Just five days before the 2016 NBA Draft, the Lakers got an up-close look at one of college basketball's top players, as Wooden Award recipient Buddy Hield worked out at the team's practice facility on Saturday.
After his session with Los Angeles' draft brass, Hield field questions about his historic college career and future in the NBA.
Below is a full transcription from El Segundo:
Q: On doing the catch-and-shoot drill twice after being unhappy with his first attempt:
Hield: Yeah, I was not happy about that. Even though I missed three, four or five shots, I was still not satisfied. As a shooter, you can never be satisfied. You always think you can chase perfection when shooting the ball.
Q: On it being his second time working out in front of the Lakers:
Hield: The first time they saw me was in a solo (workout), but now I came to showcase my talents in a one-on-one. I showed them what I could do off the dribble against somebody guarding me and competing on defense as well.
Q: On being in the gym where his idol, Kobe Bryant, practiced:
Hield: It's special just being inside the gym and seeing all the history on the wall and all the greats that have entered this building. I'm just blessed to be in this position and just to work out in front of them.
Q: On working out with Bryant before:
Hield: We worked out once. Kobe has a busy schedule, so whenever he has the chance to hit me up or says he has time to work me out, then we can get a workout in. But he just did it once and it was a pretty good deal. I learned a lot of footwork stuff and it was just a blessing. Most kids can't say they learned something from Kobe Bryant.
Q: On the details of working out with Bryant:
Hield: It was a two-hour workout and we only got done on one side of the court. So we have to finish the next side. Hopefully we finish it sometime. It was all about footwork and other stuff to get me open and stuff like that on the court.
Q: On meeting Bryant during his senior season at Oklahoma:
Hield: It was a dream come true, especially for me. Even though I'm older now, just as a young man being as a kid watching Kobe Bryant my whole life — I finally got to meet him. He came to watch a game. It was a dream come true and I was able to perform really well, so I just took it in and it was really special to have him there to watch me play.
Q: On if Bryant offered any notable advice:
Hield: Just being mentally focused every time you get on the court and studying your opponents. He told me how much he studies film and everything. I was just glad to learn a little bit and pick his brain.
Q: On if he looks at mock draft boards:
Hield: No, you don't follow them. Everybody just has their opinions of where they think you can go. Most of those guys really never touched a basketball. (General Managers) know what they're looking for and which player fits their franchise the best. It's all in the GM's hands and the franchise's hands.
Q: On if he feels that his draft stock could climb to the Lakers' spot at No. 2:
Hield: Yeah, I'm just what the franchise needs. The Lakers are losing Kobe and need a scorer. Why not? Why not come in and fill in the spot? I'm a confident player. That's what I've been. I've been under pressure my whole life; just overcoming obstacles and I know L.A.'s in the market and everybody says about the Lakers how they expect to win. I'm a player coming in and expecting to win right away.
Q: On playing four years of college as opposed to most lottery picks:
Hield: It's funny how they say if you stay four years in college, you can't get better. But then you get guys like C.J. McCollum, who is the Most Improved Player in the NBA, and he spent four years. Steph Curry spent three years. Draymond Green and all those guys, like Damian Lillard, spent four years and they are the superstars of the league. It's funny how the guys who analyze stuff and say, "Oh, he's too old." Once you play and got heart and compete every night, I feel like you should be fine.
Q: On how much better he can get:
Hield: A lot. I can get better on the mental side and the physical side of the game and just study my opponents and study the game more.
Q: On the pre-draft workout process:
Hield: It's been fun. And that's my last workout, so I saved the best for last. Just enjoying it, man. This is a one-time thing. You come once in your lifetime, so you have to soak up all this and enjoy everything that comes with it.
Q: On if he has envisioned what being drafted will be like:
Hield: Not yet, but I've had dreams when I was younger. Now it's one week away. Just can't wait till it comes. I'm gonna attack my workouts even harder and just see what happens draft night.
Q: On where he thinks he can improve his game the most:
Hield: Everything. You don't just focus on one thing, because when you come to the NBA you've got to improve every aspect of the game mentally, physically and just work on everything. Work on your post moves. Just everything that will help you get better. There's not one thing you can't get better at in the game.
Q: On if he has been in contact with former Laker and fellow Bahamian Mychal Thompson:
Hield: Yes, we always talk. He always tells me to keep my head up and just stay focused. I know he's busy with (his son) Klay in the NBA Finals, but I'm sure he's hoping that I'll come here because he's a Laker. All Bahamians — Rick Fox, Mychal Thompson — they all won championships, so you never know what can come from me. ... If they give me a chance, I know I'll do my hardest to get there.
Q: On who he thinks will win Game 7 of the NBA Finals between Golden State and Cleveland:
Hield: I'm not sure I'm allowed to say that. In my opinion, though, I love the Warriors. Klay's from the Bahamas and you can't go against the hometown kid of Mychal Thompson. I love the Warriors. I love Steph. I watch those guys a lot. I love Draymond. He's tough to play. LeBron (James) is great. It's going to be a good game, but Golden State's at home and if they make a lot of shots I expect them to win.
Q: On the differences between his workouts with Boston and the Lakers:
Hield: We did a lot of one-on-one stuff (with the Lakers), so we didn't do streak shooting. When (the media) came in, we did shoot the ball a little bit. I wanted to shoot the ball, but I didn't get in the rhythm I wanted to get in. In the Celtics workout, I shot the ball really well. The most I ever got on a streak was probably 59 or 62 (baskets in a row). At the gym in Anaheim, I think they got it on video. So I'll see what (my agent) Rob Pelinka does; whether he'll link it or not.
Q: On what he thinks of the Lakers' young core of players:
Hield: I think they're great. They're good stars right now. They've been under Kobe Bryant and all the veteran people. I know if you come to the Lakers organization, they expect you to win. So a lot of pressure's on those guys. But those guys love to play and they love to play, so if they add me it would be a fun group to add in. I come with a lot of character, energy, scoring and I'm a leader at heart. No matter if I'm older than those guys or they've been in the league longer than me, I come in and expect to lead. That's always been my mentality when I was younger.
Q: On how he shot in the second catch-and-shoot drill:
Hield: I did OK. It's not what I wanted. Shooters always want to try to chase perfect. Even if the shot goes in, you want it to go in all net. That's the mental focus we have in our heads. It's all good. We all get a chance to play the next day.
Q: On which teams he has worked out for:
Hield: I worked out for the (New Orleans) Pelicans, Minnesota and Phoenix.
Q: On if he did one-on-one workouts for the other teams:
Hield: No, just this one. Every workout has different challenges. This is one where I had a one-on-one. Being off the court for so long, the last time I competed was the Final Four. It left a bad taste in my mouth. When I competed, I just tried to get back at somebody because that Final Four taste is still in my mouth. ... One assistant coach (J.J. Outlaw) played at Villanova and he was talking. That's why I let him score on me when we played the fullcourt one-on-one drill. It's been cool, though. I'm gonna get those guys back somehow.
Q: On working out for the Lakers:
Hield: It's been a blessing. Coming from the Bahamas, that's all we bleed down there is Laker blood. I never watched Mychal Thompson, but I heard about him and I watched Rick Fox play with Kobe. I became a big fan of the Lakers growing up, so just being in this building is touching and it's a blessing to be here. Even if the Lakers don't draft me, I can just say I was able to work out for them, and it was a good experience that I'll never forget.