With no picks in the 2022 NBA Draft, the Los Angeles Lakers have been working on prospects who could drop late in the second round or go undrafted.
Fortunately, the Lakers have shown a keen eye for identifying prospects who can come in to help immediately despite the lack of project capital. In their last draft practice sessions, Vanderbilt’s Scotty Pippen Jr. was the headliner of the group, and he would be an instant source of offense for any team that drafted it.
Pippen played his junior and senior years at Los Angeles high school powerhouse Sierra Canyon and already knows the area and the team. Pippen revealed that his favorite player growing up was Kobe Bryant, which he admitted would make him a complete turnaround should he ever be drafted by the Lakers.
“I moved to LA my last two years of high school,” Pippen said. “So LA became a new home for me. So I definitely stayed in touch with them growing up. Kobe Bryant was my favorite player. So I feel like it would be a surreal feeling to be drafted here. I so think it’s good to finally be able to come in and train here.
As a goalie, Pippen also acknowledged that he modeled some of his offensive play on the Lakers legend. “Yeah, I think people say I use the fake pump a lot, and I got it from him. Just being able to draw fouls by pretending to pump. I grew up wearing his jersey number and stuff like that. So I was a huge Kobe fan.
Pippen isn’t the only prospect to name Bryant his favorite player, as UCLA’s Jules Bernard also expressed his love for the Black Mamba after practice. His admiration for Bryant aside, Pippen is a solid goalscoring prospect, and it would be easy to imagine his compatibility with the Purple and Gold.
Scotty Pippen Jr. unfazed by NBA environments
As the son of NBA Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen, the younger Pippen believes his experience in NBA environments gives him an edge over some of his peers.
“I think in some factors it is. I don’t think it really bothers me. I don’t go to these arenas as shocked by the names and the stands and stuff like that. ‘Cause when I was a kid, I was always at the Bulls facility to see MJ, my dad, [Dennis] Rodman. Their jerseys hanging there. So I think the pressure could hit people who have GMs and stuff sitting in the building watching them. I think in this aspect I have an advantage, and these are the comments I received from my father. I think it helps me too. »