Wings, wings, wings. Everywhere people look across the NBA, wings have become perhaps the most indispensable type of player teams need in order to become successful.
Early this season, the Los Angeles Lakers had a glaring lack of productive or reliable wings. But a series of midseason trades brought them a couple of useful ones — Rui Hachimura from the Washington Wizards and Jarred Vanderbilt from the Utah Jazz.
Yet after getting swept by the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference Finals, the Lakers still find themselves one or two decent wings short of being a championship-caliber team.
In preparation for the 2023 NBA Draft, they recently worked out Justyn Mutts, a bigger wing from Virginia Tech.
Mutts is beefy and energetic
Mutts, a native of South Jersey, played his last three seasons at Virginia Tech after transferring from the University of Delaware. At 6-foot-7 and 230 pounds, he’s a bigger wing that straddles the line between the small forward and power forward positions.
His strength seems to be scoring in the mid-range area, particularly with his back to the basket. He can move without the ball and score after receiving the ball, and it led to him putting up 13.3 points a game on 56.8 percent shooting this past season.
Mutts is also a strong rebounder for a player his size. He averaged 6.8 rebounds a game throughout his five-year NCAA career, including 7.4 boards in the 2022-23 campaign.
His 4.6 assists per game this past season are indicative of a player who can be a secondary or tertiary facilitator when needed or what some would call a “connector” type player.
He also seems to have the potential to be a very good defender. He averaged 1.5 steals and 0.8 blocks per game during the 2022-23 season, and he reportedly has a 7-foot-3 wingspan, which is certainly elite.
The issue with Mutts seems to be that he doesn’t really stand out in any one area, and at age 24, he may not have that much upside. He also isn’t a good outside shooter, nor does he take that many outside shots, which means he wouldn’t be able to help the Lakers with one of their biggest offseason priorities.
Still, the forward could be a target for the Lakers’ No. 47 pick, or he could perhaps join them as an undrafted free agent if they feel like he’s a good enough prospect.
Source: Yahoo Sports