As we inch closer to the 2018 NBA Draft, the rumor mill is picking up steam, and the Los Angeles Lakers are a team that is right in the thick of things. President of basketball operations Magic Johnson and general Rob Pelinka have plenty of options this summer.
With the 25th and 47th picks in this year’s NBA Draft, the Lakers have already been connected to players like Zhaire Smith, Kevin Huerter, and Mitchell Robinson. They were said to have promised to draft Robinson 25th overall, which prompted him to withdraw from the Draft Combine.
Now, there is a new name to add the list: Anfernee Simons. According to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer, Los Angeles is one of a few teams that could be interested in selecting Simons at the end of the first round of the draft:
Anfernee Simons is getting some first round buzz: The Blazers and Lakers are interested in the late first, per sources. Heard Simons also impressed at a workout on Wednesday with the Cavs. Simons is raw but projects as an athletic scoring guard with size: https://t.co/MMsjLxHu0W
— Kevin O'Connor (@KevinOConnorNBA) June 15, 2018
Simons, like Huerter and Smith, projects to be a wing player in the NBA. He’s 6’4″ but has a 6’9″ wingspan which allows him to play a little bigger than that and should allow him to slide between shooting guard and small forward in the pros.
He’s got a quick first step and plenty of bounce around the rim, giving him the athletic tools to compete at the NBA level.
However, there is a catch: he never played college basketball. Simons is entering the draft out of IMG Academy, where he attended after graduating from Edgewater High School in Florida.
Simons was at the younger end of his high school class and opted to re-classify backward one year in order to get more time to develop, but then blossomed quickly.
Because NBA rules state that a player must be 19 years old and one year removed from high school graduation in order to be drafted, Simons opted to declare for the draft now rather than head to college for a year.
With a lack of high-level experience to call upon, Simons could be a major project, but there could also be a high reward for teams willing to take the risk.
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