— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) June 5, 2014
The athletic highlight of L.A.’s first round of prospective draft pick workouts at their El Segundo facility on Wednesday was a 46-inch vertical jump from UCLA freshman Zach LaVine.
That’s not a short distance to cover.
“We had a little bit more of a run (up),” LaVine explained after the session. “I think at the draft (combine) you had two steps, here we had three or four. I knew I’d gone higher than that before … I think I had 44.5, but this was one of my higher ones. I think I was pumped a little bit, you know, the Lakers.”
The Lakers allow prospects one straight up vertical jump, and one with a lead in, the latter being how LaVine topped the previous high of 44 inches by Peyton Siva last summer.
— Peyton Siva Jr (@PeypeySiva3) June 5, 2014
LaVine’s standing vertical jump measured at 37 inches, while Aaron Gordon hopped 34 inches straight up and 43 inches with a lead in.
Of course, athletic tests are only a small part of the overall puzzle of comparing players to one another. The Lakers, whose No. 7 draft position is their highest since 1982, have been watching these prospects extensively throughout the season, but always appreciate the chance to get the players in their own gym.
“Just up front and close and seeing how much they’ve worked on their game,” Kupchak said about the workouts. “We get to interview them, we get to administer our testing and we get to know them by talking to them and hanging around them in the locker room. They get to know our trainers and coaches.”
This first crop of players – including Gordon (Arizona), Doug McDermott (Creighton), James Young (Kentucky), Elfrid Payton (Louisiana Lafayette), Davion Berry (Weber State), Jerry Evans (Nevada), Tyler Ennis (Syracuse), Gary Harris (Michigan State), LaVine (UCLA), Brendan Lane (Pepperdine), Marcus Smart (Oklahoma State) and Noah Vonleh (Indiana) – had no shortage of athleticism.
“We had a couple really, really good showings athletically,” Kupchak summarized. “There are a lot of components to evaluate in the draft. We do interviews and (tests) for athletic ability, shooting drills, playing. There’s a lot of components to evaluate in a player and then you have to project out how good a player is going to be. Some players have gone to school three or four years and some guys have gone one year. Actually some of the guys have yet to turn 19 years old.”
Among the good athletic showings was Gordon, who performed well in nearly every test, even if the vertical jump of LaVine stood out a bit more. LaVine just turned 19 in March, while Gordon doesn’t reach 19 until September.
L.A. plans to hold more workouts in the coming days leading up to the June 26 Draft.