After making the Western Conference Finals, the Los Angeles Lakers might just look to trade their No. 17 pick in the 2023 NBA Draft to add more pieces to give LeBron James and Anthony Davis a chance of winning another championship.
Despite finishing 7th in the Western Conference standings, Los Angeles landed the 17th overall pick in the draft. The Lakers bumped up one spot in the order after the Miami Heat made the postseason as the 8th seed.
With Los Angeles unexpectedly making a deep run into the postseason, it is possible that their 2023 first rounder will go to another team. The Lakers might be better off getting an established player rather than an unpolished rookie to help LeBron James and Anthony Davis bring another chip to Tinsel Town. With that said, here are the two best trades the Lakers could make using the No. 17 pick in the NBA Draft.
2 best Lakers trades using No. 17 pick in 2023 NBA Draft
1. Finally trade for Buddy Hield
Buddy Hield has long been rumored as a target for the Lakers. With the Indiana Pacers still in rebuild mode, they might just want to recoup more draft capital as they look towards the future. Therefore, a Hield trade may be in the cards for the franchise.
The Lakers could package a deal involving Malik Beasley, who is under a Team Option next season, with the 17th pick for Buddy Love.
Hield had a solid season for the Pacers in 2022-23. He started his first 73 appearances before getting relegated to the bench in his final seven. The former Oklahoma standout shot 42.5 percent from three this year, which is the third-highest shooting clip of his career.
With his stellar three-point shooting, Hield is an ideal player to pair with LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Though the Lakers made it past the first two rounds, they still had their struggles from beyond the arc, especially during the Western Conference Finals sweep at the hands of the Denver Nuggets. In those four losses, the Lakers shot just 34.9 percent from three on a low volume of just over 26 attempts per game.
There’s a reason why the Lakers don’t shoot that many threes. They don’t have many good shooters on the team. Hield’s insertion certainly addresses that concern in order to give Los Angeles a more balanced attack for next season.
2. Bring back Alex Caruso
If the Lakers look to deal the No. 17 pick, they should consider bringing back fan-favorite Alex Caruso. Sure, Austin Reaves may have “replaced” Caruso as the new beloved out-of-nowhere pickup for Los Angeles. But for the most part, Reaves and Caruso are two different players and having both of them on the same team would boost the morale of the franchise further.
The Lakers could trade a package of Mo Bamba and the 17th pick to the Bulls for Caruso. Chicago doesn’t seem to be headed anywhere, especially after they missed the postseason. There is a possibility they could just blow it up this summer and Caruso would be a desirable piece for any championship team.
Los Angeles may want to beef up its perimeter defense after Jamal Murray put the Lakers guards in circles throughout the Western Conference Finals. Caruso is one of the best at that. His point of attack defense is going to be key as it will give the Lakers better chances to set their half court defense with Anthony Davis manning the middle.