The Lakers surprised many on Thursday by not trading their No. 17 pick and selecting Jalen Hood-Schifino. While a number of interesting names and teams were linked to the Lakers as trade options, the Lakers hung tight and did not move the pick to add win-now moves, instead opting to use their pick on a prospect.
After the draft, vice president of basketball operations Rob Pelinka spoke to the media about their selections. More broadly, though, he spoke also about the team option to use their picks and not make a deal.
Rob Pelinka on LAL’s mentality on draft night, seeking trades or keeping the picks: “The end goal is for us to put a championship-level product on the court … Sometimes you can’t make all of your moves in one fell swoop but we’re really excited about how the draft panned out”— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) June 23, 2023
The team that has come up the most in conversations over the last 24 hours as a potential trade partner for the Lakers has been the Brooklyn Nets, according to league sources. The Nets have the No. 21 and 22 picks in the draft, presenting the Lakers an opportunity to trade back and recoup another asset. Brooklyn also has a plethora of 3-and-D wings that the Lakers are interested in, including Dorian Finney-Smith and Royce O’Neale, two players that have been linked to LA in recent days.
No deal was made, though. In fact, very few trades, in general, were made on the night, so the Lakers were in the majority in that regard. Pelinka also spoke to the fact that they viewed Hood-Schifino as a lottery talent, which might have influenced their decision to not trade the pick and select a player they felt might have fallen in the draft.
Rob Pelinka said the Lakers had JHS ranked as a lottery-level talent, that he was a "great value" at No. 17. He cited his "positional size" at 6'5'' with a 6'10'' wingspan, and on-ball PG skills, citing his strength in the pick-and-roll game.— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) June 23, 2023
"This was an easy (choice) for us."
There are still plenty of ways for the Lakers to build a title contender, and with so many moving pieces in free agency coming up, there are still a lot of chances to upgrade externally if needed.
Ultimately, though, Pelinka spoke about wanting to keep the core of the team together during his exit interview. Part of that appears to involve not moving players or picks at the deadline and relying on the coaching and player development staff in place to help make improvements.
Hood-Schifino is also the type of player that could turn into a big positive for the Lakers. He’s a high-upside player, and the Lakers have a history of developing talent. If nothing else, the franchise deserves a healthy dose of the benefit of the doubt in this scenario.
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