5 Lakers on Thin Ice Heading Into the NBA Draft

The Los Angeles Lakers have a busy offseason on the horizon after last season's shortcomings. As a result, here are five players who are on thin ice ahead of the 2024 NBA Draft.
Rui Hachimura is one of five Lakers who are on thin ice before the NBA Draft.
Rui Hachimura is one of five Lakers who are on thin ice before the NBA Draft. / Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports
1 of 5

It's been a busy offseason for Los Angeles Lakers fans and we haven't even reached July. Between J.J. Redick being brought on as the new head coach and LeBron James potentially testing his value as a free agent, there hasn't been any shortage of headlines flooding the Lakers fanbase.

Well, Lake Show supporters can expect another busy week as the 2024 NBA Draft begins at the Barclays Center on Wednesday. The Lakers hold two draft picks at this year's event (No. 17, No. 56), leaving time to tell who they'll target for reinforcements after suffering a first-round elimination to the Denver Nuggets at the end of April.

The Lakers' new potential players can't see playing time unless the team says goodbye to members of last year's roster, though. Here's a look at five Los Angeles players who are on thin ice ahead of this week's NBA Draft.

1. Rui Hachimura, SF/PF

Rui Hachimura is a solid forward who performed well in his first season with the Lakers. After signing a three-year deal last offseason, the former 2019 first-rounder averaged 13.6 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 1.2 assists while shooting 53.7% from the floor and 42.2% from deep across 68 games (39 starts).

Unfortunately, Hachimura's play dropped off once the postseason arrived. Despite his playing time increasing by nearly four minutes in the playoffs, the former Gonzaga Bulldog couldn't produce at his regular-season level, tallying 7.8 PTS/3.8 REB/0.8 AST with .395/.357/.500 shooting splits.

What's even more frustrating is that two of the Lakers' four losses to the Nuggets came by exactly two points, indicating that the series could have gone differently had he stepped up.

Hachimura, 26, is young enough to bounce back from his playoff performance, but he also might not. The latter scenario would certainly be an issue for the Lakers as Hachimura is slated to make $17 million next season, which is a lot for a player who couldn't even average eight points and four rebounds in the postseason. Some might even argue that's even too big of a price tag for his regular-season numbers.

If the Lakers want to bring in another all-star-caliber player this offseason, Hachimura and his contract are one of their more tradeable assets. He's a good player who can do a bit of everything, but Los Angeles needs someone great if winning a championship next season is the ultimate goal.