The players at the Lakers‘ pre-draft workout Saturday were inspired by the rise of Jordan Clarkson, writes Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times. The session was for second-round hopefuls like D.J. Newbill of Penn State, Phil Greene of St. John’s and Darrun Hilliard of Villanova, but everyone present hopes to follow the path set by Clarkson, the 46th selection last year by the Wizards, who was sent to the Lakers for cash considerations and wound up as their starting point guard. “It gives you a lot of hope seeing how great he played last year and how good he is,” Greene said of Clarkson. “It just gives you a lot of hope of staying with the grind and knowing anything can happen.” The Lakers have more pre-draft workouts scheduled for Monday and Friday.
There’s more from the Pacific Division:
- Virginia’s Darion Atkins, one of the players at Saturday’s Lakers workout, believes his ACC background will help him transition to the pros, Turner writes in a separate story. Atkins earned National Defensive Player of the Year and ACC Defensive Player of the Year honors, but fears he has “dropped off” most NBA draft boards. “I think coming from the ACC has helped me a lot,” he said. “I think that’ll be a great transition over into the NBA because the physicality is going to be great in the NBA, but I think it’ll give me more of an advantage.”
- Delaware State’s Kendall Gray was also among the participants at Saturday’s workout (Twitter link). Michael Qualls of Arkansas had to skip the event because of a knee injury, tweets Mike Trudell of Lakers.com.
- The Lakers are debating whether a center or point guard is more valuable in today’s NBA as they face a likely draft choice between Jahlil Okafor and D’Angelo Russell, Turner writes in another story. “In years past and maybe even today, it makes sense to build around a big,” said GM Mitch Kupchak. “But you don’t want to take a big because it’s a big and then pass on the No. 3 pick, which turned out to be Michael Jordan [in 1984]. So we’re going to look at the bigs, then you want to look at the guards and see if there is a guard there that despite being just a guard, you don’t want to miss and pass on him because he’s not a big.”
- The NBA Finals are giving the Warriors‘ Andre Iguodala a chance to showcase all his skills after spending the season as a reserve, according to Michael Lee of The Washington Post. Iguodala, who joined Golden State as a free agent in 2013, is signed through the 2016/17 season.