Following the Lakers win over the New York Knicks Tuesday night, twelve games remain on the season. Since the Lakers have already been eliminated from the playoffs, the team will have a high pick in this year’s highly anticipated draft.
Lakers guard Kobe Bryant took some time Thursday to respond to some questions, and mentioned he could mentor either Duke’s Jabari Parker or Kansas’s Andrew Wiggins via his Twitter.
@DonPEscobar both have great potential. Id mentor either one
— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) March 27, 2014
For most of the 2013-14 NCAA Season, Parker and Wiggins have dazzled and led their schools to high seeds in the 2014 NCAA Tournament. However, the freshmen have come under criticism recently after disappearing in early tournament losses.
In Duke’s loss to Mercer in the second round, Parker only shot 29 percent from the field and was benched in the second half because of his defensive liability. Following the loss, Parker described his collegiate career as incomplete, causing speculation whether or not he will declare for the NBA Draft.
Kansas advanced to the third round, but fell to Stanford. In the loss, Wiggins only shot six shots while making just one. The disappearing act was puzzling considering other freshman star Joel Embiid did not play due to back issues. Despite the loss, Wiggins is still seen as a prospect with tremendous athleticism and upside.
Bryant signed a two-year, $48.5 million extension in November and will be around to mentor either Parker or Wiggins should the Lakers be able to draft one of them. Of course, other prospects are available such as Embiid, who reportedly is going to declare for the draft. Australian guard Dante Exum has also been linked to the Lakers and shares the same agent as Bryant. Whoever the Lakers draft will be coming in with the expectation to be a focal point for the Lakers franchise once Bryant retires.
MY NBA DRAFT PROFILE: ANDREW WIGGINS