2021 NBA Draft: Lakers work out 5 more prospects, including BJ Boston
Two days before the 2021 NBA Draft, the Los Angeles Lakers hosted another five prospects for workouts. The latest group featured former Sierra Canyon phenom Brandon “BJ” Boston Jr., Baylor’s MaCio Teague, Toledo sharpshooter Spencer Littleson, and two Georgia Tech legends: Jose Alvarado and Moses Wright.
The Lakers hold the No. 22 pick in the draft and zero second-rounders, but that could very well change. The Lakers are aggressively shopping the pick in trade talks around the league, and seem open to moving up or down, based on the deal.
Ideally, Rob Pelinka will find a team interested enough in Kyle Kuzma (and potentially the 2027 first-rounder) to move up, but Kuzma’s value isn’t exactly peaking considering the Lakers are offering him to anybody who will pick up the phone.
More feasibly, the Lakers will either make a selection at No. 22 or move down to get in the second round and spare some cap space along the way.
Here are a few things to know about the latest batch of players to visit the Lakers’ practice facility.
Brandon Boston Jr.
Amongst this group, “BJ” Boston is expected to be the first name called on Thursday, possibly early-to-mid second round.
In his lone season for John Calipari, the 19-year old struggled from the field, but was asked to carry an unfair offensive burden for a bad Kentucky squad. He clearly forced the issue, especially early on, averaging 11.5 points on 12.0 shot attempts per game, shooting 35.5% from the field and 30% from three. He had nearly as many turnovers (36) as assists (40).
However, the 6’7 wing has enticing talent, and he shot the ball drastically better once Calipari lightened his load and moved him off-ball as the season progressed. At the moment, he’s a more proficient shooter in one-on-one situations than off-the-catch, but the seeds are there for him to become a solid NBA deep threat (he’s a good free-throw shooter, for instance).
“My jump shot has improved tremendously,” Boston told reporters after his Lakers workout. “My skill set and just my overall game has really progressed and elevated since college.”
B.J. also revealed that he’s played with a dollar bill in his shoe since 6th grade…and has only replaced the bill three times in that span. Ew.
Regardless, his ability to slink and slash into the lane is apparent, but it far exceeds his finishing ability. Those skills will have to align at the next level with added muscle. His passing is better than the statistics show, in part due to his inherent spatial awareness.
Breaking down film with former Kentucky wing BJ Boston. Took a look at what made him such a dynamic 3-level scorer and a projected top-10 pick coming out of Sierra Canyon. 6-7 with a 6-11 wingspan, impressive footwork and sharp scoring instincts. pic.twitter.com/DBzqjRuxCs
— Mike Schmitz (@Mike_Schmitz) June 27, 2021
On defense, he’s unpolished but instinctual, and his length (6’10 wingspan), natural athleticism, and motor are encouraging.
Despite his freshman struggles, Boston Jr. still has some shine in scouts’ minds as a recent high school sensation at nearby Sierra Canyon.
Kentucky bound Brandon Boston Jr's senior season mixtape is straight 🔥🔥 pic.twitter.com/CyfECcnywX
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) October 19, 2020
As a senior, Teague became a crucial cog and leader of the Bears’ national championship-winning squad, averaging 15.9 points on 39.5% three-point shooting (5.1 attempts per game). For his career, he shot 40.8% from beyond the arc.
He dropped 22 points in the Elite Eight against Arkansas and put up 19 points vs. Gonzaga in the natty.
In short: the dude is clutch.
MACIO TEAGUE COMING UP CLUTCH! pic.twitter.com/fr8Zw4tcnv
— ESPN (@espn) February 22, 2020
More impressively, the 6’3 guard was a foundational figure in spearheading the overdue cultural improvement that has taken place within the Baylor athletic program over the past couple of years.
Sideline-to-sideline hustle for MaCio Teague last night 💯
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) April 6, 2021
Teague was projected to go undrafted, though he’s reportedly rising on draft boards. He’ll be 24 by the time next season begins, but his experience, character, and all-around skill set — including solid defensive skills — could earn him an NBA roster spot.
Littleson, also a 6’4 combo guard, spent his final three college seasons at Toledo. As a fifth-year senior in 2020-21, the 23-year old shined as one of the premier long-range artists in the country, draining 47% of his 7.3 three-point attempts per game.
