Expected lottery pick, Dennis Smith Jr., participated in a pre-draft workout with the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday. He was joined by Tyler Lydon of Syracause, Matt Thomas of Iowa State, Jeremy Hollowell of Georgia State, Milton Doylae of Loyola, and Wesley Alves Da Silva from Brazil. NBA mock drafts have Smith Jr. being a top-10 pick, but leaning towards the back end, which makes it unlikely for the Lakers, who own the second overall pick, to select him.
Still, the Lakers brought him in just in case the team decides it wants to trade down. That scenario also seems unlikely, but nonetheless Smith Jr. has the potential to be a good player and the Lakers wanted to a closer look at him. In an interview with Mark Medina of the Orange County Register, Smith Jr. spoke about enjoying the group setting as opposed to a private workout:
“You have guys coming out and competing; they want the same thing you want,” Smith Jr. said after his workout on Sunday at the Lakers’ practice facility. “That’s to be against the top get to compete against them. So you get to see who’s really a dog.”
During his lone season at North Carolina State, he averaged 18.1 points, 6.2 assists, and 4.6 rebounds per game. He shot an impressive 45.5 percent from the field, including 35.9 percent from behind the arc. He also excelled out of the pick-and-roll, which he said he thinks that is one category he thinks he help the Lakers:
“I checked one of the stats and they’re bottom 10 in almost everything relative to pick-and-roll scoring,” Smith Jr. said. “I think I can contribute to that.”
Again, unless the Lakers decide to trade down in the draft seeing Smith Jr. in a Lakers uniform is unlikely. His play with the Wolfpack and pre-draft workouts should give teams a nice glimpse of the player he could become.
As it stands, it still looks as if the Lakers are deciding between Lonzo Ball, Josh Jackson, or De’Aaron Fox, but whichever team decides to draft Smith may get themselves an impact player.