For the second day in a row, the Los Angeles Lakers hosted six 2021 NBA Draft hopefuls for workouts. On Saturday, it was Miles McBride (West Virginia), Ayo Dosunmu (Illinois), Sandro Mamukelashvili (Seton Hall), Mac McClung (Texas Tech), Jaden Springer (Tennessee), and Balsa Koprivica (Florida State).
It’s the fourth slew of prospects to come in for pre-draft workouts with the Lakers over the past 10 days. You can read about the previous three groups here, here, and here.
The Lakers own the No. 22 overall pick and no second-rounder.
Here are a few things to know about the latest hoopers to visit the Lakers.
Deuce is in play for Los Angeles at No. 22. McBride is soaring up draft boards thanks to an impressive combine and pre-draft process.
In his second season at West Virginia, McBride averaged 15.9 points, 4.8 assists, and 3.9 rebounds per game and made the All-Big 12 Second Team.
“I definitely see myself having the ball in my hands,’’ McBride said. “That’s what I feel comfortable as. But I also feel comfortable playing off the ball. My shotmaking ability is a huge part of my game. And playing with another player who has the ball in his hands is something I can definitely do.”
McBride’s shooting ability has never been in question (41.4% this past season). By all accounts, that was reaffirmed at the combine. What stood out in Chicago, though — beyond his maturity — was how he measured. McBride came in at a solid 6-foot-2 with a 6-foot-9 wingspan, reassuring scouts that his defense will translate to the NBA. His hands measured as the largest amongst point guards.
Frank Vogel, a defensive junkie, has to love McBride, who shined on that end in Bob Huggins’ aggressive pressing defense. He’s tenacious, he’s fast, and he’s competitive.
“I think if you lit any more fire underneath of Deuce you’d have a forest fire,” Huggins said. “Deuce doesn’t need lit up. He’s a guy who comes in every day and works.”
“The main thing I’d say I’m trying to show is I’m the ultimate competitor,” McBride said on Saturday. “I feel like I’m definitely one of the best competitors in the draft, if not the best.”
As for what makes the best competitors, McBride had this to say: “Always being on attack mode. Whether it’s on defense, offense. Not attacking necessarily as always going downhill at people, but always understanding that you have to be locked in to play at this level. You can’t take plays off.”
Should he be drafted by the Lakers, McBride is looking forward to picking the brains of LeBron James’and Anthony Davis.
“I think just trying to learn as much as I can,” he said when asked what excites him about the possibility of playing with LeBron and AD. “They’re two of the best in the game right now and will be Hall of Famers, all that. … They’ve obviously dealt with a lot of things off the court and they understand this business and everything about it.”
Like McBride, Dosunmu is projected as a mid-to-late first-round pick and could be in play for the Lakers at No. 22.
The 6-foot-5 guard is coming off a stellar 2020-21 season in Champaign, averaging 20.1 PPG, 6.3 RPG, and 5.3 APG on 48.8% shooting and 39.0% from three. He’s confident he can contribute to the Lakers ASAP.
“I pay my agent a good amount of money to put me in a position to go out there and show my talents to a team that I can perform well on,” Dosunmu said. “Definitely the Lakers are one of those teams. … They’re in ‘win now’ mode, and me doing three years at Illinois and playing at the highest level at Illinois … just being an overall complete player … will translate to a contending team.”
He sees himself fitting in with LeBron and Anthony Davis.
“I’m a playmaker, they have tremendous basketball IQ,” he said. “I can make plays. I can take the load off of them at times and get in, score when needed, get in the lane and make passes, and I can defend multiple positions … try to just bring the spark, bring my talents, my versatility, to help them.”
Dosunmu takes pride in his competitiveness, too, and he seemed to relish the Lakers workout.
“Today was great. Anytime you have other draft prospects in a room it’s always competitive because everyone’s trying to get a job. … I just went out there and competed, that’s all I know how to do: is compete. I know how to play as hard as I can. I try to dominate each drill and just play on both ends.”
Ayo is a Chicago native, but considering the above quote, it should come as no surprise that he idolized Kobe Bryant.
“Mamba is someone I always looked up to since I was younger,” Dosunmu said. “He was my favorite basketball player growing up. Not only on the basketball court, but I just loved his mentality. It’s just really unreal just being on the court in L.A. … I try to just do it for him. That’s one of my motivations. He means a lot to me and to my basketball growth and my basketball mentality.”
After today’s #Lakers workout I got the chance to ask Ayo Dosunmu about the famous Kobe pic he reenacted after winning the Big 10 tourney and what the Mamba means to him. Really liked the answer he gave: pic.twitter.com/hFHWw2zFRR
The 6-foot-11 Mamukelashvili is a projected late second-round pick after four seasons at Seton Hall. As a senior, he put up 17.5 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 1.1 steals per game, hitting a solid 33.6% of his 3-pointers — nearly 10 percentage points lower than his clip as a junior (43.4%).
He has potential as a floor spacer but probably won’t be much of an interior threat in the pros. Despite his age (22), he’s a developmental project. Then again, the Lakers need all the shooting they can get.
McClung, you may recall, was a viral sensation in high school, thanks to his high-flying slams.
The 6-foot-2 wing spent two seasons playing for Patrick Ewing at Georgetown before transferring to Texas Tech for his final collegiate go-round. With the Red Raiders, he averaged 15.5 PPG on 41.9% shooting and 34.3% from 3.
Springer, 18, interviewed with the Lakers at the NBA Draft Combine. He’s a polished beyond his years two-way player and is a lock to go in the first round.
Despite his youth, Springer isn’t concerned about contributing in the Association in a matter of months.
“I’ve always been the youngest my whole life, everywhere I played,” he said after his Lakers workout. “I feel like that doesn’t really affect me too much. I got good size, good strength. I can go out there and compete on the next level.”
Even Jaden Springer’s mediocre games are fun to watch. 13 points 4 boards 1 assist 3 steals on 4/7. Shows quickness and scoring at all 3 levels, as well as an impressive, quick assist out of a baseline trap to find an open teammate for 3. Creative guard pic.twitter.com/9t9OHFwoFG
The 6-foot-4 Springer spent just one season at Tennessee, averaging 12.5 PPG, 2.9 APG and 1.2 SPG on 46.7% shooting and a 43.5% from 3 on low volume (1.8 attempts per game). However, his most impactful skills, at least for now, are on the defensive end. He’s one of the premier perimeter defenders in the 2021 class, and he projects as an undersized 3-and-D, with emphasis on the D.
Based on what Jrue Holiday just did against the Phoenix Suns in Game 5, Springer will welcome that comp.
After his workout, the teenager expressed no qualms about accepting a limited role should he be drafted by a contending team like the Lakers.
“You just gotta remember who you are, all the work you put in,” he said. “And just know the time’s gonna come. When you get the opportunity, just take advantage of it.”
The Lakers would be lucky to grab Springer at No. 22. Unfortunately, their asset cabinet is limited should they wish to trade up mid-draft.
Koprivica, a 7-foot-1 center, spent two seasons at Florida State. In 2020-21, he averaged 9.1 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks on 59.9% shooting from the field.
Balša Koprivica has completed many workouts with NBA teams and has also been interviewed by 14 teams at the G League Elite Camp during this pre-draft process thus far!
His size was enough to be effective in college, but his game needs a lot of work. He is not a strong rebounder, he picks up unnecessary fouls due to slow reaction/recognition on defense, and he’ll get roasted when switched onto guards. Quite frankly, I don’t see a fit with the Lakers, but his size is intriguing.
The 2021 NBA Draft will be held on July 29 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.