This past weekend, the Los Angeles Lakers had several NBA draft prospects come in to participate in workouts. One of the prospects was Nah’Shon “Bones” Hyland, a sophomore guard from Virginia Commonwealth University.
The Lakers have just one draft pick at No. 22, and it’s plausible that Hyland could be a realistic target with the spot.
Hyland is expected to be selected toward the end of the first round. Zach Harper at The Athletic has him going at No. 29, and Jonathan Givony at ESPN has him getting selected at No. 30. Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report has Hyland being picked up a little earlier at No. 27, but NBADraft.net has him higher up at No. 18.
Meanwhile, For the Win’s latest mock draft is an outlier with Hyland being drafted earlier at No. 14.
Hyland improved his draft stock, moving into the first round, after his performance at the NBA draft combine.
According to Rookie Wire’s Cody Taylor, Hyland “dazzled scouts and executives” at the first scrimmage of the combine. The guard posted a game-high 17 points on 7-for-11 shooting from the field and 3-for-5 on 3-pointers. Hyland also posted four assists and six rebounds in 23 minutes.
If Hyland does end up with the Lakers, it will be “a dream come true,” as he mentioned during his post-workout media session.
The latest Lakers news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Lakers newsletter here!
The sophomore guard was VCU’s leading scorer and star player this past season with an average of 19.5 points per game. He played and started 24 games, averaging 31.9 minutes. Capable of playing either guard spot, he also averaged 2.1 assists and shot 44.7% from the field and 37.1% on 3-pointers. Hyland also rebounded well for a guard with 4.7 rebounds per game.
These numbers were good enough for him to be named the Atlantic 10 Player of the Year for men’s basketball.
When compared to his freshman season, Hyland made great strides. He averaged over 10 minutes more per game as a sophomore, and his scoring, general shooting and rebounding numbers notably improved.
At the NBA draft combine, the guard measured in at 6-feet, 2-inches without shoes and 6-feet, 3.25-inches with shoes and a 6-feet, 9.25-inch wingspan. So he is more suited to fit in at the point guard role in the NBA. Otherwise, he’ll be undersized at the two guard.
The VCU athletics site refers to Hyland as a “dangerous long-range shooter” and “deft playmaker who can thread difficult passes through defenses.”
Following his workout with the Lakers, he confirmed that he is a combo guard but went on to say he’s “just a hooper.”
“I can play either position,” Hyland said. “I can play off the ball. I can shoot the lights out off the ball. I can shoot the lights out on the ball. I’m a very underrated passer, underrated playmaker. It just shows you my versatility, and I can do either or both at a high level for sure.”
As aforementioned, Hyland showed off his ability to do some of everything during a combine scrimmage, so it is just a matter of doing that against NBA players and on a consistent basis.
The scoring improvements he made during his sophomore season at VCU are also promising, as it proves he can make more of an impact when given more minutes. He went from posting 9.0 points in 20.6 minutes per game to averaging 19.5 points in 31.9 points per game.
Furthermore, he is more of a scoring guard than he is a traditional playmaking point guard. Despite that, BasketballNews.com noted that his shot creation abilities are an appealing aspect of Hyland’s game:
He lacks the ability to play as a true point guard, but he’s a good playmaker who can create looks for both himself and others. If he cleans up his shot selection and defensive discipline, he projects nicely at the next level.
Hyland also averaged 1.9 steals this past season, so he is a willing and active defender. His 6-foot-9.25 wingspan will help him as a perimeter defender and could help make up for the height difference against bigger wing players.
As someone who is more of a scoring guard with a point guard’s size, matchups could be an issue for Hyland. He also has a thin frame — hence the nickname “Bones” — and weighed in at 169 pounds at the draft combine. So it will be easy for bigger NBA players to take him on, necessitating that he adds some weight to give himself a better chance to succeed.
As a playmaker, Hyland also needs to improve his game. At VCU, he averaged just 2.1 assists, which could use improvement if he wants to sell himself as someone who can be a lead guard. He did, however, have better assists numbers during his combine scrimmage. But the real concern is that he averaged more turnovers (3.1) than assists (2.1) during his sophomore season. So Hyland needs to work on taking better care of the ball.