Lakers give Mudiay a look
The 6-5 point guard who skipped college to play in China works out for the team.
The door opened to the Lakers’ pre-draft workout Saturday and there was Emmanuel Mudiay going through shooting drills with the Lakers’ assistant coaches, sweat dripping down his face, a look of determination each time he shot the basketball.
Mudiay, in his first workout for an NBA team, was trying to impress upon the Lakers he would be the right choice for them to use their No. 2 pick on in the draft June 25.
He grewup a Kobe Bryant fan, saying he has some of the same character traits as Bryant that could serve the Lakers well if he is selected by them.
“Kobe, I admire his determination,” Mudiay said after his workout. “That’s what made me a fan of his. He’s got adog in him and that’s kind of how I approach the game. You’ve got to be a dog.”
Mudiay is a 6-foot-5 point guard who didn’t attend college, eschewing his commitment to play at Southern Methodist.
He took his talents to China to play for the Guangdong Southern Tigers, saying itwas for financial reasons, to help his mother, and to further his development as a basketball player by facing older, more experienced players.
An ankle injury limited Mudiay to just 12 games, but he averaged 18 points a game on 47.8% shooting, 34.2% on three-pointers, 6.3 rebounds and 5.3 assists.
With Lakers Coach Byron Scott and General Manager Mitch Kupchak watching his workout, Mudiay said he wasn’t “nervous but anxious” to show his stuff.
“Iwas just ready to get out here and do what I had to do,” Mudiay said. “As the workout kept going, I got comfortable.” When he saw the Lakers’ championship banners on the wall and the trophies in a window, Mudiay, 19, said he had one thought.
“It made me want to get some,” he said, laughing. “I’d love to be a part of something likethis. I just want to win and get as many championships as I can. That’s the main thing.”
The Lakers, who will have perhaps two workouts Monday, are in position to draft a player of Mudiay’s caliber because they had a franchiseworst 21-61 record this past season.
“I know the coaches want to change that immediately,” said Mudiay, whose next workout is in New York this week. “And that’s what I’m about.”
The Lakers were impressed with the development of rookie point guard Jordan Clarkson, but Mudiay is a talent that many draft experts pick to go in the top four.