The 2023 NBA Draft is officially in the books and there are two new players for Los Angeles Lakers fans to get to know. The Lake Show selected Jalen Hood-Schifino with the 17th overall pick before taking Maxwell Lewis in the second round with pick 40.
NBA Draft prospects have a lower success rate than other sports, especially when you get out of the lottery. However, the Lakers are one of the best teams in the league in finding and developing talent, so it is reasonable to get excited about fresh blood on the roster.
Is the excitement warranted, though? To answer that, let’s break down the Lakers draft grades for both JHS and Lewis.
Lakers draft grades, Jalen Hood-Schifino: B+
The Lakers could have taken the bait and selected Cam Whitemore, who fell much lower in the draft than many initially expected. Some talent evaluators were extremely high on Whitemore, considering him as one of the 5-7 best prospects in the draft.
There were obviously some red flags behind the scenes as Whitemore fell to the 20th pick. Instead of taking that risk, the Lakers took the exciting combo guard out of Indiana, Jalen Hood-Schifino.
Hood-Schifino has legitimate two-way potential and can have a role in the NBA right away because of it. While his offensive playmaking and shot creation is going to take time to develop, his defensive ability, size, and length is going to get him minutes off the bench in the regular season.
JHS can also be a creator off the bench, taking some of the facilitating load off of LeBron James and the starting point guard, whoever that might be.
In a perfect world, the Lakers would have gotten someone who could contribute in a bigger way right away but that probably was not realistic with how the board fell. Lakers fans should be very happy with this selection.
Lakers draft grades, Maxwell Lewis: A
Los Angeles traded up from the 47th pick to the 40th pick before the draft as the team obviously wanted to land an impact prospect. The Lakers did just that, landing Maxwell Lewis with the 40th pick. Considering how the board fell, Lewis was the best the Lakers could have done at pick 40.
Lewis is someone who legitimately could have gone in the first round because of his shotmaking ability. While his three-point percentage does not jump off the page, Lewis is a smooth shot-creator that is a classic microwave scorer off the bench.
He needs to develop as a defender if he is going to blossom into a legitimate playoff rotation guy but his potential to be someone who swings games in the regular season with his bench scoring is extremely exciting.