The 2018 NBA Draft is quickly approaching and the Los Angeles Lakers are putting the finishing touches on their big board. With just days left, they are continuing to evaluate prospects as they prepare themselves to make an educated decision when their picks coming up.
With both the 25th and 47th pick in this year’s draft, the Lakers have brought in a wide range of talented players, and this next group that they are working out is no exception. De’Anthony Melton from USC is likely the only player at the workout they would consider taking with the 25th pick and they will also see Peyton Aldridge from Davidson, Gabe Devoe from Clemson, Yante Maten from Georgia, Justin Tillman from VCU, and Kyle Washington from Cincinnati.
Melton is something of a mystery man because he didn’t play NCAA basketball last season after being caught up in an FBI investigation. Still, during the pre-draft combine and his lone season at USC, Melton flashed serious potential as a defensive standout at guard, where he uses his 6’8″ wingspan to disrupt passing lanes and block shots. The catch is that Melton’s jumper has been shaky, and his 28 percent from three at USC isn’t going to wow a Lakers team that badly needs shooters.
That said, Melton’s potential is significant and he could very well wind up being the one the Lakers turn to on draft night, which is where ESPN currently has him landing.
Aldridge, meanwhile, isn’t currently projected to hear his name called on draft night, but as a big who has range out to the three-point line, he’s going to get a look. Aldridge shot 38 percent from three while also grabbing 7.6 boards per game during his senior season at Davidson.
Devoe is a 6’3″ guard who excels at putting the ball in the basket, and currently holds the Clemson record for the most points scored in the NCAA Tournament. He also connected on 40 percent of his threes during his senior season, but his height makes him a bit undersized to be an NBA shooting guard.
Maten, like Aldridge, is a rangy big man who can step out behind the arc. He was the SEC Player of the Year during his senior season. At 6’8,” he has the size to be a modern power forward, but he’ll have to show that he can perform at the NBA level.
Tillman is a bit of a tweener forward, but much of his college game relied on interior scoring and rebounding, and he’s going to have to show flashes of a perimeter game at the NBA level. He could catch on as a high-energy big, and has the ability to finish lobs with ferocity, but that may not be enough to get his name called on draft night.
Rounding things out is Washington, another power forward who spent the first two years of his college career at North Carolina State before transferring to Cincinnati. He needed a strong senior season to really cement his standing among pro teams, but essentially put up numbers equal to his junior season. The Lakers will give him a look and see if he has what it takes.
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