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Analysis of the Los Angeles Lakers draft class

The Los Angeles Lakers will soon re-sign LeBron James to continue their hopes of another championship while Anthony Davis is still at his best. The Lakers finished the season in seventh place and lost to the Denver Nuggets in the first round of the NBA playoffs. This year they ended up with two draft picks.

Let’s dive deeper into each of their picks and the summary of their draft.

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Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Before the draft, many assumed that Dalton Knecht would be the likely choice for the Charlotte Hornets at the sixth overall pick in this year's draft, but that couldn't have been more wrong, as Knecht ultimately fell out of the lottery. It can be argued that the Lakers got a real bargain by selecting the 6'6 winger.

The former Tennessee Volunteer was in the top 10 in all of college basketball, averaging 21.7 points per game. Knecht is a top-notch shooter who can score at three levels. He can pull up from anywhere on the court with ease and is a certified basket hunter. Playing alongside a gifted playmaker like LeBron James will allow Knecht to showcase his excellent spot-up shots.

He has tremendous shot versatility and is comfortably one of the best shooters in the 2024 NBA Draft. More than just a shooter, Knecht is an effective finisher at the basket with a strong frame and solid athleticism. The biggest question for him is his defense, as he struggles to stop defenders off the dribble and will likely never be a defensive stopper in the NBA. The scoring wing is one of the most NBA-ready players in this year's draft class, and he should be ready to perform immediately for one of the most decorated franchises in NBA history.

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Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Lakers eventually chose Bronny James with their second-round pick. Bronny is obviously LeBron's son and this will be the first time in NBA history that father and son will play together on the same team. Before the college season even began, Bronny suffered a cardiac arrest during a USC practice in the summer of 2023, causing him to miss the first eight games of the season.

The combination of a tragic accident, missing a lot of important practices and playing on a USC team that doesn't have the best roster composition has caused him a lot of trouble during his only college season. What James does best right now is defend at a high level as he has great defensive skills for a guard. He is very strong, lateral quick and plays with great anticipation.

James has the potential to be an elite defensive guard in the NBA. Although he shot less than 30% from behind the three-point line in college, he is a much better shooter than his three-point percentage would suggest. He has a solid shooting technique and will be a reliable shooter off the catch in the NBA once he gets used to the NBA line. The biggest concern with Bronny is that he is not a particularly good scoring guard and does not offer much star potential. Despite this, he has the potential and tools to be a very good role player in the NBA.

Armel Traore is a 6'1″ forward from France who will likely spend most of the season in the G League, but the forward has NBA potential. He has very long arms with a 7'2″ wingspan and is extremely strong. He has great physical and athletic tools to be a high-level defender in the NBA. The next step for Traore is to improve his consistency as a long-range shooter.

Blake Hinson was one of the best pure shooters in all of college basketball last season. The 6'6″ forward made 42% of his shots from behind the three-point line and has tremendous shot versatility. If he finds a role on an NBA team in a few years, it will be based on his three-point shooting, as he doesn't add much value otherwise. He lacks ideal athleticism and is somewhat limited as a shooter inside the three-point line.

Overall, the Lakers had a pretty good draft. In Knecht, they got one of the best pure scorers and basket-hunters in the entire draft. The big question now is whether he will get a lot of minutes in his rookie season. He is not an effective defender and the Lakers already have plenty of offensive weapons, so maybe he can carve out a role as a microwave scorer off the bench, which is a very valuable role for teams looking to compete for a championship. Knecht can be expected to be an ideal complement to one of the best playmakers in NBA history, LeBron James.

The Lakers have already announced that they have a development plan for Bronny James to make him an elite two-way guard, so it's safe to assume he'll play some minutes in the G League early in the season. But if they develop him properly, there's a real chance he can become a very impactful player in the NBA. Overall, this was a very good draft by the Lakers and fans in Los Angeles should be very excited for next season.

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