Lakers work out 12 players for 27th and 34th picks

Lakers work out 12 players for 27th and 34th picks
Wisconsin Badgers forward Sam Dekker dribbles away from North Carolina Tar Heels forward J.P. Tokoto, right, in the second half of the NCAA West Regional semifinal game on March 26. (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

The Lakers held their third and fourth sets of draft workouts Monday, hosting morning and afternoon sessions with six players apiece.

Dakari Johnson, a reserve center for the Kentucky Wildcats, participated in his first workout in preparation for the June 25 draft.

The seven-foot sophomore averaged 6.4 points with 4.6 rebounds and 0.9 blocks a game, playing behind top prospect Karl-Anthony Towns.

Johnson spoke highly of his former teammate.


"He's very versatile.  He's a hard worker," said Johnson of Towns.  "He's always in the gym.  He's just that type of player."

The Lakers may have the chance to take Towns with the second overall pick in the draft, presuming the Minnesota Timberwolves don't take him first.

Johnson is also close with Julius Randle, the Lakers' seventh overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft.

"I've been down here training.  I've seen him a couple of times, hung out with him.  That's my guy," said Johnson.  "He's fearless."

On Monday, the Lakers auditioned players for the team's 27th and 34th picks.

Syracuse's Rakeem Christmas played well at the NBA's Chicago draft combine.  The 6-foot-10 forward/center said he's had too many requests for workouts.  His agent had to decline at least a handful because of scheduling.

The 23-year-old averaged 17.5 points, 9.0 rebound and 2.5 blocks a game as a senior.  He's trying to work his way into the first round but may be on the board when the Lakers pick at 34.

"Last first, early second," said Christmas of his expectations.  "I'm a hard worker.  I'm humble.  I'm hungry."

North Carolina's J.P. Tokoto also had a strong combine performance.  The 6-foot-6 shooting guard averaged 8.3 points with 4.3 assists a game as a junior.

Tokoto was floored to be working out for Kobe Bryant's franchise.

"When I first got here, I kept thinking about Kobe, Kobe, Kobe," Tokoto said.  "To study under him, kind of pick his brain about what he did coming into the league ... it'd be a blessing."

Eastern Washington shooter Tyler Harvey was also blown away by his opportunity to audition for the team.

"We used to have Lakers parties at my house," said the Torrance native.  "I was talking to my mom last night, she can't even believe that I'm here to work out for the team."

As a junior, the 6-foot-4 guard averaged 23.1 points a game while shooting 46.9% from the field and 43.1% from three-point range.

Nebraska's Terran Petteway, a 6-foot-6 guard/forward averaged 18.2 points a game, also as a junior.

"I've been a Laker fan since I was 5 or 4 years old," said Petteway, despite Galveston, Texas, roots.  "I've been talking about this workout ever since I knew I was coming here."

The possibility of playing alongside Bryant was almost too much for the 22-year-old to grasp.

"I've thought about it all the time.  If he was in here right now, I'd probably be nervous as a wreck," he said.  "That would be big time."

Arizona junior Brandon Ashley averaged 12.2 points with 5.2 rebounds a game.  The 6-foot-9 junior shot 51.4% from the field and 33.3% from three-point range.

"I feel like for someone like me, who says he's a stretch four, I think I need to prove that I can shoot the ball pretty well," Ashley said.

The Lakers also looked at 6-foot-2 point guard Corey Hawkins, son of former Seattle SuperSonics guard Hersey Hawkins, a senior at UC Davis.

Hawkins was a high-volume, efficient scorer, averaging 20.9 points a game while shooting 50.3% from the field and 48.8% from three-point range.

"I'm a point guard, absolutely," said Hawkins, who tallied 3.4 assists through 28 appearances with the Aggies.

"I believe in taking good shots and knocking them down," he continued.  "I can make the great pass.  I keep my head up and make reads all over the floor."

Rayvonte Rice, a 22-year-old, 6-foot-3 shooting guard from Illinois, averaged 16.5 points a game while shooting 47.1% from the field and 43.6% from three-point range.

"I was just in the gym every day," said Rice, whose outside shot improved dramatically as a senior.  "I'm a gym rat."

NC State junior Trevor Lacey likened his game to Brooklyn Nets point guard Deron Williams.

"I feel like [we have] the same body type," Lacey said.  "The way we shoot the ball, that's who I try to model my game after."

Lacey averaged 15.7 points with 3.5 assists a game while shooting 43.6% from the field and 39.2% from three-point range.

Williams, who was drafted by the Utah Jazz with the third overall pick in 2005, averaged 12.5 points with 6.8 assists a game for Illinois as a junior.

Louisiana Tech senior Kenneth "Speedy" Smith averaged 7.4 assists a game last season while scoring 6.4 points.

Smith noted he didn't get his nickname because he's quick on his feet.

"It was how I was born, not in the laboring room but in the hallway of a hospital," he said.

But he's also fast?

"Yes, I had to live up to that," Smith said.

George Lucas de Paula, a 6-foot-6 point guard with a tremendous 7-foot wingspan, declined to speak with the media.

The 19-year-old Brazilian, who is still learning to speak English, isn't likely to last long in the second round for teams looking to invest in a project with sky-high potential.

French prospect Alpha Kaba, a 19-year-old, 6-foot-10 power forward/center, also didn't speak to the media.   Kaba could end up a draft and stash player, who plays overseas for a few years before joining an NBA team.

The Lakers expect to look at eight players over two sessions on Tuesday, still scouting for the team's two later picks in the draft.

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