Report: Lakers likely to keep No. 17 pick in 2023 NBA Draft

Peter Dewey
4 Min Read

The Los Angeles Lakers are likely to keep the No. 17 overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, according to The Athletic’s Jovan Buha.

However, Los Angeles could decide to make a move if the right trade becomes available.

“The most likely outcome is the Lakers keeping the No. 17 pick, according to multiple team sources not authorized to speak publicly,” Buha wrote. “But that could change if the right trade becomes available — including a team making an enticing offer for the Lakers to trade back later in the draft. I think the right trade would involve using the pick to secure a starting-level upgrade available in a trade on draft night or later this offseason — like, say, Myles Turner in Indiana, who I discussed in Part 1 of this mailbag.”

The Lakers added a ton of veteran talent to their roster at the trade deadline in the 2022-23 season, including D’Angelo Russell, Rui Hachimura, Malik Beasley, Jarred Vanderbilt and Mo Bamba.

Because of that, the team could be looking to add a younger, cheaper player with the No. 17 overall pick. If the Lakers can find a rotation player at that spot, it could make things easier on them this offseason when it comes to free agency.

Los Angeles has some major decisions to make, as Austin Reaves and Hachimura are both set to become restricted free agents. This means that the Lakers can match any offer sheets they sign to keep them in Los Angeles.

Russell is also set to hit free agency as an unrestricted free agent. Retaining him may be a bit tougher, especially if a team is willing to offer him major money. Russell struggled in the Western Conference Finals for Los Angeles and was benched in Game 4 against the Denver Nuggets.

The Lakers have shown an impressive ability to find hidden gems like Reaves and Alex Caruso as undrafted free agents. The team has not kept one of its first-round picks since the 2018 NBA Draft when it took Moritz Wagner.

Jaden McDaniels, De’Andre Hunter and Isaiah Jackson were all moved in trades despite technically being picked by Los Angeles.

Los Angeles could use another big behind Anthony Davis in the rotation as well as more shooting help. The team may lose guard Lonnie Walker IV (unrestricted free agent) in the offseason, so guard could be a place of need as well.

With the No. 17 pick, the Lakers should be able to find some decent value. Last year, the Houston Rockets took forward Tari Eason with the No. 17 pick, and he made an All-Rookie team. There were other gems taken after him as well, including Malaki Branham (No. 20), Christian Braun (No. 21), Walker Kessler (No. 22) and Jaylin Williams (No. 34).

Lakers fans should be excited to see which direction the team goes in this year’s draft.

Share This Article
Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.