Drafted with the No. 17 pick by the Lakers in this year’s NBA draft, there was optimism that Jalen Hood-Schifino could be the guard of the future for the purple and gold, though not right away, of course.
With D’Angelo Russell in front of him in the depth chart, Hood-Schifino's role appeared to be playing a shift or two a night and learning under more experienced guards. It seemed like the selection was a perfect balance of adding someone who could help now while still having the grace of not needing to be the guy for the team to find success.
Then Hood-Schifino went down with a knee injury during the preseason and has been out ever since. After weeks of silence followed by weeks of re-evaluation, he finally made his debut on Monday versus the Sixers.
Rookie Jalen Hood-Schifino is making his regular-season debut.— Jovan Buha (@jovanbuha) November 28, 2023
The debut was lackluster, just 11 minutes, zero points and a couple of assists. But the fact he was able to finally play was a win — the only win the L.A. had in Philly given the blowout loss.
Postgame, Hood-Schifino discussed what he learned while sitting on the bench to start his rookie campaign.
“Of course, you don’t want to go down with an injury but, for me, it was all eyes, all ears,” Hood-Schifino said postgame. “I was able to watch everyone, from the routines, watching a lot of film, obviously seeing a lot of games from the sidelines. Just picking up on everything, just the speed of the game, how the coaches want us to play, learning my teammates better. Pretty much everything, really.”
As a rookie on a veteran-led team, this is exactly what you want to hear from Hood-Schifino. Be a good teammate, stay quiet and be a sponge observing all the information you can while being unable to contribute on the floor.
Now that he’s back and available, maybe we can see some of that promise he displayed during Summer League and preseason and follow a similar trajectory as other rookie Lakers did, going from a role player to bonafide contributors like Alex Caruso, Austin Reaves and Kyle Kuzma did.
Special edition bobblehead
If you want to join the Jalen Hood-Schifino militia— the name is a work in progress — our friends at FOCO have some special edition bobbleheads. They will release a collection of bobbleheads to commemorate this year’s draft class as part of their rookie series and Jalen Hood-Schifino is among the rookies you can collect.
He’s wearing the Lakers' white alternate uniform, and he stands atop a Lakers-themed base with the words “Star Rookie” displayed on the backboard behind the figure. You can purchase the collectible for $70, which stands 8 inches tall, but you might want to do so quickly as only 96 units will be available for purchase.
You can follow Edwin on Twitter at @ECreates88.