Vanderbilt freshman Darius Garland is one of the NBA Draft’s biggest question marks. Through five games at Vanderbilt, Garland flashed elite shooting and a natural quickness with the basketball before shutting down his season after suffering a knee injury.
While the injury isn’t something that should impact Garland’s health much in the long term, he missed some extremely valuable time to develop as a player. The fact that teams don’t have a good read on just how polished his game is likely the only reason why Garland will even possibly be available with the fourth pick.
If Darius Garland had stayed healthy and played out the year with similar numbers to what he put up early on, he would have been a surefire top-three pick and arguably the second-best prospect behind Zion Williamson.
Darius Garland Talks About Kobe Bryant & Playing for the Lakers
Garland joined ESPN’s The Jump and the question of possibly joining the Lakers inevitably came up. As Rachel Nichols points out, ESPN’s mock draft has him going fourth to the Lakers – a team in which he shares an agent with the superstar.
Beyond just the chance to play for the Lakers, Garland mentioned how he grew up in a “Kobe Family” and that Kobe was his favorite player while growing up. With the opportunity to join his childhood idol’s team and play alongside the game’s best player today, Garland was trying to play it cool but seemed to be very interested in the possibility of coming to Los Angeles.
Lakers Possibly Promise to Draft Darius Garland With Fourth Pick
There have been rumblings for weeks that Darius Garland had received a promise to be drafted by a team picking in the 4-7 range of the NBA Draft. Basketball Insider’s Steve Kyler reported that Garland HAD in fact been offered a promise and that it was either between the Lakers at four or the Suns at seven.
This makes sense considering Garland is one of the few NBA prospects who hasn’t been working out for top teams. Especially for a player with such a small sample size coming into the draft, the only situation in which he wouldn’t work out is if he got an offer from a team that he simply couldn’t turn down. Seeing as this draft has a clear cut top three prospects, it would make sense that Garland isn’t working out as he has a promise at four.