Could Jalen Hood-Schifino be perfect for the Lakers in the 2023 NBA Draft?

Despite being a franchise known for its scouting department and draft prowess, it has been rare for the team to have a first-round draft pick in recent years. Most of that has been because they sent a lot of them to New Orleans in a trade for Anthony Davis and the others have been relieved in other trades.

This season they are in a unique situation in several ways. In addition to having their first-round pick, the Lakers finishing as a play-in team at the end of the regular season means they will be both a team that went to the Western Conference Finals and one that has the No. 17 seed. .

Considering how deep the lineup was — and could be next year — at season’s end, the Lakers have a lot of flexibility with their picks. A team that has always prioritized the best player available on the draft board, that will be even more the case in this year’s draft.

One of the players that is in the line of the Lakers pick, and was mocked to the Lakers in Ricky O’Donnell’s latest draft for SB Nation, guard Jalen Hood-Schifino is from Indiana. Among a host of wing scoring options that should be available with the number 17, Hood-Schifino is one of the few ball handlers in that area.

This is where I can offer a unique insight to Lakers fans. In addition to covering the Lakers, I also cover IU athletics for Locked On and watched every game last season of Hood-Schifino.

So let’s take a look at JHS and how he would fit with the Lakers.


Coming into the season, JHS wasn’t seen as the one-and-done prospect he would become. An injury to IU’s starting point guard early in the season forced Hood-Schifino into a primary ballhandler role all season, and he flourished.

JHS excelled all season in the pick-and-roll, mostly as a mid-range scorer. That middle ground is where Hood-Schifino will make his money, figuratively and literally, in the NBA.

According to Hoop-Math, Hood-Schifino shot 42% on 2-point jumpers, which accounted for 52.6% of his field goal attempts on the season. For some reference, albeit in a different context, Austin Reaves shot 42% on mid-range jumpers, while Rui Hachimura and Dennis Schröder each shot 43%.

His smooth shooting stroke and shot-making abilities are things that will translate to the NBA right away. He’s comfortable dribbling into a mid-range jumper and punishing drop coverages all season.

His best display of that came in a 35-point performance against Purdue. With Zach Edey on the floor, Purdue used heavy drop coverage and JHS took advantage.

As that video shows, he possesses not only a mid-range jumper, but a nice floater game around the rim that allows him to further excel against those drop coverages. He has a good understanding of space and how to use his body to keep players in prison. In more ways than one, he looks like an NBA guard running the pick and roll.

His size and height are also big advantages. At the combine, he measured in at 6’4.25” with a wingspan of 6’10.25”. He is a big player and this will allow him to both excel as a ball handler while also being able to play both guard positions.

That size also helped him defensively, as he excelled as a point-of-attack defender. At times he struggled with concentration and was caught off the ball, but these were all things that could be fixed and the foundation of what he has defensively can be built on to a solid player.


Hood-Schifino’s mid-range game can be effective, but his jumper is generally very streaky. On the season, JHS shot 37-111 (33.3%) from the 3-point line, a mark that is already showing some shakiness. Sixteen of those 3-pointers came in three games on the season, meaning that in the other 29 games, Hood-Schifino shot 21-87, or 24.1%.

The jumper started and stopped and led to some really hot nights – going 8-12 from the field and 6-9 from the 3-point line against Ohio State — and some really ugly nights — going 1-14 against Maryland — with plenty of variety in between. The jumper is certainly serviceable with his mid-range game showing how effective it can be in addition to his 77.6% shooting at the foul line, it’s just a matter of whether he can consistently knock it down at the NBA level.

Despite being a heavy pick-and-roll player and playing alongside a great big man in Trayce Jackson-Davis, JHS’ assist numbers aren’t particularly high as he only averaged 3.7 per game. match. At times he got great vision, but that was another thing he didn’t consistently do. The Hoosiers didn’t have much in the way of floor spacing for drive-and-kick opportunities on those pick and rolls, but that doesn’t account for all the limitations he had at times.

Similarly, turnover was also a problem for JHS. Some of it was simple freshman mistakes, but some loose dribbling and some careless passing led to him averaging 2.8 turnovers per game. match.

And for as much success as JHS had as a mid-range scorer in the pick and roll, he didn’t get to the rim often, nor did he finish very well when he did get there. Only 19.9% ​​of his shots came at the rim, and he shot 52.5% on those attempts. Dennis, for example, shot 54% on shots at the rim in the regular season last year, but that accounted for 26% of his shot attempts and led to a number of fouls. He is also a much smaller player than JHS.


Hood-Schifino, as you can see, is an interesting prospect for the Lakers. Best Available Player may not be an accurate summary of the Lakers approach as it is the best option available.

Whether it’s someone who can contribute right away like a Josh Hart, Austin Reaves or Larry Nance – or someone who will take a bit more time to develop in Talen Horton-Tucker, Max Christie or even a Thomas Bryant – will the Lakers take the top prospect they feel is on the board.

In that sense, JHS could be their guy. There is the basis for a lot of good things, but there are also a number of things that need to be ironed out. If the Lakers think they will lose a combination of D’Angelo Russell or Dennis this summer, JHS could make sense to eat some minutes.

But if you’re looking for a player who can spot up and be a scoring threat alongside LeBron in that capacity? That was not something JHS consistently showed last season.

He’s a solid prospect who could develop into a really good one. If the Lakers are willing to take the time to allow him to figure these things out, he could make sense. He’s also someone who probably needs the ball in his hands to be at his best, which might not make sense.

That will lead to an interesting decision for the Lakers. It’s not a seamless fit, but this could be the type of player the Lakers select now, let him develop and he’ll be another great find in the draft.

You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.

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