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Lakers begin pre-draft workout process

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EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- The Lakers invited their first group of potential draftees to their practice facility for pre-draft workouts Tuesday, beginning a weekslong evaluation process involving dozens of prospects leading up to the June 25 draft.

Six prospects went through a battery of drills, interviews and more with Lakers staffers and coaches, though none of the prospects were big-name players whom the Lakers were considering taking with the No. 2 overall pick.

Those players -- expected to include Duke center Jahlil Okafor and Kentucky center Karl-Anthony Towns -- are expected to work out with the team in the coming weeks.

For now, the Lakers are taking a look at players they might consider drafting with the No. 27 pick in the first round or their 34th overall pick in the second round.

Tuesday's crop included Arizona guard T.J. McConnell, Iowa State guard Bryce Dejean-Jones, Gonzaga guard Kevin Pangos, Maryland swingman Dez Wells, Northern Iowa forward Seth Tuttle and Minnesota forward Maurice Walker.

Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said the team would like to bring in at least four and potentially as many as eight players it would consider drafting at No. 2.

"We’ll probably bring in as many as the [players'] representatives will allow us to bring in," Kupchak said. "If the representative feels that we’re not genuine in considering that player at No. 2, they probably wouldn’t send them in. So we’d like to bring in as many as possible. There’s a conception that there are four players there [as top-two candidates]. I think there may be more. There are European players that might not be done playing and get time to come over here and work out."

The pre-draft workout process simply provides more information -- some of which is more useful if the Lakers haven't seen much of a young talent who's only been in college for a year before going pro.

"For kids that have been [in college] for three or four years, we know them," Kupchak said. "We know their coaches. We talk to their coaches. There’s a lot about them on the Internet. We talk to players who played with them. You get various levels of information, but the interview is one more piece to the puzzle."

Is there a chance the Lakers could trade the No. 2 pick?

"Nothing’s really taking place in that regard," Kupchak said. "It would have to be a heck of an opportunity for us to consider doing something like that.

"You have to weigh it against who you think you’ll get with the second pick. We’re a little bit impatient, so if you came across something that would make your team better quicker -- it would probably be a veteran -- that’s something you would consider.

"But there’s something to be said about having the No. 2 pick in terms of building going forward. You know you’re going to get a really good player. You know you’re going to get a player under a contract that you can control for at least five years for a reasonable amount before you have to consider an extension. So those are pluses in addition to getting a heck of a talent."

The Lakers have many needs, Kupchak said, and it appears that after a franchise-worst 21-61 season, the roster will be completely rebuilt.

"We have a lot of players that were on one-year deals this year," he said. "We have players that have options, whether it’s a team option or a player option. So those questions remain unanswered. We have a lot of roster spots.

"Assuming we pick three players and keep them on the roster for next year, that takes up three roster spots, and that gives less opportunity to somebody else. But we don’t know if we’re going to draft three players. We don’t know if we’re going to have three picks. We may draft a player that you might have to wait a year or two for in Europe. We don’t know yet. But our roster looks better, clearly, after getting the pick in the lottery last Tuesday."