Entering the 2021 NBA Draft, the Los Angeles Lakers will have several holes they need to fill as over half the roster will be entering free agency.
The Lakers will likely try to retain players like Alex Caruso, Talen-Horton-Tucker and Dennis Schroder, but there will still be voids on the roster. The center rotation is an open question mark as Andre Drummond is an unrestricted free agent while Montrezl Harrell holds a player option that he can choose to exercise. There is also Marc Gasol, who admitted he is unsure of his future plans despite being under contract for one more year.
Even though Los Angeles will do its best to keep the bulk of its core intact, the team does not have any young talent worth developing outside of Horton-Tucker. With the No. 22 pick, the Lakers could choose to rectify that and according to Chase Hughes of NBC Washington, they recently interviewed Tennessee guard Jaden Springer at the NBA Draft Combine:
Jaden Springer, a likely top-20 pick, says he's interviewed with the Knicks, Raptors, Lakers and Suns among many teams. He read the whole list (helpful!) and the Wizards weren't on it.
— Chase Hughes (@ChaseHughesNBCS) June 24, 2021
Springer is actually a realistic target for the Lakers at No. 22 as he showed he was an excellent on and off-ball defender, something that will surely earn him some leeway with head coach Frank Vogel. He is a solid decision-maker with the ball in his hands and has even shown some potential as a spot-up shooter despite taking a limited amount at Tennessee.
Another reason the Lakers should look hard at Springer is his age because he does not turn 19 until just before the start of the 2020-21 season. Los Angeles has shown a propensity for developing raw prospects and although Springer has definite NBA skills, he is considered more of a project.
Although the Purple and Gold could use a player who can contribute right away, there is an argument to be made that they should also be looking toward the future. Springer’s skillset is an intriguing one and if he is available when the Lakers are picking he may just be too hard to pass up.
Lakers also interview other prospects at combine
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