With training camp for the 2023-24 season just days away, the Los Angeles Lakers are preparing to hit the court for what could be an exciting and very successful season for them. They appear to have a stacked roster, and therefore an 18th NBA championship is a realistic goal for them once it’s all said and done next summer.
To accomplish that goal, a number of players will need to play up to their potential. Therefore, we have identified three goals for each Lakers player that, if attained, will help the team win it all.
Guard Jalen Hood-Schifino, the No. 17 pick in June’s draft out of Indiana University, seems to have the potential to become a stud. Zeroing in on these three goals this season would give him a nice start toward realizing his potential.
Become a consistent 3-point shooter
While at Indiana, the 6-foot-6 guard made 33.3% of his 3-point attempts, which isn’t terrible, but it certainly wasn’t good, especially considering the 3-point line in the NCAA is closer to the basket than it is in the NBA.
During Summer League play, Hood-Schifino trickled upward a bit to 35% percent from downtown. However, his shooting was inconsistent, and he had quite a few games in which he couldn’t throw a marble into the Pacific Ocean.
Outside shooting could still be a relative weakness for the Lakers moving forward. In addition, if Hood-Schifino cannot hit from downtown, it would make it much easier for opponents to defend him, as he does most of his damage from the mid-range area.
Become an above-average defender
At 6-foot-6 and 215 pounds and with a reported 6-foot-10 wingspan, Hood-Schifino seems to have the physical tools to be a strong, if not a great, defensive player. At times during Summer League play, he flashed that potential.
However, he cannot rely on spectacular plays such as blocked shots. He needs to become an above-average positional defender and consistently take away what the man he’s guarding prefers to do.
Lakers head coach Darvin Ham preaches defense, and if Hood-Schifino gets ti done in that department from the get-go, it would help him earn playing time.
Find a way to earn meaningful playing time
There is learning knowledge, and then there is activity knowledge. In other words, athletes can only learn so much during practice and video sessions. In order for them to truly learn the pro game, they must get onto the floor for actual games.
Los Angeles seems to have a set four-guard rotation with presumptive starters D’Angelo Russell and Austin Reaves, with Gabe Vincent and second-year man Max Christie backing them up. Last season, Christie got in for short spurts of spot duty, and he played well enough that the team feels he will crack the main rotation this year.
It will be hard for Hood-Schifino to get even the slivers of playing time Christie got during the 2022-23 campaign. But if he really shines in at least one specific area, such as 3-point shooting or defense, perhaps Ham may take a little time away from Christie and give it to him.