The Los Angeles Lakers are happy to have landed former Indiana guard Jalen Hood-Schifino with the No. 17 pick in the 2023 NBA Draft. However, the job isn't done yet for L.A., and there's a move that opened up for them that they have to take advantage of, a trade for Boston Celtics guard Malcolm Brogdon, who the league has deemed almost untouchable due to his medical records.
1 Lakers trade to make after drafting Jalen Hood-Schifino
The simple fact of the matter is that the Lakers don't need Malcolm Brogdon to play for them for the next five years. They need to be concerned about the fact that they may be on their last year with LeBron James. And what is the point anyways, if not to build around James and Anthony Davis in an effort to win a championship?
So a team that needs, among other things, perimeter defense and perimeter shooting shouldn't be turning their noses up at Brogdon. They should be taking advantage of a situation in which they might acquire the reigning Sixth Man of the Year because his value has diminished amid medical concerns.
Brogdon had a career-high scoring average of 21.2 points per game in the regular season and 21.5 points per game in the postseason. Even if Brogdon were to only average 14.9 points per game for the Lakers, as he did with the Boston Celtics when he was moved to a bench role for the first time since the 2017-18 season, his steady play on both ends of the floor raises L.A.'s.
With Lakers rookie Jalen Hood-Schifino providing a spark off the bench for the Lakers, their point guard depth might need work, but their rotation will be just fine. Hood-Schifino, like Brogdon, is capable of creating shots for himself and others at above-average rate.
Nonetheless, though it's likely what Lakers fans will want, neither Brogdon nor JHS are likely to average more than 20 points per game next season. Still, it's progress for a franchise that may have to take a few small steps to get to their goal rather than a couple of large ones.
To that point, adding Brogdon doesn't discount the possibility of L.A. bringing back D'Angelo Russell in free agency. Nor should it.
D'Angelo Russell returning to Lakers
Though the former second overall pick has yet to truly excel in a playoff setting, Russell is another skilled guard that could make a sizable impact in the Lakers' backcourt. A position battle for their starting point guard slot is likely in this instance, and honestly anyone's guess as to who would win it.
A betting man would say Russell. However, given his defensive capabilities, 30-pound advantage, and playoff history, Brogdon could take that role.
Russell would then come off the bench in a sixth man role, with Hood-Schifino ideally backing up Austin Reaves.
Coming off the bench for virtually the first time in his career may not sit well with him though, in which case, the Lakers could choose not to re-sign D'Lo, right? However, they won't have significant trade ammo after acquiring Brogdon, which should require Malik Beasley and Mo Bamba's expiring contracts. Consequently, and because of the financial implications of a sign-and-trade, pivoting to potential trades for players like Utah Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson would be next to impossible.
The same holds true for a target like Atlanta Hawks point guard Trae Young. The Lakers have a startling lack of future first-round picks, which is likely part of why they could not bring in a player like Kyrie Irving or Chris Paul already anyways.
Subsequently, Brogdon and Russell would have to demonstrate a championship mentality by accepting their roles and why they have those roles: Brogdon starting at point guard for his consistent two-way impact and Russell backing him up because of his experience and scoring upside.
It may not happen, but the rotation will be pretty strong regardless, especially with defensive studs like guard D'Moi Hodge and center Colin Castleton now on two-way contracts.