The Lakers select Tennessee guard Dalton Knecht with 17th pick


The Lakers selected wing Dalton Knecht, one of the top scorers in the country who starred last season for Tennessee and fell out of the lottery, with the No. 17 pick in the NBA draft.

Knecht averaged 21.7 points per game last season at Tennesse while hitting 39.7% from three.

Regarded as one of the top shooters in the draft, Knecht’s defensive concerns could have contributed to his slide out of the lottery picks.

The Lakers, who left some teams around the league with the impression they could be aggressive on draft night, let the board come to them at No. 17 for the second straight year. It also represents another opportunity missed where the team could bundle three first-round draft picks in a major trade — an option Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka touted following a quiet deadline a year ago.

“At the time of the draft, we’ll have three first-round draft picks to look for deals, which I think will really unlock an access to potentially a greater or bigger swing,” Pelinka said following last year’s trade deadline. “And we didn’t want to shoot a bullet now that would only lead to very marginal improvement at the expense of making a much bigger and more impactful movement potentially in June and July.”

When the Lakers introduced new coach JJ Redick on Monday, the messaging centered heavily on player development, a sign that the Lakers were going to look at younger players instead of pushing their first-round pick into trade talks with their 2029 and 2031 first-round picks, which the Lakers can deal starting Thursday.

Atlanta, winners of the lottery and owners of the No. 1 pick, answered the first question Wednesday by taking French wingman Zaccharie Risacher with the first pick — the second straight season a French player topped the draft after San Antonio took Victor Wembanyama a year ago. Washington, as expected, took center Alexandre Sarr, another French player, second.

Tidjane Salaun, picked buy the Hornets at No. 6, was the third French prospect taken in the first half of the lottery.

The Lakers pick again Thursday near the end of the second round at No. 55. USC’s Bronny James, son of Lakers’ star LeBron James, has been linked with the Lakers among other second-round teams with interest in the former Trojans guard.



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