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. 2: Brandin Podziemski, 19th pick

The Golden State Warriors didn't only come away with one player the Lakers should have drafted; they came away with two. And even if you make the reasonable claim that no one in the NBA thought Trayce Jackson-Davis was worth the 17th pick in the draft, it's hard to argue the Lakers didn't completely whiff when they took Jalen Hood-Schifino over Brandin Podziemski in last year's draft.

Podziemski was an analytics darling heading into the draft, a small player who played much larger than his 6'5" frame and led his college conference in rebounding. He carried that skill directly over into the NBA, averaging 5.8 rebounds per game despite his limited minutes as a rookie. Only Josh Hart had more rebounds per game this season among players 6'5" or shorter, and he played significantly more minutes.

The All-Rookie Teams have not yet been announced, but Podziemski finished fifth in Rookie of the Year voting and is a virtual lock to make one of the teams. He worked his way into the Warriors' rotation early on and soon established himself as a starter over future Hall of Famer Klay Thompson. He fit in seamlessly around the Warriors' high-usage players and his defense, rebounding, passing and hustle are all ideal for a player on a good team filling his role.

The Los Angeles Lakers could have desperately used a player like that, someone who wasn't a target defensively and would do all the little things required of role players on contending teams. Instead, they were forced to give minutes to players like Taurean Prince and Rui Hachimura, who are bigger and more talented but don't have the instincts or motor to do everything required.

The Lakers swung for the fences and missed; the Warriors went for a double and got a triple.