In Thursday’s NBA draft, the Los Angeles Lakers selected Indiana University guard Jalen Hood-Schifino with the No. 17 pick.
Although there had been rumors that they were looking to trade the No. 17 pick in order to get some help right now, they reportedly plan on keeping Hood-Schifino.
The Lakers are not planning to trade their No. 17 pick Jalen Hood-Schifino, per @DanWoikeSports.
— Lakers Daily (@LakersDailyCom) June 23, 2023
Hood-Schifino is an intriguing guard prospect. He stands 6-foot-6 and has a wingspan of 6-foot-10, and he is known as a versatile and aggressive defender.
That alone could fill a key need for Los Angeles, as it could use a wing defender who can guard multiple positions, especially in the backcourt.
The 20-year-old (he turned 20 on June 19) is also a fantastic ball-handler, facilitator and passer. Should he be ready to contribute right away, he could help soften the blow if D’Angelo Russell ends up leaving in free agency this summer.
Hood-Schifino’s big weaknesses appear to be a lack of footspeed and 3-point shooting. That could be problematic, given that the Lakers are a fast-break team and still lack 3-point marksmen who can open up the floor for LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
In recent days, they have been linked to a number of players who would make a difference for them right away. Two of them are Myles Turner and Buddy Hield of the Indiana Pacers, both of whom they have reportedly been interested in going back to last summer.
The team already made a move earlier on Thursday by trading the No. 47 pick and cash to the Pacers for the No. 40 pick. It has worked out a large number of potential second-round picks over the last few weeks, and of course, that No. 40 pick could always be used in a trade.
With James being 38 years of age and gradually nearing the end of his career, or at least the end of his Lakers tenure, the team needs to maximize whatever is left of his prime while still building for the future without him. It is a delicate balance that isn’t easy to execute.