Anthony Davis trade just got even better for Lakers after 2024 NBA Draft

The Los Angeles Lakers acquired Anthony Davis in 2019. After the 2024 NBA Draft, it's the gift that keeps on giving.
Los Angeles Lakers v New Orleans Pelicans
Los Angeles Lakers v New Orleans Pelicans / Tyler Kaufman/GettyImages

The Los Angeles Lakers forever altered the trajectory of the organization on June 15, 2019. Los Angeles traded its young core of Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart, and Brandon Ingram, as well as three first-round draft picks, for New Orleans Pelicans superstar Anthony Davis.

On June 26, 2024, the trade for Davis reached even greater heights after a pick swap ended up producing the biggest deal of the 2024 NBA Draft.

The acquisition of Davis has already produced a championship, two Western Conference Finals appearances, and four postseason appearances. By all means and measures, the Lakers accomplished what they hoped to when they paired the five-time All-NBA honoree with LeBron James.

As such, the potential negative ramifications that come with losing young players, affordable salaries, and draft picks have been taken in stride.

At the 2024 NBA Draft, however, the Lakers put the finishing touches on the benefit of the Davis acquisition. New Orleans opted to defer the rights to the final first-round draft pick that was traded in the Davis deal to 2025, leaving Los Angeles a chance to improve in 2024.

Against all odds, a projected top-10 pick slid to No. 17 due to concerns about his age and Los Angeles picked up a player with instant and long-term value.

Lakers land Anthony Davis, a championship, and Dalton Knecht

Five years after trading for Davis, a former SEC Player of the Year, the Lakers landed another at the 2024 NBA Draft. With the No. 17 overall selection, Los Angeles drafted Tennessee Volunteers star and reigning award-winner Dalton Knecht.

This was made possible by New Orleans deferring the rights to the Lakers' pick to 2025, operating under the impression that there will be better options next season.

That may ultimately prove true, but Los Angeles managed to cash in and select the reigning SEC Player of the Year with a pick it nearly didn't have. Knecht will now join the Lakers as the first acquisition of the JJ Redick era as head coach.

Redick, a sharpshooter himself during his playing years, will now look to help Knecht make the transition to the NBA in a somewhat similar role to what he played for 15 seasons.

What can the Lakers expect from Dalton Knecht?

In terms of size, length, athleticism, and skill set, Knecht is the prototypical wing for the modern era. He measured at 6'5.25" and 212 pounds with a 6'9" wingspan at the 2024 NBA Draft Combine, and ranked No. 1 in the shuttle run and No. 2 in the lane agility drill.

Knecht also boasts a 39.0" max vertical leap and three-level scoring potential that's highlighted by his elite three-point shooting.

Knecht finished the 2023-24 season with averages of 21.7 points, 4.9 rebounds, 1.8 assists, and 2.6 three-point field goals made per game. He did so in an efficient manner, posting a slash line of .458/.397/.772 despite facing physical and targeted defensive attacks.

Knecht also thrived under pressure, recording 26 points, six rebounds, five assists, two steals, and a block to send Tennessee to the Elite Eight, and dropping 37 points in that round.

There are concerns about his defense, but his physical attributes suggest he's capable of more than he's shown. Promising signs can actually be seen on offense, where he was willing to play through contact, finish in traffic, and get to the line—characteristics that require toughness that should translate to the other end.

Even if Knecht doesn't live up to his potential, however, the fact that the Lakers were able to utilize this selection on a high-level prospect with significant upside shows just how beneficial the Davis trade continues to be.

A championship, two Western Conference Finals, and a Knecht acquisition later, trading for Davis is the gift that keeps on giving.