Los Angeles Lakers rookie Jalen Hood-Schifino, a talented 6’6″ shooting guard hailing from Indiana University LA, was chosen as the No. 17 pick in the June draft. This year, he faces a challenging task of earning his spot in a team with strong playoff aspirations. NBA expert Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report sheds light on Hood-Schifino’s journey, emphasizing the crucial role his passing skills will play in securing a significant position with the Lakers in the 2023-24 season.
Wasserman projects that despite being a better player than the presumed starter, D’Angelo Russell, Hood-Schifino is likely to serve as a reserve due to his unique playing style. While he possesses decent distribution abilities, Hood-Schifino is not your typical point guard; instead, he excels as a secondary distributor.
In a league where versatility is highly valued, Hood-Schifino’s ability to adapt and enhance his passing game will be pivotal to his success. Wasserman’s assessment highlights the need for the young shooting guard to develop this facet of his game if he intends to become an integral part of the Lakers’ roster.
Jalen Hood-Schifino’s journey to the NBA has been marked by promise and potential. Standing at 6’6″, he possesses the physical attributes that make him a valuable asset on the court. However, as Wasserman points out, becoming a true force in the league requires more than just physical prowess.
In the competitive world of professional basketball, a player’s adaptability and willingness to evolve their skill set can make all the difference. Hood-Schifino, despite being a shooting guard by position, must embrace the role of a passer and develop his playmaking abilities. This transformation will not only improve his individual performance but also elevate the Lakers’ overall gameplay.
“The Lakers’ rotation should have enough scoring options for their first and second unit. The bench could use a facilitator, however, with Gabe Vincent, Taurean Prince and Cam Reddish valued for their shot-making,” Hood-Schifino writes.
While D’Angelo Russell is expected to take the starting point guard role, Hood-Schifino’s versatility could provide the Lakers with a significant advantage off the bench. By becoming a more well-rounded player, he can create scoring opportunities for his teammates, further bolstering the Lakers’ offensive capabilities.
“Hood-Schifino isn’t the most natural off-ball player, so if he’s going to earn minutes, it will be for his ability to pass as a 6’6″ lead ball-handler. Dating back to his time at Montverde [Academy in Florida, the third and final high school program he attended], he’s shown he can settle into a quarterback role and facilitate offense,” Wasserman writes.
To secure his spot in the Lakers’ rotation, Hood-Schifino should take Wasserman’s advice to heart. Investing in his passing skills and embracing the role of a secondary distributor will not only increase his chances of success but also help the Lakers in their pursuit of playoff glory in the 2023-24 season.