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Analysis: What Dalton Knecht Brings to the Lakers

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

Dalton Knecht falling to the 17th pick in the 2024 NBA Draft was not something many NBA front offices saw happening, but fortunately for the Los Angeles Lakers and new Head Coach JJ Redick, it made the choice at No. 17 a no-brainer. Knecht has the ability to make an instant impact, and a proven track record of scoring the ball at a high level at every stop.

At Northeastern Junior College, he was averaging 23.9 points per game, while shooting over 50% from the field. In his second season at the University of Northern Colorado, averaging 20.2 points per game to go along with 7.2 rebounds per game. Most recently, in his one and only season for the Volunteers, he averaged 21.7 points per game, including a 3 game stretch in the SEC where he averaged 34.3 points in an incredibly efficient manner, shooting 68% from the field, and 62.9% from three (games against University of Florida, University of Georgia, and Mississippi State University.)

Photo via the Field of 68/X

For the Lakers, perimeter shooting is a necessity, and Knecht can provide improved floor spacing due to his elite catch-and-shoot ability. Improved spacing should help out the Lakers top tandem of LeBron James and Anthony Davis, giving them better driving lanes, and a reliable drive and kick option where Knecht can attack close-outs and score at all three levels. With a contract between the Lakers and D’Angelo Russell appearing less likely, as Russell is expected to decline his player option, Knecht has the opportunity to step into a similar role of production.

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

During the NCAA Tournament, LeBron went on record to mention Knecht in Tennessee’s matchup against Purdue, attesting to the viewership that special players bring to the tournament.

Redick and his staff were visibly excited in the draft room when ESPN’s broadcast cut to the scene in the Lakers draft room moments after the pick had been submitted, and if you watched the Tennessee superstar Dalton Knecht, you can see why. Redick was announced as the Head Coach on Monday, June 24th. Just days later, he brings in an older rookie that many see as a similar type of player to himself. Redick was the receiver of many off-ball screens to free him up for catch-and-shoot opportunities, and Redick will look to provide Knecht with similar scenarios.

Knecht will make his first appearance in the purple and gold in the NBA Summer League on July 6th.

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