When the Los Angeles Lakers moved up in the 2019 NBA Draft Lottery from the No. 11 pick to No. 4, it was a major and unexpected boost for them.
Most assumed the Lakers would use the pick in a trade, but there was always the possibility they could choose to keep the pick and add another intriguing young player such as Darius Garland, Jarrett Culver, or DeAndre Hunter.
Of the expected options, Garland held the most intrigue. Though injury cut his lone season at Vanderbilt short, Garland flashed a game tailor-made for today’s NBA. He is a great ballhandler, a shooter with deep range, and is great in the pick-and-roll. Many believed he could be a great fit for the Lakers if they chose to keep the No. 4 pick.
Of course, the No. 4 pick was used to trade for Anthony Davis from the New Orleans Pelicans, but the Garland reports may have had some substance to them. According to Dave McMenamin of ESPN, Garland did grant the Lakers a private workout:
After Garland pulled out of the NBA draft combine in Chicago last month and sat out his agency’s (Klutch Sports) pro day in Los Angeles, draft pundits wondered whether he had received a promise from a lottery team. Garland and his agent, Rich Paul, lifted the smoke screen this week, however, as the guard granted private workouts to both the Los Angeles Lakers and Cleveland Cavaliers in L.A., sources told ESPN.
As McMenamin noted, Garland actually left the 2019 NBA Draft Combine early with many assuming he received a promise. K.C. Johnson of Chicago Tribune reported the Lakers as one of the likely teams:
Garland, who played in only five games before a meniscus injury ended his lone college season, left the draft combine this week with an alleged draft promise from a lottery team. Multiple league executives assume it’s from the Lakers or Suns.
Garland would have been a very interesting selection had the Lakers kept the pick, but obviously, that is no longer the case. He could very well still be the choice at No. 4 for the New Orleans Pelicans or whoever winds up selecting at that position as they are shopping the pick as well.
Regardless, it is clear the Lakers were exploring all options on ways to improve their team this summer and will continue to do so moving forward.