The Los Angeles Lakers might have identified their target in the 2022 NBA Draft class, inviting Syracuse alum Cole Swider for a second pre-draft workout.
Swider returned for the Lakers’ final workout on Tuesday having practiced with L.A.’s coaches in late May. The 6-foot-9 forward comes off a breakout season with Syracuse, doubling his production after transferring from Villanova ahead of his senior year.
In 2021-22, Swider averaged 13.9 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.0 steals in 33 games, notably shooting 41.1% from downtown on six 3-point attempts per game — emerging as a prolific big man who can stretch the floor, a player who could fit particularly well with the Lakers.
The 23-year-old said L.A. has been “one of his best workouts,” adding he had a chance to speak with vice president of basketball operations and general manager Rob Pelinka on Tuesday.
“Obviously getting brought back for a second time, it’s been great,” Swider said. “So you kind of get familiar with everybody getting to say hi to the coaches again for a second time. And, again, it talked to Rob Pelinka and everything like that.
“So it’s been an honor to come here. And obviously, the prestige of the Lakers is, is a dream. So it was obviously amazing to be here.”
Swider was also been invited back by the Milwaukee Bucks and the Atlanta Hawks. The forward said he hopes to find a team that will value his skillset, and the Lakers could be that team.
“Yeah, I mean, I think for me, it’s just looking for the best opportunity possible,” Swider said. “If that’s getting drafted if that’s going undrafted. I just want an opportunity and be with an organization where they value me, play my skill set, and work with me until my deficiencies.
“So I think the Lakers could be a great fit. I think there’s some other teams around the league and be a great fit. But ultimately, it’s just finding the right organization. And that’s getting drafted or not drafted. That’s, that’s up to the teams, but I’m willing to do whatever it takes to make it in this league.”
Shareef O’Neal declared for 2022 NBA Draft despite dad Shaquille’s disapproval
On Tuesday, Swider worked out alongside Shareef O’Neal, legendary Lakers Shaquille O’Neal’s son. Shareef revealed he’s been going through the draft process by himself as his father thought the young forward should have stayed in college.
“Me and him have kind of bumped heads about this process,” Shareef said.
“He wanted me to stay in school. I wanted to better myself and go through this. He knows I’m working out for teams but I’m not going to lie, we haven’t talked about this. I’m kind of just going through it. He didn’t do any pre-draft workouts. He just got straight on a team. It’s a different grind. But he didn’t want me to do this.
“I know he probably he doesn’t want me saying this but it’s alright, we’re both grown. We’ll get past it.”
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