The Los Angeles Lakers hosted six more 2023 NBA Draft prospects — including 2022 National Player of the Year, Kentucky's Oscar Tshiebwe — for workouts on Friday. In total, the Lakers, who hold the No. 17 and No. 47 picks, have brought in 18 (known) prospects.
Los Angeles reportedly intends to keep their first-round pick though would be open to dealing it if a win-now player becomes available (Myles Turner, Fred VanVleet, DeMar DeRozan, to name a few).
The Lakers haven't had a first-round pick suit for them since 2018 (Moritz Wagner). The organization boasts an impressive recent track record of developing late-round/undrafted prospects, including Austin Reaves, who came in for a workout in 2021. If the Lakers keep their pick, they'll be in a rare position (for them) to add an inexpensive asset who can potentially contribute now and later.
The Lakers' biggest needs are hard to pinpoint as they face a slew of roster decisions. They could certainly use more shooting, wing defense/athleticism, ball-handling, frontcourt size, and off-ball movers. In truth, they should probably just grab the best player available.
The prospects the Lakers have hosted thus far include first-round talents, some recognizable names, and numerous upper-classmen. Here's a brief rundown. Rankings are courtesy of ClutchPoints' Bret Siegel's latest Big Board.
Leonard Miller — G League Ignite
Big Board ranking: No. 10
The 19-year-old has all the physical tools: 6'9, a 7'2 wingspan, and top-notch athleticism. He's relatively inexperienced, but he's a quality ball-handler and finisher with limitless upside and intriguing potential as a shooter. He's considered to be one of the highest risers in the draft.
but leonard miller😣 pic.twitter.com/Tjq8uJ4kVs
— McJayv (@jayventhegod) June 4, 2023
Maxwell Lewis — Pepperdine
Big Board ranking: No. 22
Lewis is 6'6 with a 7'0 wingspan. He can shoot off the catch or the dribble. He projects as a 3-and-D with the potential to guard and play multiple positions. According to Siegel, many NBA teams are high on his potential and ability to play right away. He could make a lot of sense for the Lakers.
Terquavion Smith — NC State
Big Board ranking: No. 30
Smith, 20, is a 6'5 combo guard coming off two high-scoring seasons for the Wolfpack. He's aggressive, streaky, and athletic with a deep bag who can play on or off the ball.
Terquavion Smith's explosiveness and shot-making prowess were on full display at the Life Sports Pro Day. The NC State product drew a big audience of NBA executives to watch him in Los Angeles. pic.twitter.com/Y7kirDAGBH
— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) May 27, 2023
Chris Livingston — Kentucky
Big Board ranking: No. 36
Livingston is a 6'7 wing with a 6'10 wingspan and an NBA-ready frame. He's an elite athlete who thrives in transition. He's an inconsistent shooter, but he's shown flashes.
Jalen Wilson — Kansas
Big board ranking: No. 43
The 6'8, 225-pound forward averaged 20.1 points and 8.3 rebounds as a senior for the Jayhawks on his way to Big 12 Player of the Year honors. He helped lead Kansas to the national championship in 2022. Wilson could immediately step in and give the Lakers wing size, though he'll be 23 years old for most of his rookie season.
Note: the following players are unranked on ClutchPoints' Big Board.
Oscar Tshiebwe — Kentucky
Tshiebwe is the most decorated player in the draft. He's among the most dominant rebounders in NCAA history. He's 6'9, 260, with a 7'4 wingspan, though he's already 23 years old. He's an absolute unit with a relentless motor. He's not a shooter or playmaker and his ceiling may not be All-Star, but it's hard to imagine him not finding a way to contribute at the next level. I could see him fitting in with the Lakers.
Tyger Campbell — UCLA
Angelenos (and general college basketball fans) will be keenly familiar with Campbell, who point-guarded UCLA to the 2021 Final Four. Campbell is only 5'11 and doesn't offer much as a scorer — he's arguably too unselfish — but he's a throwback orchestrator and leader. (On a personal note, he's been my favorite player in college hoops for a few years.)
Nadir Hifi — France
Hifi is a 6'1 shooting guard who will turn 21 a couple of weeks after the draft. He's a 41.3% 3-point shooter on high volume across his career in France.
Morris Udeze — New Mexico
Udeze spent five years in college after transferring from Wichita State (like Reaves) to New Mexico. He's a 6'8 bruiser who can score in the post and is known to have a high motor. He's projected to be a late second-round pick or go undrafted.
Cam Shelton — LMU
Shelton is a local kid, from Chino. He played two seasons at Northern Arizona before three seasons at Loyola Marymount. In 2022-23, the 6'2 point guard averaged 21.4 PPG and 4.2 APG. He hit 37.9% from 3, though shot 27.8% from deep the season prior.
Marcus Carr — Texas
Carr is another veteran prospect — he turns 24 on June 6. He began at Pittsburgh, sat out 2017-18, played two seasons at Minnesota, then finished with two campaigns at Texas. The 6'2 point guard upped his 3-point shooting volume (5.9 per game) and accuracy (36.8%) in 2022-23. He averaged 15.9 points and 4.1 assists this past season.
Justyn Mutts — Virginia Tech
Another 24-year-old who just completed his sixth collegiate season. Mutts is a 6'7 power forward from New Jersey who is projected to go late in the second round, at the earliest. His athleticism, motor, unselfishness, and shot creation are impressive, but his decision-making needs to be cleaned up. His upside may not be the highest.
Kevin Obanor — Texas Tech
Another sixth-year senior. Obanor, a 6'8 forward, brings a nice skillset on offense: He can shoot (38.1% from 3 in college), finish inside, and move well off the ball. His basketball IQ is high level. His defensive versatility is limited, but he could be worth a look deep in the draft.
Kihei Clark (Virginia)
Clark is only 5'10, 170, and he only averaged 8.9 points on 38.6% shooting (34.9% from 3) across five seasons at UVA. However, nobody puts up numbers in the Cavs' constrained offense. On the flip side, he possesses elite quickness and instincts, which enabled him to make the ACC All-Defensive team. He won a national title and has the most wins in ACC history (!). Clark is from Woodland Hills, California.
Kihei Clark is among the nation’s toughest defenders. He’s smart, he studies his assignment, and if you show the ball during a hand change, he’ll take it from you. Clark plays low, gets up underneath you, and pressures the ball from the opening tap. @ClarkKihei is a killer. pic.twitter.com/09qHXGkl9s
— Jay Bilas (@JayBilas) January 20, 2023
Adam Flagler (Baylor)
Flagler is a sniper. He hit 40% on 5.5 attempts per game over his last three seasons. He made a lot of big shots in big moments for the Bears. The 23-year-old might struggle to keep up with NBA two guards defensively, but he can light it up quickly. He's not a point guard, so his size (6'3) will be the biggest question mark.
Djordjije Jovanovic — Ontario Clippers
Jovanovic, 20, is a 6'7 guard from Montenegro who averaged 6.0 PPG in his one season in the G League.
Anton Watson — Gonzaga, DaRon Holmes II — Dayton
Watson and Holmes II were two of the 108 early entry candidates who have since withdrawn from the draft.