Lakers Rumors: Cam Whitmore Was ‘Considered’ With No. 17 Pick But Jalen Hood-Schifino Was ‘Surer Bet’
Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers opted to keep their No. 17 overall draft pick despite countless rumors of a possible trade. With that pick, they selected Indiana guard Jalen Hood-Schifino. However, they did have the option of taking an unexpectedly available Cam Whitmore.

Whitmore, the Villanova product, was slated to go as high as No. 4 to the Houston Rockets, but was certainly a top 10 pick. Then, concerns about a knee injury — as well as later rumors about behavior at team workouts — dropped him all the way the Rockets pick at No. 20. It was a historic crash for the highly-touted forward.

This meant that the Lakers had the opportunity to end Whitmore’s slide and draft him at No. 17. It would have been a swing for the fences type move, but with all the uncertainty around him, it could have easily gone awry.

Even still, the Lakers reportedly were considering Whitmore when they were on the clock, according to Jovan Buha of The Athletic:

The Lakers considered Whitmore, according to team sources, but determined Hood-Schifino was a surer bet.

Whitmore joining the Lakers at 17 would have been an exciting prospect given how high he was originally slated to go. But Hood-Schifino brings with him a higher floor and an opportunity to turn to a younger and cheaper player to replace some impending free agents.

Hood-Schifino’s skillset is similar to that of Dennis Schroder, who is a free agent that may carry a higher cost than the Lakers can or would be willing to afford. Hood-Schifino gives the Lakers the option of letting Schroder walk without feeling as though they’re losing the skillset.

Whitmore’s skillset would have been valuable for the Lakers, but would not cover them for any of their free agent losses. The Lakers would be left without a true point guard if both D’Angelo Russell and Schroder found themselves on different teams.

Pelinka calls Hood-Schifino an ‘easy pick’

Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka was certainly excited about the addition of Hood-Schifino. He believes the length and on-ball skills will translate directly to being an impact rotational player in his first season and that the Lakers had him graded as a lottery talent.

Hood-Schifino was projected to go right around the end of the lottery, meaning the Lakers did not reach for the Indiana guard. It’s even better if the Lakers — known for their scouting department — believe they have a steal in the rangy guard.

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