The 2023 NBA Draft is on Thursday night and Los Angeles Lakers fans are eagerly waiting to see what Rob Pelinka and the front office are going to do. Los Angeles entered the draft process with the 17th and 47th overall picks in the draft but the team has already made some moves.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Los Angeles traded the 47th pick and cash considerations to the Indiana Pacers for the 40th pick in the draft. That might not be the only move the team makes, either.
There is growing momentum that the Lake Show will trade the 17th pick, whether it be by moving down to accumulate extra draft capital or for a veteran player. The Lakers could stay put at 17 but at this point, it would be more surprising if they didn’t make a move.
There are multiple avenues the Lakers can take and there is also some variance with the draft itself. If all goes to plan, though, the Lakers can put together an excellent draft night that can see the team bolster the roster with veteran talent and rookies alike.
Building the perfect 2023 NBA Draft for the Lakers:
Step 1: Trade Mo Bamba and pick 17 for Royce O’Neale and pick 22
This is a trade package that we have discussed here on Lake Show Life already so if you want an in-depth breakdown of that trade be sure to check it out here. Just know that the Nets are reportedly interested in moving up in the draft and Royce O’Neale’s name has been tied to the Lake Show.
If the right prospect falls to 17 then the Lakers might be able to pull off an excellent trade. O’Neale is on an expiring deal and likely won’t play as big of a role on a wing-heavy roster next season. With Cam Thomas’ new contract due this summer as well, the Nets may look to save some money on the books and this is the easiest way to do that.
Brooklyn could move up five spots to take a prospect the team really likes while also completely freeing up O’Neale’s contract as the team could waive Mo Bamba and his non-guaranteed deal. LA would add a valuable rotation piece and move back just five spots in the process.
Step 2: Draft Brandin Podziemski with the 22nd pick
Brandin Podziemski is one of the most unique prospects in the 2023 NBA Draft. Taking him with the 17th overall pick might be a bit of a reach and it is more justifiable if the Lakers take him at pick 22 after already adding a veteran wing.
Podziemski comes from a small school (Santa Clara) and that naturally hurts his draft stock. However, his skill set is still very intriguing and is one that the Lake Show can really tap into next season and beyond.
Podziemski is one of the best shotmakers in this draft both off the ball and when he needs to create his own shot. He is someone who can hit a shot with little separation and even if the rest of his game is limited offensively early in his career, he could add a ton of value as a floor-spacing two-guard off the bench.
Podziemski shot 43.8% from three in 5.8 attempts per game last season. And while his defense might raise some concerns, he is a hustle player that could develop that facet of his game with LA’s great coaching staff.
Step 3: Draft an older prospect at pick 40 that can contribute right away
There are three intriguing prospects to watch with the 40th overall pick. Kobe Brown is probably the best of the bunch but both Keyontae Johnson and Adama Sanogo are also very intriguing as potential additions.
What makes all of these guys valuable is the fact that they are older coming into the league. This limits their ceiling but makes it more likely that they can have an impact in the rotation right away, which is all the Lakers need out of this selection.
Of the trio, Sanogo might be the most likely because of where he is expected to go and what he would offer the team. The Lakers would get a cost-controlled backup big that can play both the five and the four.