NBA insider details how Los Angeles Lakers stole Dalton Knecht in draft

The Los Angeles Lakers stole Dalton Knecht in the 2024 NBA Draft. Here's how it happened

Los Angeles Lakers' Dalton Knecht
Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers seemingly got the steal of the NBA Draft Wednesday night. Former Tennessee star guard Dalton Knecht was projected as a top-10 pick.

Once he fell on to the Lakers’ lap at 17, they ran to the podium to select him. It set the social media world on fire.

There was a lot of talk about what the Lakers were going to do with that 17th pick as they look to build out a better supporting group behind LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

Would they trade the selection for a proven veteran? Would they go in the direction of adding a pro-ready prospect? We got that answer in more ways than one as the first round of Wednesday’s draft plays out.

Related: Grading the Los Angeles Lakers selection of Dalton Knecht

Age reportedly played role in Dalton Knecht falling to the Los Angeles Lakers

Dalton Knecht, Los Angeles Lakers
Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN’s Jonathan Givony detailed the process that led to Knecht landing with the Lakers. It has nothing to do with previous medical concerns.

Rather, it was all about the fact that he turned 23 back in April. That’s old by today’s NBA Draft standards.

“A half-dozen NBA executives told ESPN that it was Knecht’s age—he turned 23 on April 19—and not concerns about his medicals or other reasons that primarily caused his slide. His workouts and interviews were excellent, some of those same executives confirmed, with his defense being another reason cited for his fall down the draft board.”

Report on Dalton Knecht and the Lakers

It seemed to be by design that the Lakers went the older route with their first-round pick. Why select a major project when you’re in win-now mode? Meanwhile, what he does on the court seems to fit with what new head coach JJ Redick is attempting to lay out on offense.

  • Dalton Knecht stats (2023-24): 21.7 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 46% shooting, 40% 3-point range

Spacing was an obvious issue last season for the Lakers as they fell in the first round of the NBA Playoffs. Too often, James and Davis kicked the ball out to options that just weren’t consistent from distance. That’s obviously not an issue when it comes to Knecht.

As for the thought process from general manager Rob Pelinka and Co., it seems to fit in with what others around the NBA are thinking. That is to say, Knecht was among the most pro-ready prospects in the entire NBA Draft.

“None of us thought he’d be there. It’s crazy,” a Los Angeles Lakers source told Givony. “The most ready guy in the draft, ready to play right away.”

It’s now time for Los Angeles to get down to brass tax and add more pieces. For now, the Knecht selection is one of the major storylines around the NBA world.

Read more: Los Angeles Lakers targeting two former head coaches to join JJ Redick’s staff

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