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‘A+’: Experts Rave Over Dalton Knecht’s Landing Spot with Lebron’s Lakers

Dalton Knecht
Tennessee G Dalton Knecht selected by the Los Angeles Lakers. Photo via Andrew Ferguson/Tennessee Athletics.

If the NBA Draft was anything like the premiere showing of a blockbuster Hollywood movie before its public debut, the Los Angeles Lakers would be getting five-star reviews left and right for their production on Wednesday night in Brooklyn.

Despite mock draft projections having Dalton Knecht as a Top 12 pick in the first round, the Tennessee wing slid out of the lottery pick slate during the draft. But one man’s slide usually ends up in another team’s steal. And that’s exactly what happened with pick No. 17.

Knecht slid into becoming the steal of the draft as the Los Angeles Lakers took the polished 23-year-old with the 17th overall pick.

With Lebron James in the latter parts of his career to send the Lakers into a win-now mode, Los Angeles didn’t need an 18-year-old rookie that could be developed over time. The Lakers needed a mature rookie who played more like a veteran to help their playoff push. Enter Dalton Knecht.

The grades that the media gave the Lakers for selecting Knecht would make a 4.0 GPA student jealous.

Sports Illustrated, Bleacher Report, Yahoo! Sports, CBS Sports, and Fox Sports all gave the Lakers an A+ grade for Knecht – All of them.

“JJ Redick was a sharpshooter himself, and in a weaker draft class, to find a player as valuable as Knecht on the board at No. 17 is a massive win for Rob Pelinka & Co,” Fox Sports’ John Fanta wrote.

More from RTI: Everything Dalton Knecht Said After Being Selected by the Los Angeles Lakers

“This is an absolute no-brainer, someone whom I would have taken in the top seven,” CBS Sports’ Adam Finkelstein wrote of Knecht. “Big time scorer, big time shot-maker. He’s not just a shooter, but he can run off screens and be a primary domino and unlock playbooks. For JJ Redick, a shooter himself, I like the coach-player fit because Redick will know how to use him.”

ESPN analyst Tim Legler raved about the Lakers’ selection during the Thursday morning episode of Get Up.

“Love it,” Legler said. “It’s funny. When they showed the draft room prior to announcing this pick, and I saw how excited they were – particularly JJ Redick – I knew exactly who they were about to pick. Because here’s the thing. They need shooting. They need someone who can step in now. They don’t have time to develop a 19 year old when you’ve got Lebrnon for a couple more years and you’re still trying to win a championship with Lebron and AD… and nobody is more NBA-ready in this draft than Dalton Knecht.

“Playing now for JJ Redick, who is going to maximize more what Dalton Knecht can do off the ball and understanding and reading how to set your man up, come off screens, how to play without the basketball than JJ Redick? He did it his whole career.”

Like the Dallas Cowboys or the New York Yankees, the Los Angeles Lakers with Lebron James is a darling of national media companies such as ESPN. And while that might get on the nerves of fans at various times, it does mean that Dalton Knecht will be one of the most talked-about players coming out of the draft despite being the big slider during the first round.

It’s not about when you get picked, it’s about where you get picked. And Dalton Knecht may have just landed in the perfect spot.

Knecht’s games will also be televised often for Vol fans watching back in and around East Tennessee.

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