Heading toward the 2014 NBA draft, one prospect has been linked to the Los Angeles Lakers more than any other. Australia's Dante Exum shares an agent, Rob Pelinka, with Kobe Bryant and has been seen at numerous Lakers games during the 2013-14 NBA season. Along with his Staples Center appearances and connection with Pelinka, Exum also talked to Kobe recently about how to handle the bright lights of the NBA and all the distractions that come with it, according to Mark Medina of the L.A. Daily News on May 15.
Many believe that Exum might be angling to be drafted by the Lakers on June 26. Although Exum has downplayed the connection to the Lakers recently, the Australian phenom said the following about the advice he's gotten from Kobe:
Dante Exum on Kobe's advice: "'There will be a lot of distractions off the court. It’s about how you handle those and focus on the court'"
As of right now, Exum is expected to be selected among the top four or five picks in the upcoming 2014 NBA draft. Although a relatively unknown in comparison to Andrew Wiggins (Kansas), Joel Embiid (Kansas), Julius Randle (Kentucky) and Jabari Parker (Duke), the little scouts have seen of Exum have many believing he may turn out to be the best player in the draft.
With that being said, it comes as no surprise that the Lakers would be interested in drafting him with their high pick. Unfortunately, all signs point to the Lakers drafting at sixth or lower come June 26. There's always a possibility that the team will receive a higher pick during the NBA draft lottery on May 20, but it is safe to assume they won't be able to get their hands on the top tier talent in the draft.
Exum would be the ideal addition for the Lakers with the 18-year-old's ability to play both positions in the backcourt. The Lakers may have Steve Nash and possibly Kendall Marshall returning for next season, but drafting Exum would give them some much needed upgrade with the versatility to play behind Kobe at shooting guard or Nash, Marshall and possibly Jordan Farmar at the point.
Needless to say, Exum has turned a lot of heads with the draft rapidly approaching. The Lakers are likely to seriously considering drafting the Australian if given the opportunity on draft day.