Plenty of reasons exist to be hopeful and even excited for the immediate future of the Los Angeles Lakers. One reason is they will pick No. 17 in next month’s NBA draft.
Armed with that pick, as well as the No. 47 selection, they should end up with at least one useful player.
The Lakers’ biggest needs seem to be a true 3-and-D wing and better frontcourt depth, and a number of players that could fill those needs should be available.
One such player whom the team worked out recently is Leonard Miller of the G League Ignite.
Miller has spent this season honing his skills
The G League Ignite has given high school seniors an alternative to playing a year of college basketball while waiting to become eligible for the draft. Miller chose to take that route after initially declaring for last year’s draft only to withdraw.
At 6-foot-10 and just over 210 pounds, the power forward has flashes of guard-like skills, both in transition and in half-court settings, but he also has the ability and willingness to rebound and look for second-chance points.
Miller averaged 18 points, 11 rebounds, 0.9 steals and 0.8 blocks a game this season while making 55.4% of his shots. He is a strong finisher, and he loves to do damage in transition, which would help him fit in on the up-tempo Lakers.
However, his outside stroke needs work. He shot just 32.7% from 3-point range.
He has some potential defensively in terms of blocking shots and making plays on the ball, but the rest of his defensive fundamentals need work. Still, some believe he has tremendous potential as a defensive ace.
Many believe Miller projects as a first-round pick, and he seems to have plenty of upside, especially given his 7-foot-2 wingspan and solid 37.5-inch vertical leap.
However, his real potential is likely at least a few years away, which makes it questionable if he would be able to contribute next season for a Lakers team that’s clearly in win-now mode.