Zavier Simpson didn’t hear his name called during Wednesday’s 2020 NBA draft.
But that doesn’t mean teams didn’t have any interest in him.
Simpson will join the NBA’s defending champion — and if he wins a roster spot, will play alongside LeBron James.
Simpson left Ann Arbor as one of the most decorated and productive players in program history, appearing in 146 career games with 96 starts. He helped lead the Wolverines to the national title game in 2018, and was perhaps the most important player on the roster for the past two seasons. In 2019-20, he averaged 12.9 points, 7.9 assists and 4.5 rebounds, and was the maestro behind Michigan’s ball-screen attack in Juwan Howard’s first season as head coach.
As with most undrafted free agents, Simpson faces an uphill battle to make the Lakers’ regular-season roster. He will have to prove he can get downhill against bigger, faster and longer defenders, and his 3-point shooting — despite impressive performances in drills at the NBA G League Elite Camp Combine — remains a question after shooting 31.4% from outside during his college career.
Los Angeles currently has two point guards — Quinn Cook and Alex Caruso — under contract for the upcoming season, and has a deal in place to acquire point guard Dennis Schröder. Free agency starts Friday. And then, of course, there is the presence of James, who is the Lakers’ primary ball-handler and creator.
But, at least right now, Simpson has his foot in the door.
This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Zavier Simpson signs with Lakers reportedly as undrafted free agent
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