The Los Angeles Lakers own the second pick in the NBA draft next week, and many have them taking one of two players: Ben Simmons or Brandon Ingram. Both are promising prospects, but Oklahoma’s Buddy Hield thinks he can be the guy to replace Kobe Bryant, who retired at the end of last season after two decades with the Lakers.
“This is what the franchise needs,” Hield said Saturday during a workout at the Lakers’ practice facility, according to Mark Medina of L.A. Daily News. “The Lakers are losing Kobe and they need a scorer. So why not call on me to fill in their spot?”
Hield was the Naismith College Player of the Year as a senior and led the Big 12 in scoring at 25 points per game. He also led Oklahoma to a Final Four appearance.
Most mock drafts have Hield being drafted anywhere from third to seventh.
“Everybody has their opinion on where they think you’re going to go,” Hield said Saturday, according to Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times. “But most of those guys never really touched a basketball. The GMs know what they are looking for and which players suit their franchise the best. So it’s all in the GMs’ hands and the franchise hands.”
Hield got to work out with Bryant during the NCAA Tournament; he and Bryant share the same agent in Rob Pelinka.
“I learned a lot of footwork stuff,” Hield said. “It was a blessing. Not many kids can say they learned something from Kobe Bryant.”
Hield has worked out for the Lakers now twice, and he would like nothing more than to wear purple and gold in the NBA. It’s hard to imagine the Lakers passing on Ingram, who some have compared to Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant, with the No. 2 pick, though crazier things have happened on draft night.