Spencer Littleson (Toledo) is having one of the best 3 point shooting seasons in the country. The 6’4 shooter is shooting an absurd 47.5% from 3 and can shoot over defenses easily. And he’s a likely MAC all defense selection. Major sleeper #MACtion pic.twitter.com/9dfqrb3hcV
— Mavs / Magic Draft (@MavsDraft) January 20, 2021
Littleson was an above-average defender in college, too, though who knows how that will translate from the MAC to the NBA. He rarely scores inside the arc, and he struggled against power conference schools.
Still: shooting can get you a long way in professional basketball. Los Angeles is in need of all the spacing it can get, so taking a look at Littleson — perhaps the best pure sniper in the ’21 Class — makes a ton of sense.
Like Littleson and Teague, Alvarado played four seasons of collegiate hoops.
The 6’0 point guard wreaked havoc as a senior for the Jackets, putting up 15.2 points, 4.1 assists, 3.5 rebounds, and 2.8 steals per game (2nd in the nation). He drained 39% of his 4.5 threes per game and is a stellar free throw shooter (83.7% in 2020-21).
He’ll struggle to create looks for himself at the next level, but he has an admirable, unselfish feel for the game. If he can find ways into the lane in the NBA, he can at least set up his teammates. A high-IQ player.
Jose Alvarado with a TON of JJ Barea in him as a ball handler. Elite deceptiveness as a ball handler/ playmaker pic.twitter.com/LbNxIVWXyu
— Mavs / Magic Draft (@MavsDraft) July 12, 2021
That said, Alvarado’s best work comes on the defensive end. His hands are lightning-quick, and he knows when to pounce. He never stops working, and he’s as feisty as they come.
An underrated guard who will likely finish inside my top-100 is Jose Alvarado. He's small, but a pesky defender, a floor general and a good shooter. Should get a Two-Way somewhere. He's worked out for several teams including the Bucks, Jazz, Knicks, Pelicans and Warriors pic.twitter.com/fTBf5Bp9JR
— Zack Padmore (@ZP12Hoops) July 10, 2021
Perhaps more importantly, Alvarado was simply the heart and soul of the Yellow Jackets for the past four years, culminating in an ACC Tournament title this past season.
Due to his age and size, he’s projected to go late in the second round. Personally, I love him as a late-draft or Summer League flyer.
Alvarado spent four seasons sharing the court with Wright at Georgia Tech.
At 6’9, 226 lbs., Wright offers potential as a stretch-big with an intriguing combination of size, athleticism, and pick-and-pop ability. He put up huge numbers as a senior: 17.4 points, 8.0 rebounds, 1.6 blocks and 1.5 steals per game on his way to winning ACC Player of the Year.
Following his Lakers workout, Wright told reporters that he believes his defensive versatility will make him a valuable contributor in the NBA.
“My ability to challenge shots at the rim,” he said when asked what he can offer an NBA team right away. “The energy that I bring on the floor, just the talking, communicating through screens and everything. And my versatility to switch defensively 1 through 5 – that’s what I’m working on. That’s what, hopefully, I can bring to the league.”
Moses Wright sent this 🚫😯 pic.twitter.com/SiBKTbm0Vi
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) December 10, 2020
He only took 1.2 threes per game in 2020-21, but he made 41% of them, indicating growth potential.
Plus, he can absolutely throw it down:
Like Alvarado, Wright checks off the intangibles boxes. Evidently, he is a deeply gifted human being with a unique ability to learn on the fly. He plays piano and upright bass and grew up as a competitive swimmer and tennis player before pivoting to basketball in time for one year of varsity ball.
“His story is just like crazy,” Alvarado said about Wright. “It’s what college sports is about, his story, coming in as a zero-star [recruit]. I remember me telling Moses freshman year, ‘If you work hard, you’re going to grow. If you’re in the gym, you can change your life.’”
Wright is currently projected as a late-second-round pick.
The 2021 NBA Draft is Thursday, July 29. We’ll see when the Lakers end up on the clock, or whether their selection(s) will ever wear purple-and-gold. At this point, anything and everything is on the table.