2023 NBA Draft: Rob Pelinka Believes Jalen Hood-Schifino Is Lottery Talent & Was Easy Pick For Lakers
(Photo by Kostas Lymperopoulos/NBAE via Getty Images)

Jalen Hood-Schifino didn’t have to wait too long to hear his name called at the 2023 NBA Draft as he went No. 17 overall to the Los Angeles Lakers.

Shortly after getting drafted, Hood-Schifino admitted it was surreal to be picked by the Lakers because of his affinity for the organization and his love for Kobe Bryant, but it’s a reality now. The rookie was mocked by several analysts to go in the lottery, so for him to be available at No. 17 represented value for Los Angeles.

Rob Pelinka was pleased with how the board fell in favor of the Lakers and discussed why he and the front office made Hood-Schifino the pick, via Mike Trudell of Lakers.com:

“To be able to get a lottery-level talent in Jalen Hood-Schifino with the 17th pick is something we’re incredibly excited about,” said Lakers VP of Basketball Operations Rob Pelinka. “Having positional-size in the league (as a) 6’5’’ on-ball point guard with a 6’10’’ wingspan … a high IQ, really fits the direction we’re going and trying to build this roster out.”

Pelinka also revealed that the Indiana guard was high on their board, so drafting him was a no-brainer:

“Jalen was a target, and well ahead of 17,” he continued. “This was an easy one for us. To be able to get him outside the lottery was great value.”

The Lakers’ scouting department hasn’t missed on many prospects over the years, so there’s reason to believe they found a gem in Hood-Schifino. Having just turned 20 earlier in the week, he’s got plenty of of upside though he already looks like an NBA-ready player.

Hood-Schifino can make a case for minutes early on in his career with strong showings in the California Classic and Las Vegas Summer League, but the more likely outcome is he rides the bench and develops behind the scenes. Still, grabbing a highly-touted prospect where they did is a win for the purple and gold and it’ll be exciting to see him suit for the first time in a couple of weeks.

Rob Pelinka says end goal is for Lakers to put championship-level product on court

Most people assumed the Lakers were going to trade their first-round pick in favor of a proven rotation player, but a deal wasn’t in the cards. Despite that, Pelinka emphasized the goal for the franchise is to put a championship-level product on the floor and that future moves will be made with that in mind.

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