The Lakers drafted Indiana’s Jalen Hood-Schifino as a potential replacement for SG Austin Reaves

Jalen Hood-Schifino pic

With their current roster, the LA Lakers are still one of the top contenders in the Western Conference. In the 2023 NBA Draft, the Lakers owned the 17th overall pick. They ended up taking Jalen Hood-Schifino out of Indiana. Many were surprised to see the Lakers take another guar with who they already have. Reports around the league say that Hood-Schifino is seen as a potential replacement for SG Austin Reaves. 

The Lakers have D’Angelo Russell and Austin Reaves as their backcourt pairing, but both are free agents this offseason. There has been mutual interest rumored with both players rejoining the Lakers for next season. However, the Lakers know that Reaves is going to be targeted heavily this offseason.

As a restricted free agent, the Lakers have the ability to match any offer sheet he signs with another team. He was a huge part of their 2023 postseason run. Jalen Hood-Schifino is a young player that has the potential to be great. With the Lakers roster as it is, he’ll have to battle for playing time on a team with a lot of established talent.

Austin Reaves is expected to be targeted heavily as a free agent this offseason

During their 2023 postseason run, Austin Reaves was one of the more consistent players for the Lakers. In their run to the WCF, he averaged (16.9) points on (.443) percent shooting from deep. That type of postseason success is why he’s expected to get a nice payday in free agency.

Reaves is reportedly being targeted by the Rockets and Spurs this offseason. He’s eligible to sign a four-year, $51 million extension with the Lakers’ current cap situation. Other teams around the league are in a better spot than the Lakers are. Meaning they could offer Reaves a contract that they simply could not match.

That is why the Lakers decided to take a guard with the 17th overall pick. The Lakers were reportedly targeting Kobe Bufkin and Hood-Schifino at that spot. They were able to get one of the two players that they had their eye on. As a six-foot-six guard, the former five-star recruit is an elite talent.

In one season with the Indiana Hoosiers, he averaged (13.5) points, (4.1) rebounds, and (3.7) assists per game. He started all 32 games, shooting a respectable (.333) percent from deep. His accuracy from the range is something he can work on throughout his career. However, you can’t teach a six-foot-ten wingspan as a guard. Those are god given abilities. Hood-Schifino will look to make an impact off the bench as a rookie for the Lakers.