With the 17th pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, the Los Angeles Lakers selected Jalen Hood-Schifino, a 20-year-old guard who was the Big 10 Freshman of the Year in his one season at Indiana University.
“To be able to get a lottery-level talent in Jalen Hood-Schifino with the 17th pick is something we’re incredibly excited about,” said Lakers VP of Basketball Operations Rob Pelinka. “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.”
Pelinka added that all the intel they gathered on JHS signaled that he really “carries himself as a pro,” in taking his training, his diet and his physique extremely seriously, to compliment his high basketball IQ and athletic talent.
“Jalen was a target, and well ahead of 17,” he continued. “This was an easy one for us. To be able to get him outside the lottery was great value.”
JHS impressed L.A.’s scouts in person and on tape as a Hoosier, and most recently at his in-person pre-draft workout at their practice facility in June.
“Throughout the whole process, I knew the Lakers had the 17th pick, and the Lakers were the first team I worked out for,” said Hood-Schifino on a conference call after being selected. “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.”
Hood-Schifino averaged 13.5 points, 4.1 rebounds, 3.7 assists, and 0.8 steals in 33.1 minutes per game as a Hoosier, converting 41.7% on FG’s, 33.3% from three and 77.6% at the foul line. An All-Big 10 Third Team selection, JHS ranked 9th in the conference in total assists, and had five games of at least 20 points.
“I’m an all-around player,” said JHS when asked 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.”
Originally from Pittsburgh, JHS attended Montverde Academy in Florida, where he won back-to-back high school national titles, and was named a Naismith and Jordan Brand All-American.
The Lakers have a very strong recent track record in the draft, led by Pelinka and Director of Scouting/Asst. GM Jesse Buss. Typically, they trust their big board, and try to focus on the overall talent of the player, and their projection of what’s hopefully a long NBA career.
“I don’t think it’s any different whether the pick was 17, or 60,” Buss 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.”
And tonight, the name on the big board was JHS.