The Los Angeles Lakers are currently doing their due diligence by bringing in the top prospects for workouts in order to decide which player to take with the second overall pick on June 25.
On Tuesday, the Lakers brought in the one player that will more than likely fall to them in the draft in Jahlil Okafor out of Duke. Okafor could go to the Minnesota Timberwolves as the top selection on draft day, but all signs point to him heading to Los Angeles.
According to Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated, Okafor being drafted to the Lakers appears to be a foregone conclusion:
The Lakers are going through the motions with other draft prospects—D’Angelo Russell and Emmanuel Mudiay have been in for workouts—but multiple league sources say L.A. is locked in on Okafor. Despite being overtaken by Towns, scouts still see Okafor as a franchise center—one with an enormous upside.
With the consensus being that Kentucky’s Karl-Anthony Towns is the top prospect in the draft, Okafor ending up with the Lakers at second overall won’t be all that surprising. There has been some speculation about the Timberwolves possibly favoring Okafor over Towns, but the safe bet continues to be the former Wildcats star playing alongside Andrew Wiggins next season.
Fortunately, Okafor is already embracing the prospect of playing in purple and gold for the foreseeable future. The Duke product is looking forward to soaking up the knowledge from Kobe Bryant and following in the footsteps of other Lakers greats like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Shaquille O’Neal.
Although many will argue Towns is the better all-around player with a potentially brighter future in the NBA, the Lakers ending up with Okafor isn’t a bad consolation.