The Los Angeles Lakers went into the 2023 NBA draft with their highest first-round pick (17th) since 2018, and prior to the draft also traded up from the 47th pick into the 40th pick, consummating a deal with the Indiana Pacers several hours before the clock started ticking.
Considering the current context of the Lakers — who are looking to maximize LeBron James’ championship window — no one would have been surprised if they moved either (or both) of the picks for a more win-now player of the kind they were linked to by trade rumors in the days and hours leading up to Thursday’s draft.
There were increasing reports that the Lakers would be moving off the 17th pick, but they never came to fruition. The Lakers drafted guard Jalen Hood-Schifino out of Indiana at No. 17, and with the 40th pick took Maxwell Lewis from Pepperdine.
Let's take a closer look at the strengths and weaknesses of each player, with a heavy assist from the impeccable Lakers draft head Mike Garcia (@canyondriver):
I wouldn’t get too attached to either of these guys just yet because drafting someone doesn’t necessarily mean they won’t be traded, especially with the aforementioned “win-now” window.
Additionally, the Lakers had a great haul with their undrafted free agent signings so far, nabbing Colin Castleton (two-way), D’Moi Hudge (two-way) and Alex Fudge (Exhibit-10) in the hours after the draft. I’ll break those three down in a future video.
Dr. Rajpal Brar, DPT has a doctorate in physical therapy from Northern Arizona University, is a youth basketball coach at the U12 level and runs his own in-person and online sports medicine and performance business, 3CB Performance, in West LA and Valencia, CA in which he further combines his movement expertise and fitness training. Combining his background in biomechanics, movement science, and learning science - he consults in a variety of sports including basketball on movement mechanics and skill acquisition. Brar is additionally training at UCLA’s mindful awareness research center (MARC and analyzes the Lakers from a skills & medical perspective for Silver Screen and Roll and on his own YouTube Channel. You can follow him on Twitter at @3cbPerformance.