The Los Angeles Lakers are expected to draft either Brandon Ingram or Ben Simmons with the No. 2 overall pick. However, a source reveals that the team isn’t ruling out the possibility of going with sharpshooter Buddy Hield.
The Lakers, who have scheduled a private workout with Hield on June 18, are yet to make a definitive decision, according to Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders. On Sunday, Kyler tweeted: “Lakers have met with and worked out Ingram and are still shopping for guys #NotLockedYet”. Kyler also noted Lakers have told agents “they are still wide open about seeing other guys (besides Ingram).”
Buddy Hield training with Kobe Bryant…
Hield is projected to go between No. 3 and No. 7 on most mock drafts. However, many scouts believe he is the most NBA-ready prospect due to his lengthy stint with the Oklahoma City Sooners. Hield, 22, recently told former Laker Rick Fox that he has been working out with Kobe Bryant in the lead-up to the NBA Draft on June 23.
So what exactly has Hield learned from Bryant? “Being mentally focused, locking in and doing the little things, you know. Setting your man up, jabbing, creating space. How to use the fadeaway jumpshot, he’s teaching me how he squares his body when he uses it. It’s the little things that are going to help me improve,” Hield told NBA.com in an interview.
Grew up as a “Kobe Freak”
Hield, who refers to himself as “Kobe Freak”, caught Bryant’s attention during a riveting 37-point performance against Oregon in the Elite Eight earlier this year. After that game, Bryant said he was “blown away” by the performance and instantly took the youngster under his wing.
“I just love his (Hield’s) motor,” Bryant told Bleacher Report in March. “I love his passion and his energy. He puts everything he has into the game. Lots of guys go hard out there, but with him, it’s a on a different level. You can see it on his face. He truly loves every minute that he’s out there.”
Last week, LA Times reporter Brad Turner also speculated the possibility of Lakers drafting Hield. Turner tweeted: “Lakers to workout Oklahoma guard Buddy Hield June 18, per source. Wonder if Hield, a great shooter, is a possible dark horse candidate at 2?”
Can Lakers trade down?
What if Bryant advises the Lakers front office to roll with Hield? Will Mitch Kupchak, Jim Buss and coach Luke Walton be persuaded? There is always the option that Lakers trade down in the draft to secure Hield and an additional asset or two.
Buddy Hield, arguably the best shooter in the 2016 draft class, won the prestigious John R. Wooden Award for his senior year with the Sooners. He averaged 25 points and 5.7 rebounds, besides leading the country in three-point shots while shooting at an impeccable clip of 46 per cent.
The draft is just 10 days away.