One of the more intriguing and controversial prospects heading into the draft was former Washington big man Robert Upshaw. The big man is undoubtedly talented, but also a player who went through more than his fair share of adversity by being suspended multiple times for marijuana use, ultimately being dismissed from two schools (Washington and Fresno St.).
Beyond those issues, Upshaw went through a medical “red flag” towards the tail end of the pre-draft workout process where a heart issue was discovered by doctors at the combine. This led to Upshaw suspending workouts for a period. He has since been cleared and did resume workouts before the draft.
Many thought his talent might outweigh his troubled past, but that ended up not being the case. Sixty names were called during Thursday night’s NBA draft, but Upshaw was not one of them. It seems the character questions combined with the medical flags pushed him off draft boards entirely. That, though, does not mean he will not get his chance at the NBA. The Lakers, apparently, will give him a shot on their Summer League team in Las Vegas:
Lakers reached summer league commitments with undrafted bigs, Washington's Robert Upshaw and Arizona's Brandon Ashley, source tells RealGM.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 26, 2015
Considering the Lakers drafted D’Angelo Russell instead of Jahlil Okafor in the draft and did not draft a big man with either the 27th or 34th picks, giving Upshaw an extended look in Vegas is an interesting gamble. He undoubtedly has the ability, the question will be if he can stay out of trouble and, with some maturity, can channel his talent into a productive pro career. By getting an up close look at him and having him in under their program, the Lakers will get the first chance to find out.