Experts predict Lakers will select Jahlil Okafor in the NBA draft
The consensus, if the so-called draft experts are correct, is that the Lakers will use their No. 2 pick in the NBA draft to select Jahlil Okafor out of Duke.
In surveying 10 mock drafts, every single one has the Lakers picking the 6-11, 270-pound Okafor as the team’s next big-time center.
One reason is because the Minnesota Timberwolves have been pegged by these same draft aficionados as the team that will draft Kentucky center Karl-Anthony Towns with the first overall pick in the June 25 draft.
Publically, the Lakers aren’t tipping their hand about their decision.
They have worked out Okafor and guards Emmanuel Mudiay and D’Angelo Russell, all of whom are expected to go in the top five in the draft.
The Lakers could pick one of those three — or Towns if he’s not chosen by the Timberwolves — or even trade the second pick.
“Everything is still on the table,” Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said Monday after Okafor’s workout at the team’s practice facility in El Segundo.
Magic Johnson went on Twitter to announce whom he prefers in the Lakers draft.
“I love Okafor because he’s won a state championship in HS, NCAA Title at Duke and he can bring that championship pedigree to the Lakers,” Johnson tweeted.
The decision the Lakers make could be franchise-altering.
The team was impressed by Okafor, Russell and Mudiay — from their workouts to the time spent having dinner with them.
“I thought all of them played really hard and played to their strengths,” Kupchak said. “Our comfort level with the three players right now is very good.”
Los Angeles also has the 27th pick in the first round and the 34th pick in the second round.
The Lakers will continue to have predraft workouts Saturday, Monday and next Friday to look at players who most likely will be taken in the later part of the draft.
Kupchak and his staff went to Las Vegas on Friday to watch more predraft workouts, which included Kristaps Porzingis, a 7-foot forward from Latvia who is expected to be drafted in the top 10.
As of Friday, the Lakers still had not been able to secure a workout with Towns, who is in Los Angeles working out with other draft prospects.
“We’d like to get him in, schedule him and get him into this facility for a workout,” Kupchak said Monday. “To date, we have been unsuccessful doing that, but we’ve got another two, 2 1/2 weeks [before the draft]. I’m sure we can get it done.”
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