The 2018 NBA Draft Combine is officially underway and the Los Angeles Lakers are interviewing players for their No. 25 and 47 picks that will be used June 21.
In the weeks leading up to the combine, the Lakers held multiple workouts at their UCLA Health Training Center, hosting three separate groups of six prospects. At the Draft Combine, it’s known the team interviewed Josh Hart’s former Villanova teammate Donte DiVincenzo.
In addition, the Lakers also met with USC guard De’Anthony Melton, according to Tania Ganguli of L.A. Times:
Melton, who played high school basketball at Encino Crespi, had his first interview at the combine with the Lakers. Every team he has met with has asked him to explain what happened at USC. He has tried to show them his character and explain his emotions going through the process.
“I’m stronger than I thought I was,” Melton said. “Going through that, that was tough, but I realized something about myself. Never get taken off my guard again and take advantage of any opportunity.”
After being connected to an FBI investigation, Melton was ineligible to play his sophomore season. As a result, the 19-year-old withdrew from USC in February and has denied taking any money while in college.
For the Lakers, Melton is a potential option with the first round draft pick they acquired from the Cleveland Cavaliers at the trade deadline. While Melton will need to show his game has improved at the combine and pre-draft workouts, he is currently a late first round draft pick, according to MyNBADraft.
As the Lakers struggled with backcourt depth during the 2017-18 NBA season, it should be an area of focus for president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka via the 2018 NBA Draft or free agency.
Although Lonzo Ball and Hart are part of the team’s future, both players missed a combined 49 games in their rookie season.