The Los Angeles Lakers head into the NBA Draft Lottery on May 16 with nothing but hopes and dreams. The storied franchise has a high draft pick on the line on Tuesday with only a 46.9 percent chance of keeping said pick.
Despite having worse odds than a coin flip in the draft lottery, new general manager Rob Pelinka says he and Magic Johnson remain confident and optimistic, via Tania Ganguli of the L.A. Times:
“Magic and I just have a real level of confidence and optimism,” Pelinka said. “Our trust is in hard work and kind of just the pursuit of excellence with everything we do. It’s not contingent on getting the pick or not getting the pick.”
The Lakers' first-round draft pick is top-three protected meaning if it falls out of the top-three selections it will go to the Philadelphia 76ers as a result of the Steve Nash trade back in 2012. If they keep their pick, the team loses their early second-round pick (No. 33) to the Orlando Magic as part of the Dwight Howard trade of the same year.
Fortunately, the Lakers will have a late first-round pick (No. 28) in the NBA Draft regardless of what happens on Tuesday in the draft lottery. Los Angeles acquired the pick along with veteran Corey Brewer in the trade sending Lou Williams to the Houston Rockets before the NBA trade deadline back in February.
Along with hoping to keep their lottery pick, the Lakers may also consider making a trade to acquire a player like Paul George or Jimmy Butler this summer. Obviously, keeping their pick gives them another valuable trade asset they could use to land one of these perennial All-Stars in a deal.
All hope isn't lost if the Lakers are forced to send the pick to Philadelphia, but it is definitely a step in the right direction for Johnson and Pelinka as they begin their first NBA offseason in the team's front office.