Lakers land Dalton Knecht, biggest steal of 2024 NBA Draft: Reaction and analysis

The Los Angeles Lakers have opted against utilizing the No. 17 pick in the 2024 NBA Draft to find a player of the future. What did the Lakers get in return?
Tennessee v Purdue
Tennessee v Purdue / Mike Mulholland/GettyImages

The Los Angeles Lakers have utilized the No. 17 overall selection in the 2024 NBA Draft to build for the future. Rumors had been swirling that the organization might prioritize a trade, but Los Angeles has instead added a promising talent on a team-friendly deal.

The Lakers have selected former Tennesse Volunteers wing Dalton Knecht at No. 17 overall in the 2024 NBA Draft.

This marks the first time that the Lakers have utilized their first-round draft picks and retained the talent selected in consecutive seasons since 2018.

Los Angeles had been linked to several teams in trade rumors in the buildup to the 2024 NBA Draft. Rather than going all-in on players such as Dejounte Murray or Trae Young, however, the front office has instead remained true to the rumors of its prioritization of depth.

Knecht will have a chance to reward that faith in a season that could permit early playing time and a consistent place in the rotation.

Lakers make instant value pick with Dalton Knecht

Knecht is coming off of a 2023-24 season in which they averaged 21.7 points, 4.9 rebounds, 1.8 assists, and 2.6 three-point field goals made per game. They're widely regarded as one of the best shooters in this draft class.

Assuming their game translates to the NBA, Knecht will have a chance to make an instant impact on a Los Angeles team that's looking to create a deeper and more balanced rotation in 2024-25.

Los Angeles finished the 2023-24 season ranked 24th in three-point field goals made and 28th in three-point field goal attempts. This weakness likely informed the decision to select Knecht, and could potentially speak to the strategy that the Lakers will embrace in free agency.

It will likely take time for Knecht to develop into a consistent contributor, but the Lakers are embracing change and could thus be more receptive to a rookie's immediate value.

Knecht is the first major acquisition of the JJ Redick era. Redick, who was formally hired as head coach earlier this week, envisions an offense in which multiple playmakers will create and a defense that will emphasize creating pressure at the point of attack.

The Knecht selection seems to fit that vision based on their three-point shooting, impressive athleticism, and adequate length for strong 3-and-D contributions.

By retaining the rights to the No. 17 pick, the Lakers have added another promising piece to a young core they've identified as including Max Christie, Rui Hachimura, Jalen Hood-Schifino, and Austin Reaves. It's a rare situation for Los Angeles to find itself in, as the youth movement has typically been sacrificed for established players during Rob Pelinka's tenure as general manager.

There will be no rest for the wicked, however, as the championship window created by the presence of Anthony Davis and LeBron James will instantly inform Knecht of the pressure that comes with being a Laker.