The Lakers held work outs with 6 more 2021 NBA Draft prospects. Here’s what to know.
For the third time in nine days, the Los Angeles Lakers hosted six 2021 NBA Draft prospects for workouts, about two weeks before they’ll pick 22nd at the Barclays Center.
We covered L.A.’s first two rounds of workouts, which you can catch up on here and here. The most notable name from the first session may have been Ohio guard Jason Preston — a Detroit Pistons blogger in high school and a polished lead guard who is rapidly rising draft boards.
Following his workout with the Lakers, I asked former Ohio guard Jason Preston what part of his game he thinks is underappreciated. His answer? Athleticism. pic.twitter.com/z5fJFGpppR
— michael corvo (@_michaelcorvo_) July 7, 2021
Last Saturday, the Lakers hosted stringy and athletic 3-and-D forward Trey Murphy III, who may very well be the Lakers’s first-round selection, should he still be available.
On Friday, the team worked out Wisconsin guard D’Mitrik Trice, sharpshooter Jordan Schakel from San Diego State, LSU’s Javonte Smart, seasoned floor-general JaQuori McLaughlin from UC Santa Barbara, Duke forward Matthew Hurt, and promising big Isaiah Todd from the G League Ignite.
Unlike in the previous two sessions, the Lakers did not hold a media availability with any of the prospects following the workouts.
Here are a few things to know about each prospect. (As a reminder, L.A. does not have a second-round pick, and they can’t trade their first-rounder until after the draft, per the Stepien Rule.)
D’Mitrik Trice, Wisconsin
Trice is a 6’0 guard who is already 25 years old. As a senior in 2020-21, he averaged a career-high 13.9 points and nearly 4.0 assists per game, earning All-Big Ten Third Team honors. He shot 38.1% from three for his collegiate career, though he can be a bit streaky.
His defense and play-making are adequate for the college level but have a ways to go for NBA ball. D’Mitrik is a smart if undersized combo guard with good, not great, athleticism. Truthfully, how his shooting translates may determine if he makes it in the NBA.
Notably, Trice has incredible basketball genes. His brother, Travis, plays professionally. His dad, Travis Sr., balled for Purdue and Butler. Las Vegas Aces guard and 2019 No. 1 overall pick Jackie Young is his father’s cousin. Trice’s grandfather, Bob Pritchett, starred for Old Dominion in the 1960s.
Trice is projected to be drafted in the late second-round, if at all.
Jordan Schakel, SDSU
Schakel is an appealing candidate for the Lakers. The 6’6, 23-year old is an elite shooter, finishing 3rd in three-pointers made in the history of the San Diego State program.
— Jordan Schakel (@jordanschakel) March 29, 2021
As a senior, the Torrance native shot 46.1% from deep, ranking fourth in the nation and earning Second Team All-Mountain West honors.
Growing up in California, he idolized Kobe Bryant and Klay Thompson — fellow 6’6(ish) wings who are pretty good at shooting the rock. In fact, Schakel — who has already worked out for the Warriors — modeled his game after Thompson.
Javonte Smart, LSU
At 6’4, 200 lbs., with a 6’7 wingspan, Smart has great size at the point guard position, though he can play either backcourt spot.
After a dominant high school career in Baton Rouge, Smart was a five-star recruit who opted to play at his hometown campus.
Smart excelled for the Tigers and became one of the best guards in the SEC. Last season, he put up 16.0 PPG, 4.0 APG, 3.7 rebounds, and 1.3 steals per game on impressive .460/.402/.857 shooting splits. He led the conference in minutes and 3-point accuracy, posted 25 games in double figures and eight games of 20+ points. Dude can fill it up.
As a sophomore, Smart led the SEC in assist-to-turnover ratio. He can unselfishly make plays while (permanently) remaining in attack mode. Whether he’ll be explosive enough and can hone his floor general skills at the next level is uncertain.
His track record would suggest he’s ice under pressure. Smart dropped 27/9/6 in LSU’s Round of 32 loss to the Michigan Wolverines in the NCAA Tournament.
He’s also won two gold medals as a member of FIBA U15 and U17 squads.
