The Los Angeles Lakers forged ahead in their preparation for the 2018 NBA Draft, though Tuesday’s pre-draft workout featured prospects that at-best would be candidates for the team’s 47th (second round) overall pick.
Among the latest to pass through the UCLA Health Training Center was Saint Mary’s guard Emmett Naar. He followed in the footsteps of former teammate and fellow Australian native, Jock Landale, who worked out with the Lakers on Monday.
It was the first pre-draft workout for both prospects, which set the stage for a bit of friendly competition. “I called him right after, while he was sitting over there waiting to get picked up,” Naar said.
“He gave me the lowdown on what he did and how he did. His score in that last drill. I beat him by six, for the record. That was my whole goal going in. I knew what he got, and I had to beat that.”
Though, being that it was his first workout also made for some nerves. “It was a great experience. It was really fun,” Naar said.
“I was a bit nervous out there at first but going against some really great players, it’s great to test what I can do. Obviously, there’s areas I need to work on but I thought I competed well. I really enjoyed my experience.”
Naar received All-West Coast Conference First Team and National Association of Basketball Coaches First Team honors this season. He finished his career ranked first on Saint Mary’s all-time assists list (795) and 14th all-time in scoring (1,310).
The senior guard averaged 9.5 points and 7.9 assists, which was second overall in the NCAA. Naar draws inspiration from fellow Saint Mary’s product Patty Mills as well as Matthew Dellavedova, both of whom were unheralded Australians that have established themselves in the NBA.
“Seeing what they came from, how hard they worked to get to where they are now, and what they’re doing now, is pretty inspiring,” Naar said.
He’s already signed to play professionally in his native country but at minimum is hoping to latch on with a Summer League team to gain experience. If nothing else, Tuesday’s workout made for a lasting memory.
“Just coming out here and seeing Magic, Luke Watlon, things like that, it’s pretty surreal,” Naar said.
“[Johnson[ emphasized the Lakers mentality, working hard and being the best competitor on the floor. Finding what you’re good at, and being the best at that. Coming from an NBA legend, you’re going to take that to heart.”