HomeBasketballLakers select Dalton Knecht with the No. 17 pick in the NBA...

Lakers select Dalton Knecht with the No. 17 pick in the NBA Draft

Taking Dalton Knecht of Tennessee with the seventeenth overall choice in Wednesday’s NBA draft, the Los Angeles Lakers became the first team to take a consensus All-American since 2017’s Lonzo Ball, who was picked with the second overall pick.

“In my mind, there is no way a player like this will be available for us to pick on draft night,” said Lakers vice president of basketball operations and general manager Rob Pelinka. “Across the board, just couldn’t be happier.”

After starting his college career at Northeastern Junior College in Colorado and playing two seasons for Northern Colorado in the Big Sky Conference, 23-year-old Knecht had one season with the Volunteers, averaging 21.7 points on 49.9 percent shooting (39.7 percent from three). The 6-foot-5, 212-pound wing led Tennessee to the NCAA tournament’s Elite Eight in March, scoring 37 points in an elimination loss to No. 1 seed Purdue.

The SEC player of the year was projected to go No. 6 to the Charlotte Hornets in ESPN’s mock draft, which was released just before the first round, and Pelinka claimed the Lakers were surprised Knecht was still available since their internal draft board put him in the top 10.

“If we had the 10th pick in the draft, we would have taken him,” Pelinka said to reporters. “So, to get that value at 17 is really extraordinary.”

“My draft night fall mirrored my basketball upbringing,” Knecht stated. As a high school senior, he received no Division I scholarship offers.

Knecht addressed reporters at New York’s Barclays Center following his draught, saying, “Every time I touch a basketball or walk into a gym, I always feel like I got something to prove; and it doesn’t matter where I’m at, it’s always going to be there and have that chip on my shoulder for feeling like I’ve been underrated my whole life.” “So, it’s going to be something that I’ll carry with me for the rest of my career.”

The hiring of Knecht is the first significant move by the Lakers after the hiring of JJ Redick as head coach. Knecht’s mobility shooting talents, according to Pelinka, remind him of Redick as a player.

After the Lakers submitted their draft selection to the NBA, Pelinka claims that Redick wasted no time in preparing plays to be run by Knecht on the whiteboard in the draught room.

“That’s really exciting,” Knecht said to the assembled media upon learning of Redick’s feelings. “At Tennessee, I watched a lot of JJ Redick with Coach Rick Barnes and was impressed by the way he moves and paces himself, as well as his ability to create space. So hearing that is incredibly thrilling, and it’s going to be really unique.”

LeBron James, the Los Angeles Lakers’ star, mentioned Knecht when addressing the rising popularity of women’s collegiate basketball in early April, a few days after Tennessee’s tournament run concluded.

“We watched that Purdue-Tennessee game because of Zach Edey and Knecht,” James said at the time. “Players, depending on who they are, will drive the attention when it comes to viewership.”

Knecht claimed he nearly didn’t believe what James stated was true when he first watched the video.

“I remember that clip,” Knecht told reporters. “I woke up and rolled out of bed, thinking it was a hoax because so many people were texting me.” I immediately said, ‘There’s no way. And when I viewed the video, it simply made me grin. My parents also contacted me and informed me of the situation immediately.

“So that’s going to be something unique. And it’ll be wonderful simply to share the court with Anthony Davis and Bron. Bron is one of the greats. So, it’s going to be quite wonderful.”

While Pelinka was happy with his team’s performance, he confessed that L.A. had canvassed the league for deals prior to Wednesday but had been unsuccessful. The Lakers have three first-round draft selections, including this year’s at No. 17, available in any prospective trade.

“We explored every upgrade we could to make our team better,” Pelinka told me. “I believe that if you surveyed all 30 general managers in the league, transactions would be more difficult as a result of the new CBA framework. As a result, I believe there is less opportunity to make such major changes than there was under the previous system. But it didn’t stop us from looking at everything and finding methods to put ourselves in a better position to succeed. But I believe that this decision alone will give us a significant lift, and we are delighted about it.”

The second round of the draft will be placed on Thursday. The Lakers possess selection number 55.

Abu Bakar
Abu Bakar
Abubakar is a writer and digital marketing expert. Who has founded multiple blogs and successful businesses in the fields of digital marketing, software development. A full-service digital media agency that partners with clients to boost their business outcomes.


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