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The Lakers worked out 6 (more) 2021 NBA Draft prospects. Here’s what to know.

Lakers Hyland Trey Murphy Chaundree Brown DJ Funderburk Austin Reaves Oscar da Silva

The Los Angeles Lakers held their latest round of workouts for 2021 NBA Draft prospects on Saturday.

The Lakers hosted (former) Oklahoma guard Austin Reaves, Virginia’s Trey Murphy III, Stanford forward Oscar da Silva, VCU’s Nah’Shon “Bones” Hyland, Michigan super-sub Chaundee Brown Jr., and NC State big man DJ Funderburk.

The Lakers own the No. 22 overall pick in the draft, but no second-rounder. Unlike Wednesday’s group of prospects — including fast-rising ex-Ohio guard Jason Preston — Saturday’s group featured at least one potential first-rounder.

After the sweat, Murphy and Hyland briefly Zoomed with the media.

Here are a few words about each prospect, 19 days before the July 29 draft.

Austin Reaves

Reaves, a 6’5 wing, shot 45.1% from three in two seasons at Wichita St. but proved to be more of a midrange threat over two years in the Big 12.

His three-point shooting accuracy plummeted (27.7%) on 2.0 more attempts per game. Despite the struggles, Reaves rounded out his game, and earned first-team All-Conference honors, averaging 18.4 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 4.6 assists for the Sooners. In two NCAA Tournament games, he put up 23 and 27 points, respectively — the latter on Gonzaga.

He’s an elite free throw shooter (84.4%), and simply has a knack for crafty scoring.

The 23-year old impressively re-invented himself from an off-ball shooting specialist into a Big Point Guard while at Oklahoma. The Lakers are (always) looking for perimeter play-making, shooting, and NBA-ready hoops IQ (who isn’t?). Reaves checks those boxes.

ESPN has Reaves ranked No. 43 on its board.

Trey Murphy III

The Lakers interviewed Murphy at the combine in June, so they’re clearly interested in his talent.

“I would say the workout went pretty well,” Murphy said about his latest interaction with the Lakers. “Guys were competing at a really high level. It was a lot of fun out there. Definitely one of my harder workouts I would say … Just testing our shape, testing our mental toughness. It was a really good time, to meet the staff, the front office, there are a lot of really good people in there.”

At 6’9, Murphy has Tracy McGrady-like size at the wing and projects as a prototypical 3-and-D. He’s rangy, springy, and can light it up.

He drained 43.3% of his triples for the Cavaliers in 2020-21 after shooting 39.0% on nearly six attempts per game during his first two collegiate seasons at Rice University. He improved his free throw shooting from 78.4% at Rice to 92.7%(!) at UVA.

Murphy’s play-making, passing, and off-the-dribble game are works in progress, but he can make it rain, full stop. According to ESPN (via Synergy), Murphy is, statistically, the best half-court scorer and standstill open shooter in the draft.

However, his shot wasn’t falling at its typical rate during the Lakers’ notorious ‘Mentality’ drill.

“The last drill’s the ‘mentality’ drill,” he shared following the workout. “It’s a really tough one. Basically, you’re just by yourself going full-court, end line to end line, just trying to get buckets or score 3s. It’s one point for a layup, two points for a midrange, and three points for a three-pointer. And, you just try to get as high you can in 90 seconds. And, wasn’t too proud of my score, definitely want to do better on that one. Still, was a good learning lesson.”

The 21-year old has a ways to go on in terms of team defense, but his athleticism and 7’0 wingspan offer enticing potential for Frank Vogel to work with.

“My first year, obviously, you can’t really control a lot except for your effort and your energy,” he said on Saturday. “And I’m gonna have to learn and make my adjustments. But over time, I want to become an All-Star, I want to be really good at the game of basketball. And I want to win a lot and play for a long time. I really love this game a lot and hopefully, I can do that at a high level.”

Murphy is ranked No. 18 on ESPN’s Big Board, and it’s easy to see why. He could be a first-round target for the Lakers.

Oscar da Silva

In da Silva’s senior season at Stanford, the standout forward posted 18.5 points, 6.7 boards, 2.4 assists, 1.0 blocks, and 0.9 steals per game. He made his second consecutive All-Pac-12 First Team, Pac-12 All-Defense, and, btw, Pac-12 Scholar-Athlete of the Year (not bad).

At 6’9, 225, da Silva is a bit of a throwback — a 4 that mainly scores on the interior. He’s more smooth than plodding, though.

His best assets may be his mind, motor, and feel.

 

da Silva has displayed a bit of three-point range, shooting nearly 34% on 2.1 long-distance attempts per game in his Palo Alto career. If he can make pick-and-pop jumpers and laterally move just well enough to guard PnR, da Silva could contribute to an NBA squad right away.

