Dalton Knecht Potential Shines Amid Shooting Struggles

Dalton Knecht Potential Shines Amid Shooting Struggles
Image Credit: Dalton Knecht

Despite facing shooting difficulties, Los Angeles Lakers rookie Dalton Knecht is showing promise and may be poised for a breakout performance. During the California Classic, the Lakers fell to the Golden State Warriors 92-68 on Sunday, with Knecht managing 12 points on 3-of-13 shooting over 22 minutes. This followed a 3-of-12 performance in the previous game.

Although his shots haven’t been landing, Knecht has demonstrated an ability to create open looks through dribble hand-offs and curls. Across his first two summer league games, Knecht’s jump shots have been off, with a mere 2-of-15 success rate (13.3%).

“Just being patient with it,” said Lakers summer league coach Dane Johnson. “It’s a long summer league. It’s going to come. He’s a great player, so I’m not worried about him missing some of the shots he’s taking. He’s a great shooter. Let the game come to him. There are some [flashes] where you see that he’s got it.”

Knecht’s shooting woes may simply be a matter of readjustment. In his last collegiate season at Tennessee, Knecht’s exceptional shotmaking earned him All-American honors, averaging 21.7 points per game. Notably, he excelled in catch-and-shoot situations, hitting 42.3% from beyond the arc per Synergy Sports. He did hit his sole three-pointer in this manner during the recent games.

“I haven’t played since March,” Knecht remarked. “Just finding my rhythm again and keep playing with these new guys and keep adjusting. … Shooters shoot. My dad always told me the next shot is going in. Shooters shoot.”

Drafted 17th overall in the 2024 NBA Draft, Dalton Knecht was anticipated to be a top-10 pick before sliding out of the lottery. With the Lakers yet to make significant roster changes via free agency or trade, Knecht has a clear path to becoming a key player under first-year head coach JJ Redick.

A positive aspect of Knecht’s play has been his ability to attack the rim, earning him 14 free throw attempts across two games. He is 4-of-8 on shots at the rim, highlighted by a two-handed dunk through traffic against the Warriors.

The Lakers will face the Miami Heat on Wednesday in their final California Classic game before heading to Las Vegas for the next phase of the summer league.


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