5 Players the Lakers should have drafted instead of Hood-Schifino

Brandin Podziemski and Trayce Jackson-Davis, Golden State Warriors
Brandin Podziemski and Trayce Jackson-Davis, Golden State Warriors / Thearon W. Henderson/GettyImages
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The Los Angeles Lakers absolutely dominanted the NBA Draft for a number of years.

Even while their team success was muted during the final seasons of Kobe Bryant's career, the Lakers front office and scouting department uncovered draft gem after draft gem. Larry Nance Jr., Kyle Kuzma, Josh Hart and Mo Wagner were late first-round picks. Ivica Zubac, Jordan Clarkson and Talen Horton-Rucker were second-round picks. Alex Caruso and Austin Reaves were undrafted. All of those players are key rotation players on their teams right now.

In recent years, however, the Lakers have largely traded away their first-round picks in pursuit of veteran help, a common decision for contending teams. They kept their 2023 first-round pick, but instead of landing another draft-day steal they swung and whiffed.

The Los Angeles Lakers got nothing from Jalen Hood-Schifino

The Lakers drafted Jalen Hood-Schifino with the 17th pick in last year's draft. The 6'6" combo guard was the epitome of a tough shot-maker at Indiana playing alongside All-American big man Trayce Jackson-Davis and pushed his way up draft boards. If he could continue to make midrange shots at that high of a level in the NBA he had star potential.

Perhaps that star potential is still there, but if so it's buried deep within Hood-Schifino. His rookie season was a disaster, plagued by injury but also by his inability to do anything of value against NBA competition. Perhaps unsurprisingly he was unable to gain the same separation in the NBA and his shots were much more contested, and as a result much less accurate. When your only true elite skill is shotmaking, you better make shots. Hood-Schifino did not.

What makes it worse for the Lakers is that a number of players drafted after their pick (some painfully close) were significantly better as rookies and seem to have a higher ceiling moving forward. The Lakers had the chance to add a real difference-maker and instead came away with a one-trick pony with a broken trick.

Here are five players the Lakers would have been better off drafting than Jalen Hood-Schifino.