One thing that has always separated Kobe Bryant from just about every other NBA player is his competitive streak. Kobe has a killer instinct that is unmatched by anyone not named Michael Jordan and players who don’t fall in line with Kobe’s fierceness tend to not get along with him.
The Los Angeles Lakers worked out point guard Emmanuel Mudiay on Saturday, the first workout for a player that will be considered with the team’s second overall pick. After finishing, Mudiay compared his competitiveness to Kobe’s according to Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News:
Emmanuel Mudiay on possibly playing w/ Kobe Bryant: "I'm competitive just as much as he's competitive. He wants to win. I want to win."
— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) June 6, 2015
After talking about winning, Mudiay says he admires the five-time champion’s determination, via Serena Winters of Lakers Nation:
Mudiay: "Kobe, I admire his determination. That's what made me a fan. He got a dog in him & that's kind of how I approach the game."
— Serena Winters (@SerenaWinters) June 6, 2015
Whether or not it is really on Kobe’s level remains to be seen, but regardless that attribute is a great one to have and will surely make him more attractive to the Lakers and any other team in the top-five. It will also endear him to Kobe himself, who loves playing with teammates who will challenge him.
Mudiay was originally the second-highest rated prospect in his high school class behind Jahlil Okafor, but played overseas in China instead of in the NCAA. This has caused his stock to dip slightly as most have not seen him up close.
Along with D’Angelo Russell, Mudiay is considered one of the two best point guards in this draft. Though Russell is the better shooter, Mudiay has the advantage in athleticism and is considered the more natural point guard of the two.
Okafor and Karl-Anthony Towns are expected to be the first two players off the board, but Mudiay and Russell will be in consideration and the team will surely bring in all four players for private workouts. Regardless of who the team ultimately decides to draft, it seems likely that the Lakers will be bringing in a franchise cornerstone for years to come.
MyNBADraft.com Draft Profiles: Emmanuel Mudiay