Few players have shot up in draft popularity like Noah Vonleh. The Lakers got their chance to study him Wednesday.
The 6-foot-10 power forward was one of six players who worked out Wednesday morning for the team holding the seventh pick in the June 26 draft.
Vonleh already owned good range, making 48.5% of his three-point attempts in his only season at Indiana. Then he was measured last month with the draft combine's largest wingspan (a little more than 7 feet 4) and largest hands (almost 10 inches long).
Draft experts were enthralled.
"I'm not really too surprised," said Vonleh, pegged in mock drafts right around where the Lakers will select. "I knew when I got into the workouts I was going to be able to show my versatility and a lot of people were impressed by my measurements at the combine. I think that's what really helped me out a lot."
Vonleh said he tried to show off his versatility at the Lakers' workout, taking players off the dribble, finishing above the rim and working in the post when a smaller player guarded him.
But the Lakers need help on defense after finishing 29th in points allowed this season at 109.2 a game.
"I can cover different positions. I would like to talk a lot on the court, tell guys to switch, do different things. I think my communication would definitely help wherever I go," Vonleh said.
Vonleh was one of six players at the Lakers' morning workout. Oklahoma State guard Marcus Smart, Syracuse guard Tyler Ennis, UCLA guard Zach LaVine, Michigan State guard Gary Harris and Pepperdine power forward Brendan Lane were also there for a series of drills and two-on-two and three-on-three games.
Smart is a projected top-10 pick who scored easily at Oklahoma State, averaging 18 points as a sophomore before entering the draft. But he earned notoriety when he shoved a Texas Tech fan in a courtside seat last season and was suspended for three games.
It hasn't been a focal point of his individual interviews with teams, Smart said.
"Not really. Teams probably mention it but one or two words about it and it's done," Smart said Wednesday.
If he is picked by the Lakers, Smart already sees a similarity between himself and Kobe Bryant.
"Toughness," Smart said. "I hate to lose, just like he does. Everybody knows that Kobe Bryant is one of the more fierce competitors to ever play the game. So being able to play alongside of him and learn from him and take what he teaches is an honor in itself. Words can't even explain that for me."Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times