The Los Angeles Lakers selected promising young guard Jalen Hood-Schifino with the 17th overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft. Despite the fanbase hyping him up more than it should have, Hood-Schifino's rookie season has gone exactly as expected.
While Hood-Schifino has potential, at the end of the day he is a 20-year-old who only had one year of collegiate experience. Players like this, unless they are at the top of the lottery, take time to develop in the NBA and are almost never difference-makers in their first season.
It is normally fine for a team to take a long-term investment in the draft but not when a team is in the situation that the Lakers are in. Los Angeles needed a prospect who wouldn't take years to develop and could contribute in year one. Hood-Schifino wasn't that player and unfortunately, there were several options the Lakers could have taken to be that player.
3 young stars the Lakers already regret passing on in the 2023 NBA Draft:
Cam Whitemore was projected to be a high lottery pick in the 2023 NBA Draft but medical concerns ultimately tanked his draft stock. Whitemore wound up falling all the way to the 20th pick, where the Houston Rockets decided to take a chance on him.
Whitemore has already missed some time in his rookie season so he is definitely not out of the woods yet with his injury concerns. But when he has played Whitemore has been really solid and has been a consistent scoring presence off the bench.
There is obviously something there with Whitemore to develop into a more impactful role player. While there was risk with the selection, Whitemore had a higher ceiling than JHS at the time and his play thus far has only cemented that.
Whitemore is not as big of a miss as others because of his injury concerns but there is an interesting thought experiment to be had. Why would the Lakers be so concerned about Whitemore missing games with injury in his rookie season when their actual pick doesn't even play since he is not ready?
The answer to that question, unfortunately, is unclear.