Lakers Draft Workouts: Khalifa Diop Explains What He Can Bring To NBA Teams
Khalifa Diop, Lakers, 2022 NBA Draft
Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

It is never too late to bring in potential prospects for a pre-draft workout and for the Los Angeles Lakers, the time leading up to Thursday’s NBA Draft is crucial to start the process of adding changes to next season’s roster.

With the Lakers being interested in acquiring a second-round draft pick, the focus for Monday’s workout was to bring in projected second-round picks to see what the talent pool will look like and if the team certainly wants to go for one of these young draftees.

A prospect that headlined Monday’s workout at the Lakers practice facility was the Senegalese 7-foot big man Khalifa Diop.

Diop, who is forecasted to go somewhere in the second round, put his lengthy upside on notice during a potent workout.

“It was great, the intensity, the defense, we talked to everybody, our teammates,” Diop said after the workout. “The intensity, I liked it.”

Being a traditional center in today’s NBA can have its pros and cons, but for the system head coach Darvin Ham wants to implement on both ends of the floor, Diop would fit right in with the Purple and Gold.

As the Lakers search the draft board for a player who can fit their roster needs, Diop has now shown the team that the skillset he provides is tailor made with the front office’s aspirations to make another championship run.

“I bring a lot of rebounds, defensive rebounding, guarding small guys one-on-one, boxing out, setting good picks and good rolls,” Diop said. “Sometimes going to a slow roll and looking for a pass, I do that good.”

The Herbalife Gran Canaria big man’s stats are not eye popping, averaging only 6.7 points and 4.3 rebounds per game last season. However, the Lakers would just be looking for a prospect they can develop over time to add to the organization.

With a 7’2″ wingspan and an offensive arsenal that excels in the paint, Diop can bring a similar style of play to what JaVale McGee and Dwight Howard brought to the Lakers during their 2020 NBA Championship run.

In fact, Diop has emulated his game after his old-school strengths, gaining inspiration from two All-Star big men in Bam Adebayo and Joel Embiid.

“I see a lot of video of Bam Adebayo and Joel Embiid. I like Bam, he defends good, blocks, box out, rebound, set good picks. I like it. And Joel Embiid too is a great player, he shoots, dribbles, 3-point shot, fadeaways, defense, he does everything.”

The intangibles Diop brings to the table will be valuable for any NBA franchise. If the Lakers end up acquiring a draft pick and take Diop, the upside he highlighted during Monday’s pre-draft workout will be a big reason why.

Darvin Ham on value of role players to Laker

The quest to craft a roster around Laker stars LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook will be a challenging journey considering the limited salary cap and trade assets the Lakers possess.

However, no roster reaches its championship-caliber potential without essential role players who do their specific job on the team well. Role players are the exact thing Ham desires when putting a successful squad together, as he stated in his introductory press conference.

Searching for role players who fit the Lakers needs, such as 3-and-D wings and a floor-spacing post player, seem to be a winning recipe to give the All-Stars a complementary supporting cast.

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