Kobe Bryant has been privately working out draft prospect Buddy Hield

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The NBA draft is set to take place on June 23 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, and the consensus surrounding the identity of the number one overall pick appears to change daily.

Will it be Ben Simmons or will it be Brandon Ingram? They are the top two names on every draft prediction and whoever the Philadelphia 76ers go with, the L.A. Lakers are almost certain to pick up the other.

Or are they? If they value the opinion of the legendary Kobe Bryant, it might not be as clear-cut as everyone thinks.

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Oklahoma guard Buddy Hield caught Bryant’s eye earlier this year after a spectacular 37-point performance against Oregon in the Elite Eight at the Honda Center in Anaheim, with Kobe even saying he was ‘blown away’ by the performance.

The two were said to have hung out in March and now it seems as though Kobe has truly taken the 22-year-old under his wing. The Bahamas-born star told Rick Fox on and detailed what he has been doing to sharpen up his game ahead of the draft and he revealed that he's been working out privately with Kobe.

Hield described the things that the five-time NBA champion and 18-time All-Star has helped him with thus far and it sounds like he's been getting a top-class education.

“Being mentally focused, locking in and doing the little things, you know," Hield said. "Setting your man up, jabbing, creating space. How to use the fadeaway jumpshot, he’s teaching me how he squares his body when he uses it. It’s the little things that are going to help me improve.”

Gaining Kobe's tricks of the trade will be priceless to any young player and being a self-professed “Kobe freak," Hield will no doubt be applying himself above and beyond expectations just to impress the Black Mamba.

Kobe's work ethic is absolutely legendary, too. If the prospect is getting going to become the legendary shooting guard's protegee, he'll have to keep up with the pace.

Most mock drafts have Hield going fifth or sixth off the board at the Barclays Center meaning that, barring any trades, the National College Player of the Year will likely end up with the Minnesota Timberwolves or the New Orleans Pelicans.

But, how much does Kobe's opinion matter to the Lakers? There are reports that the Purple and Gold are intrigued with the idea of having a three-man rotation in their backcourt of Jordan Clarkson, D'Angelo Russell and Hield, but then, what about Lou Williams?

Their need for a small forward or a center will surely outweigh that, admittedly, tantalising prospect. Hield will be working out with the Lakers next week and that will be his last chance to impress before June 23.

NBA Draft
Kobe Bryant
L.A. Lakers
Pacific Division
Western Conference
Julius Randle

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