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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No. 3: Trayce Jackson-Davis, 57th pick

The Los Angeles Lakers got a career-high 76 games out of Anthony Davis this season, which was both not enough to propel them up the standings and somewhat papered over their complete lack of a reliable backup center. Christian Wood turned back into a pumpkin and Jaxson Hayes was not able to deliver on the buy-low chance the Lakers took on him.

The Golden State Warriors would have run into a similar issue at backup center themselves, except for the fact that they drafted a player with the second-to-last pick of the draft who ended up being a rotation player for them from the jump. Trayce Jackson-Davis eventually became the starting center for the Warriors and is likely to land on an All-Rookie Team despite his low draft position.

For the Lakers, a team that desperately needs help at the center position, to draft the completely wrong Indiana player is a tough pill to swallow. Jackson-Davis may not ever be an All-Star but he already looks like a long-term starting center. He is an exceptional rebounder, a good defender and a strong finisher. The Lakers could desperately use a player like that.

Christian Wood has already exercised his player option for next season and will be back; Jaxson Hayes may do the same. The Lakers played LeBron James and Rui Hachimura at backup center in the playoffs rather than turn to Hayes or Wood, who played a combined 24 minutes in five playoff games. Trayce Jackson-Davis could have been the long-term solution for the Lakers to lock down that spot and fill in when Davis misses games; instead, he will play big minutes for their intrastate rival.