As the Toronto Raptors are one win away from dethroning the Golden State Warriors in the 2019 NBA Finals, the Los Angeles Lakers are preparing for the 2019 NBA Draft.
With just a 4.9% of getting a top-four pick, the Lakers somehow defied the odds by moving up seven spots from the No. 11 pick and have an extremely unexpected asset.
While most expect the Lakers to trade the No. 4 pick for a second All-Star player, they have been conducting pre-draft workouts if they ultimately keep it heading into June 20.
One potential player the Lakers could select is Darius Garland, who would be honored to play for them, via ESPN:
“It would be an honor to play with Lakers Nation. I mean it’s a legacy like just to be in the arena — it’s crazy. But my dream is just to play in the NBA, so I’m happy wherever I go.”
If the Lakers do keep the No. 4 pick, rival teams reportedly believe they have already made a draft day promise to Garland, according to KC Johnson of Chicago Tribune:
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.
As Garland is represented by Klutch Sports Group agent Rich Paul, it is not surprising he has been immediately linked to the Lakers since the 2019 NBA Draft Combine.
If the Lakers ultimately select Garland and do not trade him, there will be immediate questions about Lonzo Ball’s future in Los Angeles. However, Ball’s ability to play without the basketball and defend bigger players would actually complement Garland’s shooting in the backcourt.
Despite a small sample size of five games due to injury, Garland averaged 16.2 points on 53.7% shooting from the field and 47.8% shooting from the three-point line.
Along with Garland, the Lakers reportedly are interested in De’Andre Hunter and recently worked out Jarrett Culver.
Regardless of what happens with the No. 4 pick, the Lakers should be in a good position for the 2019-20 NBA season. Although the goal is a second All-Star player, adding a top-four prospect to the young core is not the worst scenario.