Report: D.J. Burns lands workout with Lakers amid massive weight loss

Jesse Cinquini
4 Min Read
Patrick Breen/The Republic / USA TODAY NETWORK

As claimed by R. Cory Smith of 247 Sports, North Carolina State University star D.J. Burns — who has reportedly lost 45 pounds over the past six-and-a-half weeks — landed a workout with the storied Los Angeles Lakers franchise ahead of the 2024 NBA Draft.

“NC State big man DJ Burns Jr. didn’t get an invite to the NBA Draft Combine, but he hasn’t let that stop him from putting in work,” Smith wrote. “The former Wolfpack star confirmed with Pack Pride earlier this week that he flew out for a pre-draft workout with the Lakers as one of several trips he plans to make prior to the 2024 NBA Draft.”

NBA insider Shams Charania spoke with the 23-year-old regarding his massive weight loss.

“D.J. Burns told me he has lost 45 pounds in the last six-and-a-half weeks,” Charania said about his recent conversation with the youngster. “He said he’s doing cardio workouts at 5 a.m. He told me no Ozempic. He told me no Ozempic. … He said he’s been doing workouts four days a week at 5 a.m., cardio workouts specifically, that early in the morning.”

Burns — a 6-foot-9 forward who played five seasons of college basketball at Winthrop University and N.C. State — spent the 2023-24 season as a member of the Wolfpack and averaged 12.9 points, 4.0 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 0.6 blocks per game across 41 games played (40 starts).

To put Burns’ numbers into perspective, he averaged the second-most points per game of any player on the Wolfpack behind only D.J. Horne, who led the team with 16.9 points per contest. Furthermore, he averaged the third-most rebounds and second-most assists per contest on the team.

The lack of consistent production that the Lakers received from their forwards outside of LeBron James in the 2023-24 season gives the impression that the team should perhaps take a long, hard look at drafting Burns.

After all, during the regular season, the Lakers experimented with starting several players alongside James and Anthony Davis in the frontcourt — including Rui Hachimura and Taurean Prince — to varying degrees of success.

A report from The Athletic’s Jovan Buha back in March suggests that Ham rolled with Prince instead of Hachimura in the starting lineup to start the season because Hachimura didn’t embrace the role that Los Angeles wanted him to play.

“But once Hachimura arrived in training camp, he didn’t embrace the role-player duties the coaching staff wanted from him — being fully engaged defensively, boxing out hard, making the extra pass,” Buha wrote. “Prince, on the other hand, earned the trust of the coaching staff with his professionalism and consistency.

“The decision to start Prince was far from a unanimous one inside the organization. The coaching staff believed Hachimura’s score-first mentality, which had not evolved enough in training camp in their eyes, made him a better fit off the bench. Prince, meanwhile, profiled as the low-usage, 3-and-D player the starting lineup needed to space the floor and slot onto elite wing scorers.”

Both Prince and Hachimura had forgettable series against the Denver Nuggets in the first round of the 2024 NBA Playoffs. The former averaged 7.4 points per contest on 29.4 percent shooting from deep, while the latter averaged 7.8 points per game on 39.5 percent shooting from the floor.

The Lakers have two picks in the upcoming 2024 NBA Draft, and time will tell if they will use one of them on Burns to bolster their depth in the frontcourt.

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Jesse is a sports journalist with extensive experience covering the NBA. He has worked as a staff writer covering the Lakers’ dreaded rivals, the Boston Celtics, for SB Nation. He has also covered the New York Knicks for The Knicks Wall.