One way or another, the Los Angeles Lakers will give up a first round draft pick.
Ideally for the franchise, the Lakers will land in the top three in Tuesday's NBA Draft Lottery and hold onto their 2017 first round selection, which means their 2018 first round pick would instead go to Philadelphia in relation to the Steve Nash trade of 2012. In addition, the first round pick promised to Orlando in 2019 would convert into two second round picks.
Considering the team is still near the bottom of the league and projects to improve combined with the prospect of holding onto an extra first round pick, finishing in the top three on Tuesday would be the preferred scenario for the purple and gold.
The odds of the Lakers keeping that pick are 46.9 percent. LA has a 15.6 percent chance of finishing with the no. 1 overall pick, a 15.7 percent chance of finishing with the no. 2 overall pick and a 15.6 percent chance of finishing with the no. 3 overall pick.
Given their draft position, the Lakers have a slightly better chance of finishing outside the top three. LA holds a 22.6 percent chance of finishing with the no. 4 spot and and 26.5 percent chance of finishing with the no. 5 pick. The least likely outcome on Tuesday is that the Lakers land in the no. 6 spot, 4.0 percent.
The Lakers are currently on a streak of no. 2 picks, as the team drafted D'Angelo Russell with the no. 2 pick in the 2015 NBA Draft and selected Brandon Ingram with the no. 2 pick in the 2016 NBA Draft. Another no. 2 selection would be a welcome addition to a franchise that appears to be rebounding from three straight historically awful seasons from 2013 to 2016.
. @Lakers PR just sent history of 3rd best odds in NBA Draft lottery:
Held position: 5 times
Moved up: 7 times
Dropped down: 15 times pic.twitter.com/JfBsLaeQ4C— Shahan Ahmed (@shahanLA) May 11, 2017
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If the Lakers do land a top-three pick, three point guards have emerged as the top three talents in the draft. At the top of most draft boards is Markelle Fultz, a 6-foot 4-inch point guard out of Washington. Lonzo Ball of UCLA is no. 2 in most mock drafts, and the 6-6 guard out of UCLA also seems to be more of a passing guard than a shooting guard.
If the Lakers land in the no. 3 spot, De'Aaron Fox of Kentucky, another point guard, is projected as the third best point guard in the 2017 Draft. However, Josh Jackson of Kansas, a 6-foot 8-inch small forward, could be a better fit for the team and slots into that no. 3 spot on several mock drafts that project the Lakers to land the no. 3 pick. Jayson Tatum of Duke, who matches Jackson's height and weight, would be another option with the no. 3 pick.
Barring a surprise pick, the aforementioned five players expect to be the top five picks in the 2017 NBA Draft, though the order of picks could change.
If the Lakers land at no. 1 or no. 2, though, the choice appears to be between Ball and Fultz only, and Lavar Ball, Lonzo's outspoken father, does not appear to be enough of a deterrent to stop NBA teams from drafting the UCLA Bruin. At the moment, Fultz seems to be the consensus top prospect.
Lakers president Earvin "Magic" Johnson and Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka will be the two representatives for the team at the NBA Draft Lottery. Johnson will be the television face for the Lakers as the results are announced, while Pelinka will be in the room when the actual drawing takes place.
The NBA Draft Lottery show will begin at 5 p.m. Pacific Time on May 16. It will be broadcast on ESPN.