Lakers rookie Blake Hinson on what convinced him to sign with Los Angeles

Blake Hinson signed a two-way contract with the Los Angeles Lakers. In a recent interview, he explained why he chose Los Angeles to begin his career with.
North Carolina v Pittsburgh
North Carolina v Pittsburgh / Greg Fiume/GettyImages

The Los Angeles Lakers were active and proactive at the 2024 NBA Draft. In addition to selecting Dalton Knecht in the first round and Bronny James in round two, Los Angeles added several intriguing players on two-way contracts.

Perhaps the most promising name added to the mix was former Pittsburgh Panthers star Blake Hinson, who perhaps surprisingly went undrafted.

Hinson not being selected at the 2024 NBA Draft boils down to one simple fact: He's a 24-year-old rookie. Options were inevitably going to be available after the event, however, as a sharpshooting wing with size, strength, and length on his side.

In an interview with Trevor Lane of Lakers Nation, Hinson cited the hiring of head coach JJ Redick as one of the biggest reasons he decided to sign with the Lakers over other teams.

"As soon as JJ Redick got hired, honestly. First of all, being a great catch-and-shoot person. Being an awesome ACC player. I really wanted to see if I could be a part of a program that he was in control of, that he was the head of. So actually, when he first got announced for the job, I thought that in my head, 'I really wish I could get an opportunity to be coached under one of the greatest catch-and-shooters ever.'"

Hinson continued, acknowledging how the legendary playmaking ability that LeBron James brings to the table also influenced his choice of NBA team.

" would be a dream come true for a catch-and-shoot shooter like me to be coached by JJ Redick and play with the best playmaker ever [LeBron James]. So heck yeah, it was a no-brainer for me. So now I'm here, trying to work my tail off to get to that point and hopefully I can provide some help."

Hinson might be an undrafted free agent, but he's as likely as anyone to follow in the footsteps of Austin Reaves as a potential key rotational piece.

JJ Redick, LeBron James contributed to Blake Hinson signing with Lakers

Standing at 6'8" and 230 pounds with a wingspan that stretches beyond 6'10", Hinson has prototypical physical gifts for a modern NBA forward. Beyond the physical attributes, he's the epitome of a catch-and-shoot marksman.

With limitless range and the willingness and IQ to move without the ball in his hands, Hinson has the ability to find space and punish teams for giving it to him.

Hinson shot 38.0 percent from beyond the arc in 2022-23 and buried an absurd 42.1 percent of his 266 attempts in 2023-24. He proved comfortable from NBA range, using his high release point and quick motion to rank among the best scorers and shooters in the country.

Hinson was third in the ACC at 18.5 points per game, and led the conference while ranking seventh in the country at 3.3 three-point field goals made per contest. He recorded a better three-point field goal percentage than every player who averaged more than him in the latter statistic.

Most intriguing of all is the fact that Hinson is entering the NBA with a clear understanding of how he can contribute. He openly acknowledges that his value is in his catch-and-shoot proficiency, and wisely cited Redick's experience in that same role as a potential advantage.

Considering the Lakers ranked No. 24 in the NBA in three-point field goals made a season ago, it's possible that Hinson could play his way into the rotation as soon as his rookie campaign.

It's also worth noting that Los Angeles is painfully thin in their rotation, as evidenced by the second unit ranking No. 27 in offensive rating in 2023-24. The defense was strong, but the Lakers need scorers and shooters who can come in and change the pace of a game.

Hinson knows his role, values the opportunity to play for a catch-and-shooting specialist, and is entering a locker room that knows all about the value of undrafted rookies after Reaves experienced his success after not being selected at the 2021 NBA Draft.

In an offseason devoid of marquee moves, the Lakers may have found their big steal in the form of an undrafted rookie.