Lakers Select Pepperdine’s Maxwell Lewis With 40th Overall Pick In 2023 NBA Draft
James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

After plenty of rumors, the Los Angeles Lakers ended up staying put at No. 17 in the 2023 NBA Draft where they selected Indiana guard Jalen Hood-Schifino.

With D’Angelo Russell and Dennis Schroder both unrestricted free agents this summer, addressing the backcourt was a smart move by Rob Pelinka and company. Hood-Schifino is an excellent playmaker who can create his own shot in half court sets, two skills that should serve him well on a team headlined by LeBron James and Anthony Davis. He’s also a solid defender at the point of attack, another key trait that should earn him a rotation role depending on how free agency shakes out.

However, Los Angeles wasn’t done with the draft as they managed to move up seven spots in the second round earlier in the day to the No. 40 pick. The organization has been one of the best in the league at unearthing talent in the later stages of the draft and with how much talent and depth there is in this year’s class a move up made plenty of sense.

With their name on the clock for the final time Thursday night, the Lakers selected Maxwell Lewis out of Pepperdine University, via Dave McMenamin of ESPN:

Lewis has ideal length and size for the small forward position and possesses 3-and-D qualities that make him an easy project to project at the NBA level. During his last season in college, Lewis shot 35.1% from beyond the arc on 4.2 attempts a game, a solid mark for someone who will be asked to reprise the same role with the Lakers.

After taking Hood-Schifino to shore up their backcourt, grabbing Lewis in the middle of the second round is an excellent outcome for Los Angeles, who could use more wings on the roster. Like Hood-Schifino, Lewis isn’t expected to play meaningful minutes in his rookie season, but has the potential to grow into a long-term piece for the team given his age and skillset.

All in all, the purple and gold did well for themselves in the draft and will get a chance to see their picks in action when the California Classic tips off in July.

Jalen Hood-Schifino grew up a Kobe Bryant fan

Hood-Schifino may not play much during his rookie season given the Lakers’ chase after another title, but he’s definitely a good long-term prospect who can take his time developing behind the scenes. However, he’s already endeared himself to the fan base as he said he grew up a Kobe Bryant fan when speaking to Los Angeles media for the first time.

“It’s honestly really crazy and kind of hard to say how I feel because growing up I was a big Kobe fan. I was always watching his videos, watching the Lakers. For me to get drafted by the Lakers is kind of surreal and kind of crazy.”

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