Rob Pelinka: End Goal Is For Lakers To Put ‘Championship-Level Product’ On Court
Rob Pelinka, Lakers
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Leading up to the 2023 NBA Draft, a lot of the talk surrounding the Los Angeles Lakers was that they would try to trade the 17th overall pick in order to acquire a win-now veteran.

This was a deep draft with a lot of talent that stretches past the lottery, but coming off a Western Conference Finals appearances, it’s clear that the Lakers’ championship window is now and isn’t gonna stay open long as LeBron James enters his 21st season.

The draft came and went on Thursday night, however, and the Lakers didn’t make any trades. They selected Indiana combo guard Jalen Hood-Schifino with the 17th pick and then went with Pepperdine wing Maxwell Lewis with the 40th pick in the second round.

While both a quality prospects that drew praise after the Lakers drafted them, it remains to be seen if either will be able to contribute right away in the 2023-24 season.

When asked about the inability to make a trade to bring in a win-now piece, Rob Pelinka stressed that the Lakers are trying to put together a championship-caliber roster and the draft isn’t the only time to do that, via Jovan Buha of The Athletic:

“I think the end goal, we talk about it all the time, is for us to put a championship-level product on the court,” Pelinka said. “… Sometimes you can’t make all of your moves in one fell swoop. But we’re really excited about the way the draft panned out. Just the value we were able to acquire with the two players. We’ll continue to have our mind on how we fill out the rest of the roster — or other moves that happen during free agency.”

Now that the draft is over, Pelinka and the Lakers’ focus will shift to free agency, which starts on June 30.

A number of the Lakers’ moves will likely be bringing back key pieces from last year’s team like Austin Reaves, Rui Hachimura, D’Angelo Russell and Dennis Schroder. Perhaps Pelinka has another move or two up his sleeve to bring someone else in to improve the roster, whether that be in free agency or via trade.

One thing that became clear on draft night though is that the Lakers are not all-in on the 2023-24 season and are still looking out for the future of the organization.

Hood-Schifino grew up fan of Kobe Bryant

Hearing his name called by the Lakers on draft night was extra special for Hood-Schifino as the Indiana product revealed that he grew up a huge fan of Kobe Bryant.

Now he will get to wear the same purple and gold jersey that Bryant did for 20 years, hopefully embracing the Mamba Mentality that made him so great.

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