5 Players the Lakers can only dream of falling to No. 17 at 2024 NBA Draft

The Los Angeles Lakers have the No. 17 pick in the 2024 NBA Draft. If the rumor is true, trading up could net a captivating player.
Purdue v Connecticut
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The Los Angeles Lakers are on pace to utilize the No. 17 overall selection to improve their roster. Some have questioned if it will be packaged in a trade for an established player, but until that happens, their options must be explored thoroughly on the 2024 NBA Draft front.

All eyes are on the realistic targets, based entirely on what big boards and mock drafts are suggesting, but the NBA Draft rarely plays out how analysts expect it to—and the Lakers could have the assets to make something happen for themselves.

Every year at the NBA Draft, players who are projected by media analysts to go early end up sliding down the board. As such, the Lakers shouldn't write anyone off as an option in 2024, even if it seems unlikely that they would fall all the way to No. 17.

That possibility has been made even more compelling by the recent report that the Lakers are interested in trading up. Per Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports:

"I’ve heard from plenty of people that they are considering, at No. 17, there’s talk of the Lakers wanting to move up a little bit."

The question is: Who should the Lakers be looking at as dream targets at No. 17 overall? Additionally, who might be worth trading into the lottery for at the 2024 NBA Draft?

It all begins with a perfect fit for head coach JJ Redick.

Devin Carter, G, Providence Friars

Redick and the Lakers are reportedly interested in finding point-of-attack defenders. They'll likely look for veterans who fit the bill, but the NBA Draft can be a great resource for teams that are looking for more cost-efficient options.

Providence Friars star Devin Carter certainly fits the bill as perhaps the most explosive athlete and one of the best on-ball defensive prospects in this class.

Carter measured at 6'2.25" and 193 pounds with a 6'8.75" wingspan at the 2024 NBA Draft Combine. He also posted the highest max vertical leap at 42.0", ran the fastest time in the three quarter sprint at 2.87 seconds, ranked third in the lane agility drill, and finished 10th in the shuttle run.

It was a clear display of the physical tools that have enabled Carter to rise up big boards and emerge as a projected late lottery pick.

In terms of how he puts those gifts to use, Carter is a two-way player who can get downhill, finish above the rim, and space the floor when given room. He isn't afraid of contact and improved his three-point percentage across each of his three collegiate seasons, ultimately reaching 37.7 percent.

With averages of 19.7 points, 8.7 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 1.8 steals, 1.0 block, and 2.5 three-point field goals made per game on .473/.377/.749 shooting, Carter stuffed the stat sheet during his junior season.

He could do the same at the next level as a Josh Hart or even Derrick White style guard who could fill a key defensive void for the Lakers.