For 2018 NBA Draft prospects, the pre-draft workout process, whether with individual teams or at the annual combine, is an exciting time. For USC Trojan Chimezie Metu, working out with the Los Angeles Lakers had special meaning.
Metu grew up a fan of the team and in particular their former point guard and current president of basketball operations Magic Johnson. The young forward relished going through his pre-draft workout in front of Johnson and being able to speak with the Hall-of-Famer afterward.
As for the Lakers current roster, the 21-year-old had prior experience playing against fellow Pac-12 products Lonzo Ball and Kyle Kuzma, and he noticed both their impact and improvement since their collegiate days.
“Those are two really good players. Lonzo, he changes the game so much. My freshman year he wasn’t on [UCLA] and they were completely different,” Metu said.
“Second year, he was there and they were completely different. Last year he wasn’t there and they were completely different again. He changes the game in such a dynamic way, where he doesn’t have to score or have the ball in his hands to make a difference.”
As for Kuzma, Metu now sees him as a more complete player. “He’s gotten so much better since when I played him. He was more of a slasher, now he’s doing stuff off the dribble. He’s really improved on his game,” Metu said.
“I’m a Laker fan, so it’s really fun to watch both of those guys go to work.”
Where Metu will get selected in the 2018 NBA Draft won’t be decided until next month. If there’s a hope to join the Lakers, Metu will need to fall to at least the 25th overall pick. Los Angeles also has the 47th pick (second round).