This Thursday the Lakers selected 20-year-old Jalen Hood-Schifino with their 17th pick of the 2023 NBA Draft, a young guard who was named the Big 10 Freshman of the Year during his only campaign at Indiana University.
The Los Angeles team’s VP of Basketball Operations Rob Pelinka, considers him to be the ideal athlete to help reform the purple and gold roster for the upcoming season.
“To be able to get a lottery-level talent in Jalen Hood-Schifino with the 17th pick is something we’re incredibly excited about,” he said. “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.”
The front office leader sought feedback from scouts during the predraft workouts that suggested that the rising star really “carries himself as a pro”, in relation to the way he trains, his strong physique, IQ, talent and diet.
Check out what ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith said about Jalen’s move to the Californian franchise:
“Jalen was a target, and well ahead of 17,” Pelinka continued. “This was an easy one for us. To be able to get him outside the lottery was great value.”
It appears that Hood-Schifino really impressed scouts both on film as a Hoosier and in person. According to the player, he was hoping to be chosen by the Lakers.
“Throughout the whole process, I knew the Lakers had the 17th pick, and the Lakers were the first team I worked out for,” the athlete said during on a conference call after his selection. “Great visit, great workout, great meeting. Just hearing my name called by the Lakers was kinda crazy, because I’ve always been a Kobe fan. It was a full circle moment for me.”
The 20-year-old just averaged 13.5 points, 4.1 rebounds, 3.7 assists, and 0.8 steals in 33.1 minutes per contest during his freshman season in Indiana, dropping 41.7% on field goal attempts, 33.3% from beyond the arc and 77.6% from free-throws.
Jalen was selected in the All-Big 10 Third Team after ranking 9th in his conference’s total assists, with five matches hitting 20+ points.
Hood-Schifino considers himself a versatile basketball player who can lead in both sides of the floor
“I’m an all-around player,” the young athlete said about his game. “I check a lot of boxes. Obviously, a big guard. I feel I can score from all three levels. Really unselfish. Defensively, I can really guard any position. Me having a big, strong body I think is gonna help me guard guards, and bigger players. That’s one way I’m going to be able to separate myself and earn minutes as a rookie.”
The Pittsburgh native first attended Montverde Academy in Florida, winning back-to-back high school national titles, as he earned a Naismith and Jordan Brand All-American.
The Director of Scouting and GM Jesse Busy doesn’t focus too much on the big board’s pick placement for each player, and mostly pay attention to the overall talent of the athlete.
“I don’t think it’s any different whether the pick was 17, or 60,” he explained. “At the end of the day, we have our philosophy, and that’s to study every prospect in the draft and to rank them accordingly. We like to use a tier system in order to group these guys together amongst their talent level, and then we review all options and we’ll be ready to make the pick.”
Source: Basketball Insider