Since the Cardinal’s season came to an end, da Silva hooped in his home country, for MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg of the German Basketball Bundesliga. In 17 games, he averaged 6.6 points and 3.2 rebounds in 13.7 minutes.

Nah’Shon Hyland

Like Murphy III, Hyland is rapidly rising up draft boards. The 6’3 guard (No. 30 on ESPN), has a real shot to land in the first round coming off a stellar sophomore campaign at Virginia Commonwealth and a dazzling performance at last month’s combine.

Hyland, the reigning Atlantic 10 Player of the Year, put up 19.5 points, 4.7 rebounds, 2.1 assists, and 1.9 steals for VCU in 2020-21, with .447/.371/.862 shooting splits. As a freshman, he shot over 43% from deep, and he doesn’t need a ton of space (or encouragement) to let it fly.

The best part of the 20-year old’s game may be his off-the-dribble skills, which enables him to convert the threat of his shooting into confident paint attacks.

On Saturday, Hyland said the “combo guard” label often tagged to him “shows you my versatility.” He can be irresponsible with the ball — he averaged more turnovers than assists in 2020-21 — but believes his play-making is better than folks realize.

“Honestly, I’m just a hooper,” he said. “People list me as a 1, people list me as a 2. I can play any position. I can play off the ball. Shoot the lights out off the ball, can shoot the lights out on the ball. I’m a very underrated passer, underrated playmaker.”

His on-ball defense is strong, too, thanks in part to his 6-foot-9+ inch wingspan.

 

Hyland prefers to go by his nickname, ‘Bones’. That’s certainly awesome — though it also highlights a need to add some meat onto his slender, 169-pound frame.

“It’s crazy ’cause I always had a slim frame, but even slimmer frame than this when I was younger,” he said about his nickname on Saturday, which he credited two childhood friends for coining. “I just ran with it from there. It just stuck to me. It fits me so perfect.”

Bones was spared the mentality drill “due to a minor injury,” but said the “whole workout was great.”

“I feel as though I showed a whole lot. My offensive skills at a high level, shooting the ball. Just everything. I feel like I showed a lot.”

Hyland also worked out for Clippers, said he understands the magnitude of playing for the Lakers, and he could feel it at the practice facility on Saturday.

“It’s just like ‘Wow, you’re at the Lakers facility,'” he said. “It’s one of the best organizations in history. Just coming in here first, seeing all the banners, all the greats. Seeing guys who’ve been in the program more than 30 years, even 60 years. Just being around that energy…If I get picked to come here, it’s gonna be dream come true, a blessing just to be around greats. You have something to strive toward …You don’t want to take it for granted.”

Bones could infuse Lakers’ second units with the back-court scoring punch they’ve often lacked.

Chaundee Brown Jr.

Brown spent his first three years at Wake Forest before spending a season as a valuable Sixth Man for Juwan Howard and the Michigan Wolverines. In his lone Big Ten experience, the 6’5, 215-lb. small forward averaged 8.0 points and 3.1 rebounds in 19.9 minutes per game and made nearly 42% of his threes.

He has an NBA-ready body and athleticism, evidenced by his insane success (nearly 80%!) on shots around the rim in 2020-21. His consistent energy off the bench sparked the Wolverines all season.

In theory, one could envision the 20-year old Orlando native as a catch-and-shoot 3-and-D at the next level, which would be his ideal role for Los Angeles. His ceiling may not be the highest of the crop, but Brown Jr. blossoming into a rock-solid two-way role player is not hard to imagine.

At the moment, he’s projected as a late-second-round pick.

DJ Funderburk

Funderburk, at 24, is amongst the oldest players in the ’21 class.

The 6’10, 225-lb. big man spent three seasons at NC State, and put up 12.6 points and 5.6 rebounds on 56.2% shooting as a senior. He began his collegiate career at Ohio State before spending 2017-18 at Northwest Florida State College.

Funderburk previously worked out for the Charlotte Hornets. He spoke on the importance of developing a diverse skill-set in the modern NBA.

“Not even necessarily putting myself as a big man. I’ve always internally felt I was more than that,” Funderburk said. “But I never really got a chance to show that…In this game now, it’s not really a position. You’ve got Joel Embiid shooting 3’s and crossing people. And Kyle Lowry and Chris Paul posting people up … You’ve got to be able to do everything, and that’s what I’ve been trying to do all summer.”

Funderburk’s first step will be to hone his jumper, as he’s yet to consistently display range (23.7% 3Pt) while at NC State.

If his name gets called, it’ll likely come late in the second round.