
Chimezie Metu, Big (USC)
Jeremy Woo highlighted his draft projections for next month (via Sports Illustrated):
“A springy, mobile big, Metu has NBA-level talent and showed some improvement this season, but hasn’t quite done enough to lock himself in as a surefire first-rounder. His good games can be head-turning, but he’s not extremely comfortable playing with his back to the basket and sometimes shies away when the paint is packed, which hurts him as a rebounder. He can shoot from mid-range and has tried to play as more of a stretch big, but those results have been mixed.”
He also averaged 15.7 points and 7.4 rebounds per game last season. His defensive rebound percentage (21.2 percent) was No. 6 overall in the Pac-12 conference. He has earned high praise from college broadcaster Bill Walton, whose son Luke Walton is the head coach of the Lakers.
While it’s doubtful he will compete in five-on-five scrimmages when he is at the combine, he is still likely to get second-round looks in the draft.
Jalen Hudson, Guard (Florida)
We recently included Florida guard Jalen Hudson as one of the biggest draft combine snubs. But if he does well in pre-draft workouts, he could still end up on an NBA team next season. He’s already worked out for the Lakers (and he has another visit soon with the Atlanta Hawks).
However, considering Hudson has not yet hired an agent, it’s still entirely possible that he could return to college as well.
Last season, he averaged 15.5 points per game and shot an impressive 40.2 percent from long distance, making 2.3 three-pointers per game. The guard could certainly help space the floor as a scoring option at the next level.
While he is able to score well off screens, he is not a fantastic ball distributor and has averaged less than one assist per game while in the NCAA. Hudson has struggled as a defender in college, too, which is an area where the Lakers have focused during workouts thus far.
Caleb Martin and Cody Martin, Forwards (Nevada)
Caleb Martin and Cody Martin, twins who thrived with Nevada last year, have separately worked out for the Lakers. Both brothers will be at the NBA combine in Chicago later this month.
Caleb is a more elite scorer (18.9 points per game) and won the Mountain West Conference Player of the Year Award. Cody, meanwhile, scored at a high clip as well (14.0) and also had his twin beat in rebounds per game (6.3) and assists per game (4.7) last season.
In fact, Cody has experience playing at point guard, which should excite fans considering his 6-foot-7 frame.
The latest mock from NBADraft.net have both selected in the second round, though Caleb is projected to go in the early part while Cody comes off the board toward the end.
Allonzo Trier, Guard (Arizona)
Udoka Azubuike, Big (Kansas)
Lindell Wigginton, Guard (Iowa State)