clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Grading the Lakers’ picks in the 2023 NBA Draft

NBA Draft experts gave the Lakers passing grades for their selections of Jalen Hood-Schifino and Maxwell Lewis.

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

Miami v Indiana Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

In a slightly surprising plot twist, given how many trade rumors there were about the team in the leadup to the 2023 NBA Draft, the Los Angeles Lakers (at least for now) kept both of their selections, picking Jalen Hood Schifino at No. 17 and Maxwell Lewis at No. 40.

Being a draft expert is a full-time job, and so I won’t claim to be one. What I can do, however, is round up some grades and thoughts on both picks from some of the top draftniks the basketball internet has to offer.

Here’s what they have to say, with updates to follow as grades continue to roll out:

Jalen Hood Schifino

Ricky O’Donnell, SB Nation

Grade: C+

Hood is a huge 6’6 guard who can make plays out of the pick-and-roll and while offering pull-up shooting potential. He’s not a great athlete, and didn’t get many easy buckets as a freshman for Indiana, which is one reason he struggled to score efficiently at times. I had Hood-Schifino ranked outside my top-30, but the NBA teams were reportedly always higher on him. His upsides rests on him turning into a knockdown pull-up shooter off the dribble, but I’m not super encouraged by his college tape or percentages. The Lakers did need a guard and if this saves them from giving D’Angelo Russell a big contract, it could be worth it.

Kyrsten Peek, Yahoo Sports

Grade: B-

Hood-Schifino plays bigger than his 6-5 frame and was the most improved ball-handler in the pick-and-roll option this year. Defensively, he keeps guards in front and can cut players off trying to turn the corner off the switch. Hood-Schifino participated in Chris Paul’s camp prior to his freshman year at Indiana and Paul praised Hoood-Schifino’s defense on the perimeter.

John Hollinger, The Athletic

Grade: N/A, the Athletic just did live analysis, not grades

Well, this is an interesting one for me, personally. The Lakers’ track record in the draft over the last decade or so has been as good as any team’s in the league. On the other hand, I think Jalen Hood-Schifino is the most overrated player in the draft. As an on-ball player specializing in middies and floaters, but with limited ability to either shoot the 3 or get all the way to the cup, I don’t see a ton of upside here, and I don’t really see how he fits in on a team with LeBron James and Anthony Davis. The Lakers’ track record here deserves respect, but I’m a bit puzzled.

Adam Finkelstein, CBS Sports

Grade: B

Hood-Schifino showed in high school and college that he could be a role player, and that’s important here. Still, he’s a bit streaky as a scorer and especially as a shooter, which will be important for the Lakers immediately. The long-term play here is a nice player, but is he ready to contribute to a team that expects to be good now?

Zach Buckley, Bleacher Report

Grade: B

The Lakers were likely to add a playmaker this offseason, and while they could search for more in free agency or trades, they at least started to scratch that itch with this pick.

Hood-Schifino aces the eye test as a big, physical playmaker, and his feel for the game might be even more impressive than his raw gifts. He can manipulate defenses, which makes him excellent in ball-screen situations. He competes on defense and maintains his focus away from the ball.

He comes with plenty of question marks, though, as he’s not the best athlete, ball-handler or shooter around. He has some ignitable nights, but he isn’t nearly consistent enough. If he’s going to be a primary creator, he needs a more reliable pull-up shot. If he’s going to be off the ball more, he has to level up his spot-up shooting.

If his shooting perks up, he’s a good fit and a good find in this spot. If it doesn’t, it could be hard for him to find minutes with both LeBron James and Anthony Davis on the floor.

Maxwell Lewis

John Hollinger, The Athletic

Grade: N/A, the Athletic just did live analysis, not grades

Maxwell Lewis was a divisive player among scouts, showing some interesting tools as a tall, athletic wing with some shooting ability, but also some glaring deficiencies on a terrible Pepperdine team, particularly on defense and making decisions with the ball. This is about the spot where the upside offsets the failure risk. LA traded up seven spots to get the No. 40 pick from Indiana.

Kyle Boone, CBS Sports

Grade: A

The Lakers extract excellent value with a second-round steal in Maxwell Lewis, a prospect who we ranked as a first-rounder but slipped to No. 40. He had a huge sophomore season with Pepperdine and projects as a long, rangy wing who can attack and finish while adding shooting range.

Zach Buckley, Bleacher Report

Grade: B+

L.A. paid a healthy sum to climb seven spots and grab Maxwell Lewis, who might be this draft’s most extreme boom-or-bust prospect.

Lewis’ highlights and measurements look great, and if they all translate to the NBA, he could have a lengthy career. He has size, length and a variety of shot-making moves. When committed on defense, he can cycle through multiple assignments.

His lack of polish is glaring, though, and it’s worrisome to the point it could sink his career before it ever gets going. His tools can only do so much if they aren’t developed. His defensive focus, playmaking, handle, decision-making and shot-selection all need work.

As always with draft picks, the good version of the players’ respective possible careers and skillsets sounds a lot better than the bad versions, and it will be fun to watch both of these guys in summer league to get our first glimpse at which direction their basketball journeys will take them.

Still, as fun as draft night grades are, it’s worth remembering we likely won’t know how right or wrong these takes are for years. That said, these seem to be interesting picks at the very least, and Jesse Buss and Co. in the Lakers scouting department have earned a ton of trust.

So are these grades too high? Too low? Let us know what you think in the comments below, and as written above we will update this post with more evaluations from experts as they continue to publish.

You can follow Harrison on Twitter at @hmfaigen.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Silver Screen & Roll Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of Los Angeles Lakers news from Silver Screen & Roll