Having seen Kobe Bryant call time on his illustrious career this season, the Los Angeles Lakers know they have a lot of work to do to replace one of the best players in franchise history.
That work will begin with their selection at next week's NBA Draft. With the second overall pick, the famous franchise has an opportunity to snag a future star of the league.
The current theory would suggest either Ben Simmons of Brandon Ingram would be the player chosen by the Lakers - depending on which of them isn't selected by the 76ers. But, speaking on his future today, Naismith College Player of the Year winner Buddy Hield has made his case to be in Lakers colours next season:
"This is what the franchise needs,” Hield said, via the Los Angeles Times. “The Lakers are losing Kobe and they need a scorer. So why not call on me to fill in their spot?”
Slated to fall anywhere between the fifth and 10th spot in next week's draft, it would be something of a surprise if the former Oklahoma shooting guard was the Lakers' choice. Hield, though, dismissed the value of mock drafts:
“Everybody has their opinions on where they can go, but most of those guys never have touched a basketball,” Hield said. “[General managers] know what they’re looking for and which players suit their franchise the best.”
In his fourth seasons with the Sooners, Hield averaged 25 points and 5.7 rebounds per game whilst shooting .457 from three-point range. At 22, he is seen as someone who could contribute immediately.
He just completed an individual workout with the Lakers yesterday, too, and has worked out with Bryant himself in the past few months so it is clear the Purple and Gold have their eye on him.
Whether the Lakers would be willing to pass up on either Ingram or Simmons to get him remains to be seen, however.