Of their three 2018 NBA Draft workouts, the latest group of six prospects was the most heralded the Los Angeles Lakers have welcomed to their UCLA Health Training Center. It featured Arizona guard Allonzo Trier, USC forward Chimezie Metu and SMU standout Shake Milton, among others.
To a man, each of the draft hopefuls who were made available to media after their workout have mentioned defense as an area of emphasis. That’s hardly a surprise, considering the Lakers went from last in 2016-17 to 12th this season in defensive rating.
Another focal point of the pre-draft workouts is testing fatigue and will to push through it in the ‘Lakers Mentality Drill.’ Each participant is given 90 seconds to shoot a combination of layups, jump shots and 3-pointers while running the full length of the court.
Metu identified the drill as the most challenging part of his workout. “You’re tired, you have to rebound yourself, so if you take a long jump shot and it bounces the other way, you have to go get it,” he said. “Nobody is out there helping you.”
Even for a guard like Milton, who considers himself to be in good shape. “That was pretty tough,” he said of the drill.
“Just getting your rebound, sprinting up the floor and then having to use your legs to knock down the shot. Then getting the rebound and going back again, it kind of wears on you a little bit. There’s so much space out here, if you miss to the side, you’re done.”
Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka addressed the group after the drill concluded. His message was clear to Milton.
“It’s about who’s going to be able to take that tough, fourth quarter, late-shot clock shot after you’ve already played a whole game and you’re pretty tired,” he said.”