2023 Lakers draft prospect profile: Anton Watson

For the Los Angeles Lakers to go from a very good team to a true championship-caliber team next season, they will need to add some more frontcourt depth this summer.

They added a couple of reliable frontcourt players at midseason by acquiring forwards Rui Hachimura and Jarred Vanderbilt in two separate trades. But one or two more serviceable forwards or big men would serve them well, not just for next season but for the next several years as well, especially with LeBron James likely nearing the end of his career not too long from now.

One draft prospect the Lakers have worked out recently is Anton Watson, a forward from Gonzaga University.

Watson could become a decent developmental prospect

At 6-foot-8 and 225 pounds, Watson is a combo forward. He may be a ‘tweener, but he may end up having to play power forward more often than small forward at the next level. He does possess good athleticism and activity, and he has gradually improved his production during his four years at Gonzaga.

This past season, he averaged 11.1 points on 60.8 percent shooting and 6.2 rebounds per game. He’s not the most aggressive scorer, but he can produce some points both on and off the ball. Watson can also handle the ball a bit and his athleticism allows him to finish at the basket strong.

Although he improved his 3-point accuracy from 22.7 percent in the 2021-22 season to 33.3 percent the following year, he isn’t much of an outside shooter, nor does he look to shoot such shots often. He is also a poor free throw shooter, as he converted just 61.6 percent of his foul shot attempts throughout his college career.

Defensively, Watson is solid thanks to his reported wingspan of 7-foot-2 and his motor, and he notched 1.8 steals and 0.7 blocks during the 2022-23 campaign.

He has played a key role in Gonzaga reaching the NCAA Tournament in each of the last three seasons.

Watson could end up being a second-round draft pick. The Lakers not only hold the No. 17 pick but also the No. 47 selection in the second round.

If he goes undrafted, perhaps he could be a free agent target for L.A. if it feels he has the potential to help with some of its weaknesses.

Story originally appeared on LeBron Wire