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Four Ideal Draft Candidates for the Los Angeles Lakers

Apr 3, 2023; Houston, TX, USA; Connecticut Huskies guard Jordan Hawkins (24) dunks the ball against the San Diego State Aztecs in the national championship game of the 2023 NCAA Tournamemt at NRG Stadium. Will he be a member of the Los Angeles Lakers? Mandatory Credit: NCAA Basketball: Brett Wilhelm/Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers have the 17th and 47th picks in the 2023 NBA Draft. Faced with several needs heading into the offseason–mainly three-point shooting and wing and center depth–and having experienced luck with rookies in the past, they turn to the draft night as one avenue of improving their rejuvenated roster.

Here are four prospects that the Lakers must consider with their selections on June 22nd.

Four Ideal Draft Candidates for the Los Angeles Lakers


The Lakers hold their highest first-round draft pick for the first time since they drafted Lonzo Ball at #2 overall in 2017. Now, they’re looking to add a young player who can develop into a contributor down the road.

Jordan Hawkins

Fresh off of winning a national championship with UConn, sophomore guard Jordan Hawkins is considered by many to be a perfect fit for the Lakers. Heralded as one of the best shooters in college basketball this season, he drained 109 of 281 attempts from beyond the arc this year—good for nearly 39%. Hawkins averaged 16.2 points on 41% shooting from the field. Hawkins was also solid defensively, with an average of 0.7 steals per game. As Reese Kunz’s scouting report suggests, Hawkins is a standout 3&D prospect who still has room to grow offensively. However, he still provides teams with the sharpshooting every franchise desires.

Hawkins’s status as a three-point marksman would make him an ideal selection at #17 for a Lakers team that finished 25th in three-point percentage (34.6%) despite their frequency of 35.6%. The Lakers will have a logjam at both guard spots, assuming most if not all of their backcourt returns next season. However, if Hawkins is selected, he has an opportunity to develop into a difference maker for the Lakers, possibly sooner rather than later.

Jett Howard

Jett Howard is another prospect who has been tied to the Lakers with their first-round pick.  A 6-foot-8 sharpshooting wing out of Michigan, the first-year Howard averaged 14 points per game for the Wolverines while converting nearly 37% of his triples this season, in addition to 41% of his field goals and 80% of his free-throws. Howard proved himself to be a standout three-level scorer, showing a smooth midrange jumper in addition to the 212 threes he attempted this season—which ranked third in the Big Ten. Like Hawkins, Howard is able to hold his own on the defensive end, having averaged 0.4 steals and 0.7 blocks per game.

Howard checks the Lakers’ box as a 3&D wing who has a chance to eventually crack the rotation in spot minutes, adding to their wing depth along with LeBron James, Lonnie Walker IV, and Troy Brown Jr. He would fit right into a young core looking to take the burden off of a roster filled with veterans, and his skill set has the potential to translate perfectly into the NBA.


Despite all the buzz around LA’s first-round draft pick, it’s worth remembering their scouting department has found gems lower in the draft order, and they are looking to strike gold once again.

DaRon Holmes II

A 6-foot-10 sophomore from the University of Dayton, DaRon Holmes II is an athletic big who frequently finishes with authority. Holmes broke out in year two, averaging 18.4 points, 8.1 rebounds, and nearly two blocks per game while shooting 59% from the field and 67% from the free-throw line. Despite his hops, however, Holmes will have to improve on his jump shots and perimeter defense—two things that can certainly come with time.

Holmes would serve as an effective third-string option behind Anthony Davis and Mo Bamba, assuming the latter returns. He could follow a similar path to former Lakers center Ivica Zubac, who LA drafted 32nd overall in 2016 before becoming a rotation mainstay in his third year.

Trayce Jackson-Davis

Finally, Trayce Jackson-Davis is another forward the Lakers have recently met with, and one who would add to their frontcourt depth immensely. The 6-foot-9 senior from Indiana averaged nearly 21 points and 11 rebounds per game for the Hoosiers while shooting 58% from the field and 70% from the line. Jackson-Davis has a nose for the rim and, similar to Holmes, boasts jump-out-of-the-gym athleticism. He also embraces physicality with his 245-pound frame and has made strides as a playmaker, increasing his assist average from 1.2 as a freshman to four as a senior. His court vision has allowed him to make picture-perfect finds to shooters on the perimeter or teammates rolling to the rim.

What makes TJD unique from Holmes is his versatility in playing the power forward and center spots, a trait that the Lakers would use to their advantage in small-ball lineups. His usage would likely be similar to that of Wenyen Gabriel, who logged 78% of his 1,024 minutes at center in the regular season. Head Coach Darvin Ham enjoys experimenting with lineups, whether fans like it or not, so TJD would fall into some creative groups if drafted by LA.

The Last Word on Los Angeles Laker Prospects

Despite their conference final exit, the Los Angeles Lakers have worked fast and already met with several talented prospects throughout the draft combine. Their scouting department and player development staff have found impactful players in the past, and they’re aiming high once again, ensuring the Lakers get players who can help them both now and in the future.


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