The commotion and hype surrounding the Lakers’ pre-draft workout with Lonzo Ball on Wednesday far outweighed the commotion and hype for the team’s workouts Friday.
Some 50 media members were at the Lakers’ training facility when Ball was on display for his solo workout. The former UCLA guard is, after all, pegged to go second to the Lakers during the June 22 NBA draft.
There were about 10 people from the press at Friday’s workout. The six players at the workout are considered late first-round players, or second-round talents.
Both Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka didn’t attend the workouts. But Lakers coach Luke Walton and his staff were there.
The Lakers also have the 28th pick in the first round, but they don’t have a second-round choice.
All the players they worked out Friday spent at least two years in college, giving them experience they all hope will be a benefit.
Forward Semi Ojeleye spent three years in college, the first two at Duke and last season at Southern Methodist University. The 6-foot-7 small forward earned his degree in psychology.
He averaged 18.9 points per game and 6.8 rebounds at SMU, earning him the American Athletic Conference player of the year award.
Ojeleye views his years in college as an advantage for him over a one-and-done college player.
Sindarius Thornwell is a 6-foot-5 guard who played all four years at South Carolina. He was named the SEC player of the year after averaging 21.4 points on 44.4% shooting and 7.1 rebounds last season.
“I’m older, so I feel like I can come in and compete at a high level with already being strong,” Thornwell, 22, said. “Some things that 18-year-olds can’t bring to the game with the knowledge, and also with being able to guard. A lot of the younger guys, when they first come in, they really haven’t had those four years to understand guarding is a big thing.”
Over the last few years, the Lakers have drafted players late in the first round and in the second that have been a part of their rotation.
They selected guard Jordan Clarkson with the 46th pick in the second round in 2014, forward Larry Nance with the 27th pick in the first round in 2015 and center Ivica Zubac with the 32nd pick in the second round in 2016.
Clarkson signed a four-year, $50-million extension with the Lakers last summer.
For Johnathan Motely, a 6-foot-10 forward who played three years at Baylor, he sees nothing but positives for players who play in college longer.
“Basically just take advantage of your opportunities,” Motely said. “Clarkson took advantage, signed a pretty good deal. So, make sure I take advantage of all my opportunities.”
The Lakers also worked out Houston guard Damyean Dotson, South Carolina guard P.J. Dozier and BYU guard L.J. Rose.
When the Lakers work out Kentucky point guard De’Aaron Fox at their facility Tuesday, the hype probably will be back, because Fox is considered a top-five draft pick.