In the days leading up to the 2015 NBA Draft, it seemed almost certain, based on reports, that the Los Angeles Lakers would either draft Jahlil Okafor or D'Angelo Russell with the No. 2 overall pick. The Lakers, of course, ultimately selected Russell, who after an up-and-down rookie season has been thriving in his second year with the team.

Yet while the Lakers seem to have made an excellent pick by selecting Russell, they passed on drafting Kristaps Porzingis, who went No. 4 to the New York Knicks and looks to be a blossoming superstar with limitless potential. The Lakers even brought Porzingis in for a private workout before the draft, but according to Bleacher Report's Kevin Ding, Los Angeles subjected the now-Knicks big man to an overly physical workout that didn't suit his playing style. The reason for this, according to Ding, was the Lakers' old-school mentality under then-coach Byron Scott.

From Ding:

Kupchak structured Porzingis' private Lakers workout as essentially a challenge of his manhood rather than a validation of his gifts.


The Lakers, though, wanted to test Porzingis' physicality, and especially his "bigness," in that workout. They overvalued Porzingis' need to prove he could play in the low post and wrongly equated his shaky stamina with his overall NBA readiness.

Lakers assistant coach Mark "Mad Dog" Madsen, notorious for physical play in his 2000-09 NBA career, was pushed on Porzingis in the workout. To put it in preschool-level simple terms, the workout looked a lot like Big Bird being pushed all around the court by his dinosaur-ish friend Snuffleupagus.

Then-Lakers head coach Byron Scott, whose outdated mindsets have been well documented, even kidded Lakers staffers after watching Porzingis wilt with exhaustion that Scott had better get a contract extension if the club decided to draft Porzingis and wait for him to grow up.

Ding does note that the Lakers quick realized the folly of their ways and viewed Russell's workout, which happened after Porzingis', much differently, opting for a more "new-school" approach. The Lakers have also fully adopted this so-called "new school" way of thinking this season, hiring Luke Walton, who has Los Angeles exceeding expectations with a playing style that resembles the Golden State Warriors.

Yet the hypothetical scenario where the Lakers would've drafted Porzingis may come back to haunt Los Angeles. It certainly did Sunday, when Porzingis keyed the Knicks to a 118-112 victory over the Lakers with a 25-point, 10-rebound, seven-block performance. But always thinking about what could've been will do the Lakers no good. Plus, they selected an excellent player in Russell, so everything will probably work itself out just fine

So while Porzingis may be a one-of-a-kind talent, the Walton-led Lakers are doing more than fine with Russell as their point guard for the foreseeable future.