With the 2021 NBA Draft set to get underway next week, the Los Angeles Lakers continue to evaluate draft prospects by bringing in some of the best and brightest from the college game for workouts.
On Friday, the Lakers brought in a handful of players, including Los Angeles native Josh Christopher out of Arizona State. Christopher is a 19-year-old shooting guard who could be an intriguing option for L.A. if he falls to them at No. 22 overall on draft day.
Following his workout with the team on Friday, Christopher spoke to the media and gave his assessment of how he thought the workout went with the team he grew up watching.
“I guess it’s not my job to evaluate, but I think I played pretty good,” Christopher said. “We competed for the most part. We gave effort. Shot the ball pretty solid. Played defense and learned a couple new things, so I think it went really good.”
Although many players tend to be in awe of the Lakers facility with banners and retired numbers on the walls, Friday was quite special for Christopher. The 6’5″ guard brought a different kind of energy to his post-workout interview as it was clear he and his family are diehard fans of the team.
“I was just thinking of my grandma the whole time. Since I was a baby we would always sit around and watch the Lakers play, so I was thinking of my grandma. Just being from L.A. it feels like I’m here. This is where I’m supposed to be. It’s surreal.
“I told Mr. Miles Simon I was grateful and thank you for having me. I just had to express my gratitude. It’s a blessing.”
The one thing on Christopher’s mind coming into this workout with the Lakers was seeing the practice floor in El Segundo, which is quite a sight even for those that aren’t a fan of the storied franchise.
“When I first got here, I wanted to see the court so bad, but we had to do a bunch of other stuff. But like seeing the court I was like, ‘Wow! This is crazy.’
“For sure some excitement, but I had to lock back in and handle business.”
Along with having contagious energy from the word go in his interview, Christopher shared what some of his goals are as he prepares to play on the next level in the NBA.
As a fan of the Lakers, he knows the culture of winning that comes with wearing the Purple and Gold and proceeded to say all the right things to win over the Lakers faithful.
“To be a winner, man. This whole NBA thing is about jewelry, so if I could get all my fingers with some diamonds on them with some NBA championships, hang some banners and just be successful. Set my kids up. Inspire others and just have fun. Be happy. That’s the most important thing to me.”
With Christopher being a Lakers fan since birth, it comes as no surprise who was his favorite player while growing up in Los Angeles. The Sun Devils star admitted that even though he’s a LeBron James fan, he was all about Kobe Bryant during his time falling in love with the game.
Bryant left such an impact on the draft prospect that he has a tattoo on his wrist in honor of the Lakers legend.
“My favorite Laker growing up? I mean, it’s tatted on me. Mr. Kobe Bryant, of course. I’ve always been a LeBron [James] fan, but I mean, we were watching Kobe before LeBron put on that jersey. I was watching both. I’ve been watching the game all my life.
“I got the opportunity to go to a Laker parade when I was a little boy. I’ve been around the game forever. My grandma is a diehard Laker fan. She’s been watching since I was in diapers, so I got to bleed Purple and Gold.”
Christopher ended his interview with what it would mean for him to be drafted by his hometown team on July 29.
“I would literally take it as an opportunity to just work. I wouldn’t take it for granted knowing that I have been in L.A. getting my grind on forever. I would soak it in, but then I wouldn’t let that opportunity get away from me.
“You don’t get this opportunity to be drafted by your hometown from the Lakers. Such a prestigious organization, so to not take it for granted and to put in work. That’s the culture here.”
Currently, the consensus seems to be that Christopher will get drafted in the first round of next week’s draft. However, most mock drafts have him being taken well beyond No. 22, meaning the Lakers could be looking elsewhere unless he blew them away during his workout with the team.
In his lone season at Arizona State, Christopher averaged 14.3 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game while shooting 43.2 percent from the floor and 30.5 percent from beyond the arc.
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