The Los Angeles Lakers made two selections in the 2023 NBA Draft that fans can feel great about. Los Angeles took Jalen Hood-Schifino with the 17th overall pick in the draft then stole Maxwell Lewis — who some had as a first-round prospect — with the 40th pick in the draft.
All in all, it was a solid night for the Lakers, who avoided doing anything disastrous like trading the 17th pick for a veteran that did not move the needle. There is a good chance that fans look back on this draft in a favorable light in future years.
That being said, the Lake Show still has two massive needs on the roster that are a bit concerning. Granted, the team was not going to fill these needs with rookies that won’t play much but the team still didn’t do much to actually address these needs.
Luckily, there is still free agency (as well as the possibility of making a trade) for Rob Pelinka to fix these holes on the roster. Because if he doesn’t, the Lakers probably aren’t going to last as long as they did in the 2023 NBA Playoffs.
The Lakers still desperately need reliable size and three-point shooting.
These were the two things that ultimately kept the Lakers from beating the Denver Nuggets (in a single game) in the Western Conference Finals. While the games were close and the Lakers were arguably the second-best team in the NBA Playoffs, these two holes were the difference.
Los Angeles had no reliable size behind Anthony Davis and the team did not have the three-point shooting to keep up with Denver. The Lakers actually didn’t shoot it all that poorly in the Western Conference Finals but they didn’t have that lights-out shooter to match the Jamal Murray or Kentavious Caldwell-Pope hot streaks.
Mo Bamba was meant to be the size option for LA but Darvin Ham didn’t seem to buy into him as a rotation player and then his ankle injury did not help his cause. The team had Tristan Thompson on the roster (and he actually got minutes) but he was not a viable option.
As far as shooting goes, the Lakers didn’t really have a lights-out three-point shooter. Guys like Rui Hachimura, Austin Reaves and D’Angelo Russell would get hot, but the team lacked that off-ball shooter that teams had to respect. The missing KCP link.
Plus, all three of those guys are in some kind of free agency this offseason. There is no guarantee that the Lakers bring any of those players back, making the need for reliable three-point shooting even larger.
Pelinka has cap space to play with and the team certainly can get creative with the roster moves this offseason. But at the end of the day, whatever Los Angeles does, the team desperately needs to make sure it adds reliable size and reliable three-point shooting.