Not long after the Lakers fell from sixth to seventh in the draft lottery, yet another loss after a hapless season, General Manager Mitch Kupchak insisted they would get a solid player.
He continued to feel that way Wednesday after watching 12 players work out at the Lakers' training facility.
"I still think we'll get a good player. I do," Kupchak said. "Hopefully we pick the right player, but there's a lot of talent."
Kupchak noted that this draft was particularly young. Players who worked out for the Lakers included freshmen power forwards Aaron Gordon (Arizona) and Noah Vonleh (Indiana), freshman guards Tyler Ennis (Syracuse), Zach LaVine (UCLA) and James Young (Kentucky), and sophomore guards Gary Harris (Michigan State) and Marcus Smart (Oklahoma State).
Creighton senior forward Doug McDermott also took part in the workouts.
"Some of the talent is young and goes out a couple years," Kupchak said. "If you remember back 18 years ago, we drafted Kobe [Bryant] and Kobe played limited minutes his first year. In fact, he was frustrated his first year. He didn't play as much as he wanted.
"And of course, Andrew [Bynum] didn't play much at all his first year and you had to wait on Andrew a little more than you had to wait on Kobe."
Bryant, acquired in a draft-day trade with Charlotte in 1996, averaged only 7.6 points his first season before improving to 15.4 a game in his second year. Andrew Bynum, taken 10th overall in 2005, averaged 1.6 points his first season and 7.8 points his second year before improving to 13.1 a game.
Notably absent from Wednesday's workouts were the consensus top three players — Joel Embiid, Jabari Parker and Andrew Wiggins — not to mention Australian point guard Dante Exum and Kentucky power forward Julius Randle.
Who coaches the Lakers' draft pick is still unclear. Very unclear.
Five candidates have been interviewed in person: Byron Scott, Kurt Rambis, Lionel Hollins, Alvin Gentry and Mike Dunleavy. The Lakers plan on talking to a few more and have only a 50-50 chance of hiring one before the draft, according to a person familiar with the situation. Free agency begins a few days after that.
“The coaching search is ongoing,” Kupchak said. “We’ve interviewed several candidates. We’ll interview more. Other than that, there’s really nothing to add right now.”
One thing was certain with the draft still three weeks away. The Lakers have a big decision to make with the seventh pick. They do not have a second-round selection because of the Steve Nash trade and don't have a first- or second-round pick next season because of the Nash and Dwight Howard trades.
"The process is beginning," Kupchak said. "There's a lot of components to evaluate in the draft."Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times