JaQuori McLaughlin, UCSB
Like Smart, McLaughin is a 6’4 guard, capable of being a lead ball-handler or playing off the ball.
A fifth-year senior, McLaughin is seasoned and crafty. His IQ enabled him to nab steals for the Gauchos, and he knows how to instinctually make plays on the offensive end.
He began his career at Oregon State and set the program freshman record with 58 three-pointers.
This past season, he won Big West Conference Player of the Year and conference tournament MVP while leading UCSB to a stellar 22-5 record and NCAA Tournament berth. Overall, he averaged 16.0 PPG, 5.2 APG, and 1.5 SPG while shooting 40.8 percent from three.
His shot-selection was not always ideal, but he would almost certainly reel that in as an NBA rookie vs. starring for a mid-major.
McLaughlin said his go-to point guard inspirations are Jason Kidd, Magic Johnson, Deron Williams, and Chris Paul, so he clearly has a love of setting up his teammates and commanding the tempo. He also said he’s been studying Steph Curry’s off-ball movement to enhance that aspect of his game. Smart.
His defense is underrated, at least in the Big West.
Another underrated guard – JaQuori McLaughlin. Great D on this play pic.twitter.com/HyW4fN28ww
— mike gribanov (@mikegrib8) April 8, 2021
McLaughlin is ranked 87th on ESPN’s Big Board. At 23, he’s a mature kid and could be a viable candidate for the Lakers to invite to Summer League. Personally, I love him as a late-draft sleeper.
Matthew Hurt, Duke
Hurt, a 6’9 forward, led the ACC in scoring in 2020-21, averaging 18.3 PPG (and 6.2 RPG). He made all-conference first team and was named the ACC’s Most Improved Player. Hurt was named Mr. Basketball for his home state of Minnesota.
Hurt made 55.6% of his field-goal attempts this past season, including 44.4% on 5.3 attempts per game from beyond the arc. He isn’t always eager to let it fly, though, which he’ll need to overcome at the next level.
The skilled forward’s scoring prowess isn’t resigned to the outside, either. According to ESPN (via Synergy Sports), Hurt converted 48% of his off the dribble jump shots, 71% of his post-ups, and 69% of his transition attempts — all relatively strong marks.
In theory, he helps address the Lakers’ need for shooting and spacing, but not perimeter play-making nor athleticism. His defense and lack of physicality may hold him back in the pros.
Hurt won gold with Team USA at the 2018 FIBA Americas U18 Championship.
Hurt is currently ranked 59th on ESPN’s Big Board and is projected as a mid-to-late second-round pick. In all likelihood, the Lakers would need to trade into the second round to snag him.
Isaiah Todd, G League Ignite
Todd is the biggest (6’10, 200, 7’2 wingspan) and youngest (19) player the Lakers worked out on Friday. He also might be the most gifted. He’s long, fluid, coordinated, quick, and athletic.
New Max Vertical numbers from the NBA Draft Combine:
Terrence Shannon Jr – 39.5”
Joshua Primo – 37.5”
Corey Kispert – 37.5”
Charles Bassey – 36”
Isaiah Todd – 35.5”
— Derek Murray (@dmurrayNBA) June 23, 2021
His lone season in the G League didn’t start off great, but he got better as it went along. In the end, he averaged 12.3 PPG and 4.9 RPG. He shot 43.7 from the field, but an encouraging 36.2% from three and 82.4% from the free-throw line.
At the very least, and with good coaching, he should be a useful and versatile defender, with the ability to protect the rim (maybe) and switch onto guards.
Todd doesn’t have any major weakness in his game, though his body has a ways to go (he didn’t get to the line nearly enough), and he doesn’t particularly excel at any one craft. Per For the Win, he shot just 58% at the rim in the G-League bubble, which is not promising. Whether he can rebound in the Association is a fair question.
Also, the sample size is small, as he only played 15 games for the Ignite. He did not part-take in scrimmages at the draft combine in June.
As a two-way threat, Todd is your classic high-ceiling/low floor athletic big.
The 2021 NBA Draft is July 29.