Lakers bring youth by selecting Jalen Hood-Schifino, Maxwell Lewis in NBA draft

Jalen Hood-Schifino reacts as he walks off the stage.
Jalen Hood-Schifino reacts as he walks off the stage after being selected 17th overall by the Lakers during the NBA draft on Thursday in New York.
(John Minchillo / Associated Press)
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The second Jalen Hood-Schifino made up his mind he’d be entering the NBA draft after his freshman season at Indiana, he knew he was going to wear a green suit.

“Favorite color,” he said with a slight shrug as he moved behind the scenes at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

It clashed just a little with his golden Lakers hat, the first memento from his new employer. The franchise selected the 6-foot-6 point guard with the 17th overall pick in Thursday’s draft, their highest pick since the Lakers took Lonzo Ball No. 2 overall in 2017.


Regardless of the Celtics green, his joy to be the newest member of the Lakers couldn’t be questioned. On his arm, he has a tattoo of Kobe Bryant.

“It’s honestly really crazy and kind of hard to say how I feel because growing up I was a big Kobe fan. I was always watching his videos, watching the Lakers,” he said. “For me to get drafted by the Lakers is kind of surreal and kind of crazy.”

What followed was a whirlwind.

After being selected, Hood-Schifino, 20, bounced from interview to interview, walking with the slightest hobble. Though the suit was everything he had hoped for, his shoes were killing him.

At one station, he finally took them off, a NBA employee fetching him a couple of bandages for the cuts starting to form on the backs on his heels.

The 2023 NBA draft is underway at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The San Antonio Spurs selected Victor Wembanyama with No. 1 overall pick.

June 22, 2023

“I even went a size up and they still hurt,” he said.

As the moments wore on, his nerves calmed. He talked about his hidden talents, how he could cook and even sing a little.

“I never get like this,” he said with a laugh, the anxiety from the draft process starting to fade.


His coach at Indiana, longtime NBA coach Mike Woodson, beamed with pride after the pick was announced, praising his former point guard for being so level-headed and consistent.

But Thursday, Hood-Schifino was all over the place, “a roller coaster” of emotions he said.

Back in Los Angeles, the Lakers front office worked a bunch of different angles, including potential options to trade down in the first round. The team, though, decided on Hood-Schifino, with sources quickly signaling that its intention was to keep the selection.

Hood-Schifino had a brief workout and met with the Lakers in the build-up to the draft.

The team later selected wing Maxwell Lewis from Pepperdine with the No. 40 pick in the second round, paying more than $4 million to move up from No. 47 to swap picks with the Indiana Pacers.

“L.A. L.A.,” Michigan’s Kobe Bufkin sang toward Hood-Schifino as the two Big Ten guards shared a moment in the Nets training room, which had been transformed into a social media studio.

Maxwell Lewis participates during the 2023 NBA Draft Combine.
The Lakers selected wing Maxwell Lewis from Pepperdine with the No. 40 pick in the second round of Thursday’s NBA draft.
(Nam Y. Huh / Associated Press)

In his lone season at Indiana, Hood-Schifino averaged 13.5 points, 4.1 rebounds and 3.7 assists. He was the Big Ten’s top rookie.

Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka called Hood-Schifino a “lottery level talent.”

“He’s special. Very special,” Woodson said. “They got a well-rounded young man that works his ass off on the floor. He’s a good young man off the floor. That’s it more than anything. The kid was just a pro. In college. I’m like, ‘How in the hell can this guy be this mature?’

“His work ethic is going to get him through the tough times.”

Lewis, who played at Pepperdine, averaged 17.1 points and 5.7 rebounds, hitting 34.8% from on three-pointers. He was one of the stars of the Lakers’ group workouts ahead of the draft.

The Lakers also signed Florida center Colin Castelton and Missouri guard D’Moi Hodge to two-way contracts, sources with knowledge of the deals but not authorized to speak publicly said.

The applause started as soon as NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announced the San Antonio Spurs were on the clock. Fans to the left of Victor Wembanyama began to chant his name as the clock ticked. The time was merely a formality.

For more than a year, everyone knew the 7-4 Wembanyama would be picked first. The first reminder of the magnitude of the moment came when he took the stage and towered over the 6-3 Silver.


“I can’t really describe it. It’s still fresh,” Wembanyama said. “One of the best feelings of my life. Probably the best night of my life. I’ve been dreaming about this for so long. It’s a dream come true. It’s incredible.”

After winning 15 individual ESPYs, LeBron James is a first-time nominee for best record-breaking performance after passing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the NBA’s all-time leading scorer.

June 21, 2023

The drama at No. 2 ended with the Charlotte Hornets landing on Alabama’s Brandon Miller over G League Ignite guard Scoot Henderson, who went No. 3 to Portland. Overtime Elite’s Amen and Ausar Thompson were the fourth and fifth selections, meaning four of the first five picks didn’t play college basketball last season. That last happened in 2001.

No major trades came together on Thursday despite chatter around some established stars. Free agency begins June 30.

Though the Lakers will have roster questions to answer, on Thursday they added two pieces for the future.

“I’m a player who I’m going to bring it every day, work hard and I think I check a lot of boxes,” Hood-Schifino said. “Obviously, I’m a big guard, size, can score from all three levels, unselfish, get my teammates involved. ... Overall, I think I’m a really good player and an even better person.”