The Los Angeles Lakers haven’t had many opportunities to pick in the first round in recent years. Two blockbuster trades (Anthony Davis & Russell Westbrook) have everything to do with that. But for the first time since 2018 when Los Angeles used their 25th selection on Mo Wagner, the Lakers will actually have a chance to take a prospect in the first round (if they don’t trade the pick).
Although the Lakers are certainly in win-now mode with LeBron potentially entering his final year in purple and gold, there are still plenty of prospects who can bolster this roster as soon as next season. So here are three:
Prospects that can instantly bolster the Lakers:
1. Jordan Hawkins (Guard, Connecticut)
Jordan Hawkins only comes in at 6’5, 195, but there is a real case to be made that he is the best shooter in the draft. He would also be the best fit as the Lakers are currently constructed.
The two guard is always in constant movement, can get his shot off in a variety of ways and is comfortable when getting run off the three-point line. What separates Hawkins from other prospects is the type of shots he’s able to connect on along with the gravity he would be able to create (38.8% from three in college on 7.6 attempts per game). While many may view him as a “three-point specialist” entering the league, there is a lot of untapped potential in his game offensively.
On the other hand, playing in the bright lights of Los Angeles is a different type of pressure. But if there is any indication that he is built for it, Hawkins’ National Championship run for the UConn Huskies this past March checks off that box. On the biggest stage in college basketball, he showed out, hitting timely shots and making winning plays all tournament.
Outside of just pure fit, Jordan Hawkins makes the most sense because if Malik Beasley’s team option is not picked up (which according to the athletic is unlikely), they have a guy to step right in to replace him on a rookie-scale deal. If he is on the board at pick no.17 this should be option one.