17. Los Angeles Lakers select Jett Howard
Will the Lakers make this pick? The Stepien Rule prevents them from trading it until draft night, but the franchise is all-in on winning next season. LeBron James turns 39 in December, and the King wants nothing more than to win his fifth ring before he hangs up the sneakers.
If the Lakers remain on the board, they will be searching for someone that can help them right now. Howard is the son of a 19-year NBA veteran that helped LeBron and the Heat win back-to-back titles in 2012 and 2013. Jett grew up around the NBA, and he played for his father at the University of Michigan.
The 19-year-old is a 6’8 wing that shot 36.8 percent from 3-point range during his lone college season. He played in a pro-style offense and is comfortable shooting off movement. Howard has a high basketball IQ and should be ready to make an immediate impact on the offensive end of the floor. The Lakers want shooters around LeBron and Anthony Davis, and Howard should be ready to hit shots at an above-average clip quickly.
Expect Jett Howard to go in the mid-to-late first round as there are questions about his defense and upside. He has the potential to have a long career, but he is unlikely to become an All-Star or All-NBA player. The Los Angeles Lakers would love to add a capable role player that improves their depth if they keep this pick.