The Los Angeles Lakers opened their gym up to a dozen players hopeful of being drafted by the storied franchise. Personal development coaches Mark Madsen and Larry Lewis were present to run drills and work the players behind closed doors, Lakers president Jeanie Buss was visible watching from above and Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak was standing on the court.
“It was a pretty good workout,” Noah Vonleh, one of the top prospects told the LA media after the morning session. “We did a lot of different things. We did some ball handling, we all did some post moves, moves off the dribble into different finishes, we played 2-on-2, 3-on-3 and then we ended off the workout with shots—60 shots.”
Along with Vonleh, the morning session featured five other players including Marcus Smart from Oklahoma State.
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“I’m a play maker, not just on offense or defense. I’m a playmaker on both sides,” Smart described his game after the workout. “I can affect the game on both ends.”
Along with Smart and Vonleh, former Syracuse Orangeman Tyler Ennis took part in the morning session, and the Canadian revealed that Lakers point guard Steve Nash came out to take a look at the morning session and offer support.
“I think that’s definitely a way to show competitiveness,” Ennis remarked when asked about what it was like to match up against Smart.
Also in the morning session, former UCLA Bruin Zach LaVine opened eyes by setting a team record with a 46-inch vertical jump, which looks even more impressive on camera.
Prior to the conclusion of the second session of workouts, the team offered Kupchak to the media. Although the understanding was that Kupchak would not answer questions regarding the coaching search, the face of the Lakers’ basketball operations was asked to discuss the coaching vacancy.
“The coaching search is ongoing,” Kupchak responded and moved back onto the questions focused on the day's workouts.
In the afternoon session, the two highly touted talents were Doug McDermott out of Creighton and Aaron Gordon out of Arizona. As luck would have it, the two top talents played against each other in the workouts, and both guys had a couple scratches to show for it.
“I guarded Doug the whole time. Doug guarded me the whole time,” Gordon said.
With regards to personality and confidence in front of the cameras and microphones, Gordon was probably the most entertaining of the 12 prospects.
“Kobe’s psychotic about basketball and I am too,” the former Arizona Wildcat said when asked about what it would be like to play for the Lakers. “That would just be absolutely incredible, learning from a great.”
When asked what he meant by calling himself “psychotic,” Gordon smiled and explained, “I did a workout before this…this wasn’t my first workout of the day.”
Gordon’s athletic ability was further confirmed on Wednesday, but the player who hopes to play as a point forward in the NBA one day may not be available by the time the Lakers’ number is called with the no. 7 pick. Gordon said he expected to be drafted somewhere between no. 4 and no. 8.
The Lakers are expected to host at least one more workout prior to the June 26 NBA Draft, so their draft board expects to change a great deal between Wednesday's workout and draft day.