BDA Sports Management held a work out in Santa Monica on Friday afternoon, featuring two of the top athletes in the 2014 NBA Draft class.
UCLA’s Zach LaVine and Arizona’s Aaron Gordon ran through drills in front of an audience of at least 150 NBA executives and staffers.
“I wanted to show a little bit of everything,” LaVine said. “My guard skills, my ability to shoot the ball, athleticism, direct traffic but I’m the type of person who likes to be flashy as well. I like showing off.”
LaVine broke out a few monster dunks during the exhibition, including a high-flying, underneath the legs windmill. It’s that kind of explosiveness that could earn him as spot in the NBA dunk contest one day.
“That’d be a dream for me,” Lavine said. “I definitely feel I can get an NBA dunk contest. I’d have a lot of fun with that. I have a lot of dunks.”
A high flyer in his own right, Gordon should also be able to transition into the NBA as a capable defender. He’s projected to be selected in the 5-8 range.
“I have no expectations. I’m going in ego free and I’m ready to play,” said Gordon. “I do a little bit of everything. As I get better, and I mature as a player, I’m going to a lot a bit of everything.”
LaVine entered the draft process on the first-round bubble, but has shot up projections to the 10-14 range — or even higher.
“I’m just trying to do the best I can do”, LaVine said. “I’m a person that likes to prove doubters wrong”
LaVine is still a developing player, as we saw when his minutes tapered off late in the season, during which UCLA peaked.
“Coach [Steve] Alford had a different plan for the team, I can’t take that away from him,” said LaVine. “I’m a team person. Whatever I had to do to help the team — if that’s clapping on the bench as hard as I can and getting dude’s water, I’ll do it. It didn’t matter to me, I’m glad we went that far. We were so good, I felt like we could have won the whole thing.”
The Bruins fell to the Florida Gators in a Sweet-16 matchup. Gordon’s Wildcats lost an Elite-8 battle against the Wisconsin Badgers. Since then they’ve been training in South California in preparation for the draft.
The city has grown on them, as both LaVine and Gordon said they’d be happy to play for the Los Angeles Lakers.
“I’ve always been a Lakers fan growing up, so they’re there at the seven spot,” said LaVine. “It’s a dream come true wherever I go and I’ll be emotional [and] happy. I’ve been working so hard for this my whole life. Whatever team I go to, I’m going to go there full-hearted.”
Other players who worked out together — before LaVine and Gordon’s separate halfcourt drills — included Deonte Burton (Nevada), Alec Brown (Green Bay), Daniel Miller (Georgia Tech), Rod Odom (Vanderbilt), Augustine Rubit (South Alabama) and Nick Wiggins (Wichita State).
The Golden State Warriors sent a large contingent, including Hall-of-Famer Jerry West, despite not having a pick in the June 26 draft.
The Lakers, who have the seventh pick, had Jim Buss, Mitch Kupchak, Glen Carraro, Jesse Buss, Chaz Osborne, Ryan West and even Steve Nash on hand. Nash is also represented by BDA sports.
Others in the room included Pete D’Alessandro (Sacramento Kings), Dennis Lindsey (Utah Jazz), Gary Sacks (Los Angeles Clippers), John Hammond (Milwaukee Bucks), Neil Olshey (Portland Trail Blazers), Danny Ainge (Boston Celtics), Tommy Sheppard (Washington Wizards), Tom Thibodeau (Chicago Bulls), Mark Warkentien (New York Knicks), Sam Hinkie (Philadelphia 76ers), Mitch Richmond (Kings), Allan Houston (Knicks), Chris Mullin (Kings), Kiki Vandeweghe (NBA) and Mike Dunleavy Sr. — among many others.