Although the Los Angeles Lakers are out of the playoffs, there is still plenty of work to be done as the 2021 NBA Draft is scheduled for July 29.
The Lakers hold the No. 22 overall pick and in a deep draft, the team has an excellent opportunity to either nab a player who can help in the short-term or swing for the fences on someone who has plenty of upside and potential.
So far, Los Angeles has conducted several interviews with players including Gonzaga’s Corey Kispert. Shooting is one of the Lakers’ top priorities in the offseason, so it makes sense as to why they would want to interview arguably the best shooter in the draft in Kispert.
However, center is also another area of need because of the uncertainty around Andre Drummond, Marc Gasol and Montrezl Harrell returning. According to Ben Anderson of KSL Sports, the Lakers recently interviewed Neemias Queta of Utah State:
Neemias Queta said he's talked to the Los Angeles Lakers, Dallas Mavericks, Phoenix Suns, and Portland Trail Blazers at the NBA combine.
— Ben Anderson (@BensHoops) June 25, 2021
Queta’s stock in the draft has risen throughout the draft process and he is one of a handful of players who helped themselves during the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago. Queta measured in at 6-11.2 with 7-4 wingspan and 9-4.5 standing reach, which are excellent measurables for a big man in today’s NBA.
The center previously attended the 2019 NBA Draft Combine but underperformed as he struggled against other players in the class, eventually making the smart decision to return to school and work on his game. This time around, Queta has caught the eye of team scouts and evaluators and it seems as though he has a good shot of getting drafted.
Despite his great showing at the combine, Queta is still widely regarded as a second-round pick, which means the Lakers may be able to select him later if they are able to secure another selection in the second round. It will be interesting to see how Los Angeles approaches the draft in the coming weeks.
Lakers interview Trey Murphy III
The Lakers also interviewed Virginia wing Trey Murphy III and he is a worthwhile option with their first-round pick as he is the type of 3-and-D player they currently do not have on the roster. Murphy is able to shoot from distance as well as play solid perimeter defense.
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