The Los Angeles Lakers nearly traded the No. 17 pick during the 2023 NBA Draft. They decided otherwise, though, instead opting to use that pick to select Jalen Hood-Schifino out of Indiana. The 20-year-old is no Victor Wembanyama — nobody is — but it is clear that the Lakers have some high hopes for the newest addition to their backcourt.

LA general manager Rob Pelinka has now shared his thoughts on Hood-Schifino, and Lakers fans will love to hear what the high-ranking executive has to say about Jalen. According to Pelinka, he sees Austin Reaves as the mold for Hood-Schifino:

“We saw, again, just as a point of comparison, with a player like Austin Reaves, when we drafted him, he wasn’t a knockdown shooter. But he is now,” Pelinka said, via Jovan Buha The Athletic. “It’s because he put in work — and work with our staff. And I know that’s something Jalen is committed to too.”

Moreover, Pelinka also hinted at playing Reaves and Hood-Schifino at the same time this coming season:

“You think about the opportunity to pair two young guards together like Austin Reaves and Jalen Hood-Schifino,” Pelinka said. “People would say, ‘Is Austin a point guard? A 2-guard?’ Well, he’s an on-the-ball guard. He can make plays with the ball in his hand. And I would say the same thing about Jalen Hood-Schifino.”

What's also worth noting here is that the Lakers are obviously operating under the premise that Ausint Reaves will still be around next year. The 24-year-old is set to enter NBA free agency this summer, and his loyalty to LA will be put to the test once he receives some big-money offers from opposing teams.