Lakers News: Latest Buzz Surrounding Potential Draft Picks and More

NEW ORLEANS, LA - MARCH 22:  Isaiah Thomas #3 of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts before a game against the New Orleans Pelicans at the Smoothie King Center on March 22, 2018 in New Orleans, Louisiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

While plenty of NBA fans are paying attention to the Western and Eastern Conference Finals, the Los Angeles Lakers offseason is in full swing.

With the draft lottery in the rearview, the Lakers now own the 25th and 47th picks in this summer’s draft. And they’ve already started working potential picks out in L.A.

In other news, whoever’s picked will likely be among the showcases at a new summer league that will take place in Sacramento, California.

So, who might that guy be? Is there any chance he’s already been through the Lakers’ facility this offseason?

Draft Workouts

ATLANTA, GA - MARCH 22: Cody Martin #11 and Caleb Martin #10 of the Nevada Wolf Pack discuss the play against the Loyola Ramblers in the second half during the 2018 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament South Regional at Philips Arena on March 22, 2018 in Atla

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The Lakers have already hosted a dozen prospects at the UCLA Health Training Center. Udoka Azubuike, Keita Bates-Diop, Rob Gray, Jalen Hudson, Jo Lual-Acuil and Caleb Martin came through on May 7, per the Lakers website. While D.J. Hogg, Cody Martin, Chimezie Metu, Shake Milton, Allonzo Trier and Lindell Wiggington worked out for L.A. on May 9, according to the Lakers.

In two of the last three drafts, the Lakers have found rotation players in the back end of the draft: Larry Nance, Jr. in 2015, and Kyle Kuzma and Josh Hart in 2017.

Could any of those names above be their fourth late-round hit since 2015? The Martin twins fit the profile of Nance and Kuzma. All four were in school for at least three years. Wyoming (where Nance played) and Nevada (where the Martins played) are both in the Mountain West Conference. Utah (where Kuzma played) recently left the Mountain West.

The Lakers have had some luck with these upperclassmen from mid-major programs, and they may roll the dice one more time.

Summer League

SACRAMENTO, CA - OCTOBER 27: A general exterior view of the arena prior to the game beween the San Antonio Spurs and Sacramento Kings at Golden 1 Center on October 27, 2016 in Sacramento, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees th

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In another official release from L.A., the team’s participation in a brand new summer league was announced on May 14.

“The Lakers will play in the inaugural California Classic Summer League at the Sacramento Kings’ Golden 1 Center from July 2-5.

The Lakers will face every other member of the four-team field, beginning with an 8 p.m. matchup with the event hosts on Monday, July 2.

L.A. will then face the Miami Heat on Tuesday, July 3, at 6 p.m. before getting a day off for Fourth of July. It will conclude its slate against the Golden State Warriors at noon on Thursday, July 5.”

The team also announced that this season’s star rookies, Lonzo Ball and Kyle Kuzma, will not participate in summer league action in 2018.

There should still be reason to check out the Lakers, though. Josh Hart, who averaged 15.3 points, 6.8 rebounds and two assists in 11 games after the All-Star break is expected to play. Thomas Bryant, who averaged 19.7 points and 7.3 rebounds for the South Bay Lakers, should also be there. And of course, whoever’s taken by the Lakers at 25 and 47 will also be in action.

IT Back?

NEW ORLEANS, LA - MARCH 22:  Isaiah Thomas #3 of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts before a game against the New Orleans Pelicans at the Smoothie King Center on March 22, 2018 in New Orleans, Louisiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees tha

Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

Free agent point guard Isaiah Thomas, who finished his 2017-18 campaign with the Lakers, made some news himself on Twitter this week.

If IT truly is his old self, he could become a very interesting free agent target this summer. In 2016-17, he posted an 8.7 Offensive Box Plus-Minus for the Boston Celtics. It was the 16th-best OBPM in NBA history, per Basketball Reference.

If the Lakers miss out on big names like LeBron James and Paul George, rolling it back with last season’s young core and Thomas could make sense. There’s still plenty of time for Ball, Kuzma, Julius Randle and Brandon Ingram to develop. And there’s some evidence that Thomas works with at least a couple of those guys.

On the season, the Lakers were outscored by 1.4 points per 100 possessions, per the NBA. When Ball shared the floor with Thomas, L.A. outscored opponents by 2.7 points per 100 possessions. When Thomas and Randle shared the floor, the Lakers outscored opponents by a whopping 12.4 points per 100 possessions. And finally, in the 144 minutes in which all three were in the game, L.A. outscored opponents by 14.5 points per 100 possessions.

Unless otherwise noted, stats courtesy of NBA.comBasketball Reference or RealGM.

Andy Bailey covers the NBA for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter (@AndrewDBailey) and listen to his Hardwood Knocks podcast, co-hosted by B/R’s Dan Favale.

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via Bleacher Report – NBA https://ift.tt/yO6Sgr

May 17, 2018 at 09:16AM

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