In Buddy Hield’s eyes, the Lakers need a shooting guard to replace the retired Kobe Bryant and the former Oklahoma Sooner feels he can fill the void.
Hield has twice tried to make his case for the Lakers to use their No.2 pick in Thursday’s NBA draft on him, the final time coming Saturday during a workout at the team’s practice facility.
He knows the consensus from around the league is that the Lakers probably will take Duke forward Brandon Ingram.
But that hasn’t stopped Hield and his representatives from making a push to have him put on a Lakers’ uniform. He first worked out in front of the Lakers over Memorial Day weekend in Newport Beach, hoping to show them what a great shooter he is and that he’s a high-character person.
“The Lakers are losing Kobe. They need a scorer. So why not?” Hield said. “Why not come in and fill in his spot? I’m a confident player. I’ve been under pressure my whole life, just overcoming obstacles. I know this is a [big] market and everybody with the Lakers is expecting to win. So I’m a player that comes expecting to win right away.”
Most mock drafts have Hield, listed at 6 feet 3¾ inches, being selected anywhere from third to seventh.
HHe played all four years for the Sooners, earning the 2016 Wooden Award given to the top player in college basketball for averaging 25 points and shooting 45.7% from three-point range last season.
“Everybody has their opinion on where they think you’re going to go,” Hield said. “But most of those guys never really touched a basketball. The GMs know what they are looking for and which players suit their franchise the best. So it’s all in the GMs’ hands and the franchise hands.”
Hield said the session with his idol lasted about two hours.
“I learned a lot of footwork stuff,” Hield said. “It was a blessing. Not many kids can say they learned something from Kobe Bryant.”
Hield has talked to former Lakers Mychal Thompson and Rick Fox, all of whom are from the Bahamas.
For as long as he can remember, Hield and his friends back home have been Lakers fans.
“Even if the Lakers don’t draft me or not,” Hield said, “I’ll just say I was able to work out for them and it was a good experience that I’ll never forget.”