Playoff positioning has taken a backseat to potential prospects for the Los Angeles Lakers this season.
After fighting to reach the postseason last year, the Lakers have officially been eliminated from contention this season and have turned their attention to the NBA Draft.
According to Chad Ford of ESPN Insider, the Lakers have a current Duke forward as their fourth-best prospect:
The Lakers like Embiid and Wiggins, but are also keeping their eye on Exum, who is working out with Kobe Bryant’s trainer, Tim Grover, in L.A. Parker probably ranks fourth on their list, followed by Randle.
Parker came into the college basketball season as the co-leader of many draft boards, along with Kansas guard Andrew Wiggins. As the season progressed, Parker has fallen down some draft boards despite averaging 19.3 points and 8.8 rebounds per game. Kansas has had another player emerge as a frontrunner in center Joel Embiid, although a back injury has currently put his prospects on hold. Dante Exum has been linked to the Lakers more often because of his statements that he would like to come to Los Angeles and having the same agent as Kobe Bryant. Kentucky forward Julius Randle rounds out the team’s top five.
Before the Wiggins hype coming into the season, Parker was touted as the next LeBron James by Sports Illustrated while he was in high school. He chose to play for head coach Mike Krzyzewski at Duke and has done exactly what many thought he could do. Parker is 6’8 and would instantly fill in as a versatile forward in the Lakers lineup. Although he has yet to announce his intentions, many believe that Parker will file for NBA Draft instead of returning to Duke.
The Lakers will have to wait until after the season to find out the order in the draft and begin to workout the prospects to decide on their future.
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