The Los Angeles Lakers took a close look at dozens of young prospects in the lead-up to the 2022 NBA Draft, hoping to find another gem among players with hidden potential.
The Lakers approach free agency with little cap space available, making the front office’s mission to reconstruct the roster a particularly challenging task. That creates an opportunity for L.A.’s scouting department to step up again, bringing in another talent whose potential flew under the radar during the draft process.
The Lakers were expected to attract some of this year’s best undrafted free agents after the successes of Alex Caruso and Austin Reaves. And the Purple and Gold did get a chance to host several particularly promising players for pre-draft workouts over the last few weeks. Those included Kansas standout forward Davis McCormack, Alabama 3-and-D wing Keon Ellis, and a prolific stretch big man from Syracuse, Cole Swider.
In the end, it should not come as a surprise that one of the undrafted free agents the Lakers are adding to join their Summer League roster is Shareef O’Neal, the son of Lakers legend Shaquille O’Neal, via Shams Charania of The Athletic:
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 24, 2022
O’Neal recently worked out for the Lakers, revealing that his dad actually wanted him to go back to school for one more year while he made his own decision to enter the NBA Draft.
Shareef going undrafted does not come as a huge surprise considering his lack of playing time at the collegiate level. Shareef dealt with heart and foot issues in his three years in college and in his final season at LSU only averaged 2.9 points and 2.1 rebounds in 9.2 minutes per game.
Lakers take Christie with No. 35 pick
In addition to signing undrafted free agents, the Lakers did have one pick in the draft, acquiring the No. 35 pick in the second round from the Orlando Magic for a 2028 second-rounder and cash considerations.
With that pick, the Lakers selected Michigan State guard Max Christie, who should be one of the team leaders in the upcoming Summer League, which will also feature L.A.’s undrafted players.
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