Point guard Emmanuel Mudiay returned to action Sunday for the Guangdong Southern Tigers, helping the team defeat Stephon Marbury and the Beijing Shougang Ducks, 110-99, in a semifinal playoff game.
In 34 1/2 minutes off the bench, behind former Detroit Pistons guard Will Bynum, Mudiay scored 24 points on nine-for-16 shooting, while tallying eight rebounds, four assists and two steals.
Mudiay projects to be a top-five pick this June in the NBA draft.
Provided the Lakers keep their pick, anything below five will go to the Philadelphia 76ers (via the Phoenix Suns), Mudiay could be a serious consideration.
Just 18 years old, Mudiay chose to play overseas in China on a contract worth roughly $1.2 million, instead of playing at the collegiate level. Mudiay was originally born in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, but grew up in Texas.
The 6-foot-5 guard sprained an ankle 10 games into his career with the Southern Tigers, who in turn signed Bynum to a guaranteed contract. With a limit on two active import players, and American center Chris Daniels under contract, Guangdong chose to keep Mudiay as an inactive player, even after he recovered from the ankle injury.
With the Southern Tigers down, 0-2, in a five-game series, Mudiay was finally put back on the floor (Daniels did not play), helping his team to an 11-point victory.
If the Lakers get a high pick in the 2015 NBA draft, they might consider going with size with players such as Jahlil Okafor from Duke, or Karl-Anthony Towns and/or Willie Cauley-Stein from Kentucky.
Mudiay and Ohio State's D'Angelo Russell are the top guard prospects in the draft. Mudiay is more of a true point, while Russell is a combination guard. Arizona's Stanley Johnson may be the top option at small forward.
Through 11 appearances with the Southern Tigers, Mudiay has averaged 18.3 points and 5.7 assists while shooting 52.9% from the field and 32.4% from three-point range.