To be successful in the 2022-23 season, the Los Angeles Lakers must add 3-and-D wings. The 2022 NBA Playoffs have shown how important those types of players are, and even with superstars in LeBron James and Anthony Davis having credible shooters and defenders around them is what can get them back to contending for titles.
The upcoming NBA Draft presents a good opportunity to find players who fit that mold, but it will be a challenge for Los Angeles as they currently do not own a pick.
Regardless, the Lakers have been hosting draft workouts and one prospect who stands out as an ideal fit is Alabama’s Keon Ellis.
Ellis talked about his former Alabama teammate Herb Jones, who just had an outstanding rookie season with the New Orleans Pelicans after being taken in the second round, and believes he can bring the same kinds of things to an NBA team.
“Honestly, a lot of the things like Herb [Jones] did,” Ellis said. “Guarding the top guys and making it tough on them, spacing the floor. I do think I can be a better spaced-creator, if you will. I definitely think, kind of the same role as [Jones] to make it tough on guys, kind of the dirty work, harassing the ball and passing lanes, stuff like that. I think that will be something that I’m good at and can contribute at the next level.”
Ellis has already visited several teams but admitted that working out for the Purple and Gold was a different experience for him.
“Honestly, when I go into a workout even though most of them are pretty similar, you do kind of the same stuff, 1-on-1s, 3-on-3s, kind of against each other with guys that you’ve never played with. So it’s all kind of the same thing, just go in there and be myself and just knowing kind of like you said, the first one you just kind of get it out of the way, the jitters and what not, but after that, it’s nothing different.
“You’re kind of doing it every day for however long so just going in and knowing that you can’t really be shellshocked because you’re here for a reason. You wouldn’t be here if you weren’t capable of it, so that’s kind of how I approach it… At first working out for the Lakers, you can kind of get caught up in the moment, but it’s just basketball, a lot of the same stuff you’ve been doing.”
The Crimson Tide product was named to the SEC All-Defensive Team and shot 36.6 percent from beyond the arc his senior year, two traits that make him a perfect target for the Lakers. He is projected to go somewhere in the middle of the second round, meaning that the team may need to purchase a pick to select him.
Keon Ellis says LeBron James is his favorite player
Ellis would be a great get for L.A. who could use his skillset, and it sounds like he would welcome being drafted by the team considering James is his favorite player.
“I don’t think it’s nothing crazy. I’ve obviously thought about the Lakers a lot, my favorite player is LeBron, so just coming in here and seeing the facility is great and everything. But I’ve kind of been around a lot, been around a lot of people and talent, so that’s kind of helped me not get too excited about everything. Just coming in and knowing I got a job to do, or a job interview if you will, so don’t really focus on that too much, just got to worry about myself. But it’s cool just being here.”
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