The Los Angeles Lakers won big on Tuesday night when the team landed the No. 2 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft Lottery.
While the Boston Celtics landed the No. 1 overall pick, the Lakers had the most to lose on the night, as the team needed to finish in the top three to keep its first round pick or the pick would have gone to the Philadelphia 76ers as part of the Steve Nash trade. The Lakers were more likely to lose the pick than keep it, but as luck would have it, LA moved up from the No. 3 spot to the No. 2 position.
Now, LA will draft second overall for the third year in a row, and the current projections show the team getting Lonzo Ball out of UCLA.
In addition, keeping their first round pick meant that the Lakers no longer owed the Orlando Magic the 2019 first round pick in relation to the Dwight Howard trade from the summer of 2012. Instead, the Lakers will now give the Magic two second round picks.
Ultimately, Tuesday night was a big win for the Lakers' rebuild. The team will still give its 2018 first round pick to the Philadelphia 76ers, which means that tanking will no longer be beneficial for the 2017-18 season.
While Ball is the most likely selection with the no. 2 pick, the Lakers may end up with point guard Markelle Fultz out of Washington. Ball and Fultz appear to be the two standout players in the 2017 NBA Draft, and the Lakers will likely take whichever of the two players the Celtics do not pick. It is a similar scenario to the 2016 NBA Draft when the Lakers took Brandon Ingram after the Philadelphia 76ers decided on Ben Simmons with the no. 1 pick.
Entering the night with the most to lose and after losing so much in recent seasons, the Lakers finally got a big win in the 2017 NBA Draft Lottery. And finally, the Lakers appear to be out of tank mode.