5 projected late lottery picks Lakers should steal if they slide to No. 17

The Los Angeles Lakers have a pick just outside of the lottery, but projected top-14 prospects could fall to No. 17. Who should L.A.gamble on?
Big East Basketball Tournament Semifinals
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The Los Angeles Lakers will have a 2024 first-round draft pick after all. With the New Orleans Pelicans opting to defer the right to acquire the Lakers' first-round selection to 2025, a new world of possibilities has presented itself to general manager Rob Pelinka.

As the 2024 NBA Draft nears, one of the most important tasks for Pelinka will be not writing someone off as an option just because of an earlier pre-draft projection.

Whenever the NBA Draft rolls around, big boards are formed and prospects are locked into ranges that are often blown to pieces come the night of the event. As such, many prevent themselves from exploring possibilities that could unlock the next level of their team's potential.

The Lakers should avoid making that same mistake, as there are an abundance of prospects with lottery grades who could potentially fall to No. 17. That all starts with a player who ranks among the most impressive athletes in the 2024 NBA Draft.

At 22 years of age, however, they may slide to No. 17 because of one of the most ridiculous standards that teams swear is relevant on draft night.

Devin Carter, Providence Friars

Devin Carter has emerged as one of the most captivating prospects in the 2024 NBA Draft. The Providence Friars guard improved mightily across each of his three collegiate seasons, with 2023-24 proving to be his leap towards Association relevancy.

With NBA-level measurements, an improved outside shot, and the potential to defend multiple positions, Carter could be a two-way force at the next level.

Carter stands at 6'2.25" without shoes, as well as 193 pounds with a near 6'9" wingspan. He's more of a combo guard than a true point guard, but he's doubled his assist numbers since his freshman season and has shown some creativity as a passer.

An elite rebounder for his position who likes to get into the heart of a defense and finish in traffic, Carter's upside comparison is effectively the point guard version of Josh Hart.

For the Lakers, adding Carter would mean creating depth in the backcourt with a player who can help in several key areas. He shot 37.7 percent on 223 three-point field goal attempts in 2023-24, and improved his three-point and free-throw percentages in each of his NCAA seasons.

Carter also averaged an absurd 9.8 rebounds per game as a junior, as well as 1.1 offensive boards—important numbers for a Lakers team that struggled to crash the boards in 2023-24.

In the event that Carter slides to No. 17, the Lakers would be wise to give serious consideration to the player who ran the fastest three-quarter sprint and had the highest max vertical leap at the 2024 NBA Draft Combine.