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
Big East Basketball Tournament Semifinals / Mitchell Layton/GettyImages
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Jared McCain, Duke Blue Devils

Jared McCain is coming off of a successful freshman season in which he helped the Duke Blue Devils win 27 games and reach the Elite Eight. One of the best shooters in the 2024 NBA Draft, the tools are there for McCain to play winning basketball at the next level, as well.

There are some concerns as to whether or not he can play point guard in the NBA, however, and that may ultimately enable the Los Angeles Lakers to find a steal of a pick at No. 17.

McCain is undersized for a shooting guard at 6'2", but with a 203-pound frame and a near 6'4" wingspan, he can be a capable defender in the lead spot. It certainly doesn't hurt that he's also a marksman, having shot 41.4 percent on 210 attempts from beyond the arc as a freshman.

McCain also knocked down 88.5 percent of his free throws, which is furhter proof that he's every bit the sharpshooter that he appears to be—and that it should translate to the NBA.

The reason he may fall to No. 17 is that he's not only undersized for a 2-guard, but he's also limited in his point guard experience. He averaged just 1.9 assists per game at Duke, which ranked fourth on the team—a somewhat accurate reflection of his combo guard style of play, albeit in an offense without a true primary facilitator.

The Lakers would be the ideal landing spot for a guard who needs to grow into the facilitating role, however, as LeBron James is still around to alleviate some of that pressure.

That adds even more to the case for McCain being the pick at No. 17 overall.