In an El Segundo, California, practice facility under hanging championship banners and retired Los Angeles Lakers jerseys, 12 draft hopefuls gathered on Wednesday, working out for general manager Mitch Kupchak and other team personnel.
This was the first big group workout hosted by the team in preparation for this year’s draft and the first time in nearly a decade the Lakers have assembled this many lottery prospects at once.
With the No. 7 pick, Los Angeles has the chance to select a legitimate impact player this time around.
With such a deep draft class, the team is also open to expanding its presence there. As Kupchak said to reporters, per Lakers.com:
We’d still like to add to our draft selection. Could we move this pick and get multiple picks? Maybe. Could you buy a pick? Or trade a future pick for a present pick? Yeah, that’s possible. I think picks now are more valuable than they were, so I think it’s not as easy as it used to be, but I think that’s still a possibility.
Those participating in the first session on Wednesday included Syracuse point guard Tyler Ennis, Michigan State shooting guard Gary Harris, Pepperdine power forward Brendan Lane, UCLA point guard Zach LaVine, Oklahoma State point guard Marcus Smart and Indiana power forward Noah Vonleh.
The second group included Weber State shooting guard Davion Berry, Nevada shooting guard Jerry Evans, Arizona combo forward Aaron Gordon, Creighton forward Doug McDermott, Louisiana point guard Elfrid Payton and Kentucky swingman James Young.
Berry and Evans were last-minute additions, replacing Duke forward Rodney Hood and Michigan guard Nik Stauskas, both of whom withdrew unexpectedly.
The day produced sky-high jumping, explosive scrimmages and the kind of draft anticipation that hasn’t been present since Andrew Bynum was selected as the No. 10 overall pick in 2005.